FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America's hospitals and the patients we serve.

Sarah Aillon

FAH Submits Comment to HHS On Confidentiality of SUD Patient Records

Today, FAH submitted comments to the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records Proposed Rule. The comments supported the overall goals of the Proposed Rule to align federal requirements protecting the confidentiality of SUD patient records more closely with standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that apply to protected health information (PHI).

The comment letter notes that this “alignment results in streamlined compliance measures, which allows hospitals and other providers to better treat patients with more comprehensive and complete information, while simultaneously reducing the compliance burden with the relevant regulatory schemes.”  

FAH comments raised concerns about a proposal related to accountings of disclosures for treatment, payment, and health care operations and recommended that these provisions would be better addressed in a future rulemaking under the HITECH Act so that there is a uniform standard for HIPAA PHI and SUD records. FAH comments also focused on a proposal that would substantially limit a covered entity’s ability to update its notice of privacy practices (NOPP) and recommended that the current requirements under HIPAA best accomplish the legislative intent of easily understandable notices of privacy practices. 

See the complete letter here.