Letter of Support to Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (OPPS)

March 21, 2018

The Honorable Markwayne Mullin                               The Honorable Earl Blumenauer
United States House of Representatives                      United States House of Representatives
1113 Rayburn House Office Building                            1111 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515                                                    Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives Mullin and Blumenauer:

The undersigned members of the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 (Partnership) and additional stakeholder organizations applaud your leadership on the issue of substance use disorder privacy records and strongly support your bill, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety (OPPS) Act, H.R. 3545, to align 42 CFR Part 2 (Part 2) with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for the purposes of health care treatment, payment, and operations (TPO). We appreciate the provision in your bill that strengthens protections against the use of substance use disorder records in criminal proceedings.

The Partnership is a coalition of over 40 health care stakeholder organizations committed to aligning Part 2 with HIPAA to allow appropriate access to patient information that is essential for providing whole-person care.

The federal regulations governing the confidentiality of drug and alcohol treatment and prevention records, Part 2, set requirements limiting the use and disclosure of patients’ substance use records from certain substance use treatment programs. Obtaining multiple consents from the patient is challenging and creates barriers to whole-person, integrated approaches to care, which are part of our current health care framework. Part 2 regulations may lead to a doctor treating a patient and writing prescriptions for opioid pain medication for that individual without knowing the person has a substance use disorder. Separation of a patient’s addiction record from the rest of that person’s medical record creates several problems and hinders patients from receiving safe, effective, high quality substance use treatment and coordinated care.

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