The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill designed to align 42 CFR Part 2 with HIPAA for the purposes of health care treatment, payment, and operations. One goal of the change is so that care can be better coordinated and providers can have appropriate access to all of a patient’s medical record, including information about substance use disorders.
“Doctors must have the whole picture on a patient’s medical history in order to safely and effectively treat that patient,” said U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), sponsor of the bill, in a prepared statement. “This includes any history of substance use disorder. The Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act will update the decades-old, outdated law, known as 42 CFR Part 2, which keeps mental health records separate from other health records. H.R. 6082 will modernize how doctors access their patients’ health records by streamlining 42 CFR Part 2 with current Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) co-sponsored the legislation.
“It is encouraging that members of Congress recognize the importance of aligning the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD) records with how all other medical and behavioral health records are managed,” said Pamela Greenberg, president and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, in a statement. “Clinicians need access to a patient’s full medical history, including substance use disorder records, to assess risks and adequately care for a patient. Our members contend that Part 2 is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – barrier to fighting the opioid crisis.”
ABHW is a health plan association working to improve access and quality of care for mental health and substance use disorders.