CHA News Article

Final Rule Updates Regulations for Federally Assisted Substance Use Disorder Programs

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published in the Federal Register a final rule updating and clarifying the confidentiality of patient information regulations. SAMHSA intended the regulatory update to reflect changes in the health care delivery system since 1987, when the current regulations were issued — particularly electronic health information exchange and whole-person care. The final rule is effective Feb. 17.

The provisions of the rule apply to federally assisted substance use disorder programs. A general medical facility must comply with the rule only if it has an identified unit that holds itself out as providing substance use disorder diagnosis, treatment or referral for treatment, or has staff whose primary function is the provision of substance use disorder diagnosis, treatment or referral for treatment, and are identified as such.

CHA is updating its Health Information Privacy Manual to explain the new rule in detail, including updating the required model notice to patients and notice of prohibition of redisclosure. The 2017 edition —available at the end of January — describes recent amendments to state and federal health information privacy laws, court decisions and guidance from the Office for Civil Rights, and includes new content about photographing and filming patients, searching patients and their belongings, observers present in the facility, audio recording confidential communications, body cameras and consumer wearables, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other topics. For more information about the manual,visit