An Urgent Need for New Privacy Regulations

To promote access to opioid use disorder treatment, the National Association of Attorneys General asks Congress to remove federal privacy barriers.

August 20, 2019

Healthcare providers are often prevented from attempting to treat patients with substance use disorders through medication-assisted treatment because of strict 42 CFR Part 2 privacy regulations. Originally designed to protect patients, these regulations now often hinder them.

That may change.

In a recent letter issued by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), 39 state attorneys general are asking Congress to remove federal privacy barriers currently hindering healthcare providers from offering treatment for opioid use disorder. Substance use disorder should be treated like other chronic diseases, they argue, and “cumbersome,  out-of-date” privacy regulations should be replaced with the more familiar privacy rules found in HIPAA.

“While maintaining confidentiality is imperative to encouraging individuals to seek and obtain treatment, the inability to share records among providers can burden coordination of care, potentially resulting in harm to the patient,”  the NAAG writes.

Read the full article to learn more.