Back to top

Patient Confidentiality Rule Released

After much debate and thousands of comments considered, HHS today released its final rule as a result of legislation moving much of previously existing patient record confidentiality law from 42 CFR part 2 to the process contained in HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Congress mandated the change in the 2020 CARES Act law.

Some patient advocates opposed the change, believing it could make treatment records more accessible and thereby increase stigma and reduce patient decisions to access treatment. Many other organizations support the change believing that it’s necessary to comply with electronic record laws and is a step toward moving substance use disorder into mainstream health care. They also believe it allows medical professionals to have a more comprehensive view of patient’s overall health.

HHS and SAMHSA spent many years examining the change, listening to viewpoints from every aspect of patient care and developing this final rule. The new rule will take effect soon and can be found here.

NAATP will continue to support policies that increase access to quality treatment. We hope this new rule will allow for better patient care and if there are confidentiality violations, they are quickly dealt with.