The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a "final rule" updating 42CFR Part 2, which provides protections for protected health information associated with substance abuse disorder (SUD) programs. Notably, these amendments took effect January 13th of this year to correct an inadvertent error to final rule changes in 2017.
"This final rule amends the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) regulation governing the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records, to clarify one of the conditions under which a court may authorize disclosure of confidential communications made by a patient to a part 2 program as defined in this regulation. This change to the regulation is intended to clarify that a court has the authority to permit disclosure of confidential communications when the disclosure is necessary in connection with investigation or prosecution of an extremely serious crime, such as one that directly threatens loss of life or serious bodily injury, where the extremely serious crime was allegedly committed by either a patient or an individual other than the patient."
The changes were brought about in response to illegal drug crimes, which could have been previously protected as SUD information. SAMSA is quoted that 42CFR Part 2 is not an "absolute shield for a patient’s criminal activity”. While Proteus cannot and does not offer legal advice, we do encourage our SUD partners to consult with counsel and ensure that they understand the specific requirements associated with this news.
Click the graphic below to be taken the associated Federal Register note.
Stay (HIPAA) safe,