HHS Secretary Alex Azar has proposed a rule that he said would improve substance use disorder treatment and reduce primary care providers’ administrative burden.
The proposed changes, if they become law, would impact records that are part of federally assisted substance use disorder treatment programs, commonly known as 42 CFR Part 2.
“Part 2 regulations are so complex, that often primary care providers will simply opt not to serve an individual with a substance use disorder in fear that they may unknowingly violate regulations and potentially be held criminally liable,” Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, assistant HHS secretary for mental health and substance use disorders, said in a conference call in reporters.
HHS administrators said the proposed rule would:
- allow PCPs wanting to prescribe an opioid or a drug that has potentially serious interactions with opioids to know if the patient is already in treatment for opioid use disorder;
- enable PCPs to put patients’ substance use disorder treatment history in the patients’ primary care records to facilitate easier, faster integration of patients’ behavior health history into overall health history;
- let PCPs record the needed information from previous patient substance abuse treatment into his or her own record;
- allow PCPs to check enrollment registries of opioid treatment programs and data from them in a manner that is consistent with state law;
- lets patient information be shared with non-treatment organizations such as the Social Security Administration;
- enable substance use disorder treatment providers to delete text messages from patients they no longer treat instead of sanitizing the phone or making the messages otherwise completely irretrievable; and
- allow natural disasters to be considered medical emergencies so that physicians can exchange information faster with other physicians.
“We believe these changes will make it easier for people struggling with substance use disorder to discuss these issues with their doctors, seek treatment and find the road to recovery while always protecting their privacy,” Azar said.
“It’s important to note that none of the changes we are proposing change the consent requirement for sharing of information. Everything is done with a patient’s consent,” he added. – by Janel Miller
For more information: www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/08/22/hhs-42-cfr-part-2-proposed-rule-fact-sheet.html
Disclosures : Azar and McCance-Katz are employed by HHS.