A March 4, 2020 post from the Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance, backing up earlier posts on March 2 and one from November 2019, refueled the discussion as to whether 42 CFR Part 2 should be made more compatible with HIPAA.
Some believe that, while the 2018 revisions to 42 CFR Part 2 provided some modernization of the 1975 law, it didn’t go far enough. A case in point is an October 2019 letter to SAMHSA penned by Maeghan Gilmore, Chair, Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2:
“Care coordination and case management are essential for whole-person, integrated approaches to care, which have been proven to produce the best outcomes for patients. However, these activities depend on the effective and timely sharing of information. Including care coordination and case management under the definition of health care operations in Part 2 would reduce the likelihood of barriers or delays, promoting more integrated care for patients…that it 42 CFR Part 2 should align with HIPAA to ensure that all of a patient’s treatment providers have access to their entire health record.”
An earlier attempt at overhauling 42 CFR Part 2 was the bipartisan Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (H.R. 6082 (115)). This bill passed the House in 2018 but later died in the Senate for fear that “it would discourage patients from seeking SUD treatment for fear of facing discrimination or potential legal consequences”.
In April, 2019, a new bipartisan bill to amend 42 CFR Part 2 regulations was introduced in both the House and Senate. Nearly a year later this latest attempt has yet to make it past the status of “introduced” in either house.
It’s likely to meet the same fate as the last attempt, for reasons best articulated by Alison Knopf of the Addition Treatment Forum, in her November 2018 blog post. She asserts that the proposed bills put the 42 CFR Part 2 regulations “under siege”.
For this Congress, anyway, it’s unlikely that any changes to 42 CFR Part 2 regulations will be made. Depending on the results of the November 2020 elections, though, that could change in the 117th Congress. Time will tell. If you are looking for more information on substance abuse EHR software, reach out today.