HLC Newsletter

Letter to Congressional Leaders Urges Action to Allow Greater Access to Medical Records for Treatment of Opioid Cases

HLC Among Dozens of Organizations Saying Congress Must Remove Barriers That Can Lead to “Potentially Dangerous Medical Situations” 

WASHINGTON – The Healthcare Leadership Council is joining dozens of other organizations from multiple healthcare sectors in urging Congress, as it develops a legislative package to combat the opioid crisis, to include provisions allowing greater access to patients’ medical history for the treatment of substance abuse.

The issue concerns federal regulations, 42 CFR Part 2, that govern confidentiality of drug and alcohol treatment and strictly limit the use and disclosure of patient records from certain substance use programs.  The U.S. House has passed legislation that would align 42 CFR Part 2 with existing HIPAA laws governing patient privacy and access to medical information.  The U.S. Senate did not include this provision in its opioid bill.

HLC is one of over 100 organizations signing the letter initiated by the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2.  The letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House leaders Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is urging that the final opioid legislative package that goes to President Trump includes the measure addressing this access problem.

“A lack of access to the full scope of medical information for each patient can result in the inability of providers and organizations to deliver safe, high-quality treatment and care coordination,” the letter states.  “The barriers presented by Part 2 can result in the failure to integrate services and can lead to potentially dangerous medical situations for patients.”

The letter goes on to say that many of the new initiatives in the House and Senate opioid bills, such as the creation of Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers and expanding Medicare coverage to cover some services provide by opioid treatment programs, will be hampered without taking action to address current barriers to vital patient information.

“Modifying Part 2 to ensure that HIPAA-covered entities have access to a patient’s entire medical record will improve patient safety, treatment, and outcomes across the care delivery spectrum, enhancing the entire opioid package,” the letter says.

The Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 is also running Capitol Hill-focused advertising this week to urge inclusion of this modernization of privacy regulations in the final opioid legislative package.