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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Submits Comments on Confidentiality of SUD Patient Records Proposed Rule

    Gayle Lee, Director, Physician Payment & Quality

    The AAMC submitted comments Oct. 25 on a proposed rule issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that would change regulations to better facilitate the exchange of information for individuals in treatment for substance abuse disorder.

    In its comments, the AAMC commended SAMHSA’s efforts to modernize the substance use disorder (SUD) confidentiality regulations while also retaining important privacy protections. The clarifications regarding the application of the requirements will enable better coordination and improve the quality of care for individuals with SUDs.

    The AAMC also emphasized the importance of the ability for providers to access their patients’ records that contain all information that is relevant to their treatment. In particular, the AAMC applauded the clarification that the records of non-Part 2 entities or providers (for example, primary care physicians) are not covered by 42 CFR Part 2 restrictions simply because they describe information about a patient’s SUD treatment and status. The AAMC also expressed support the provision for reporting information to prescription drug monitoring programs, with patient consent.

    While AAMC supported many of the changes and clarifications proposed in this rule, the AAMC urged SAMHSA to encourage Congress to pass legislation that would align requirements for information sharing for the treatment of substance use disorder with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements.