OCHIN has submitted the following comments to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) about 42 CFR Part 2, a federal rule concerning the confidentiality of patient records related to substance use disorder:
OCHIN appreciates SAMHSA’s clarifications in the recent rule for billing and operational purposes since this helps provide much needed guidance to Part 2 programs on managing the Part 2 program administratively. OCHIN also appreciated the abbreviated notice for sharing records since this will better assist in electronically exchanging records.
OCHIN and its members would like to see additional sharing permitted without data segmentation or consent for treatment purposes since many members of OCHIN utilize an integrated care model. The new rule creates the unfortunate situation of information being shared under consent with administrators of an organization, billers, and vendors for operational and billing purposes, but not the Primary Care Provider without a signed consent of the patient and subject to potential data segmentation.
OCHIN strongly believes that for better health outcomes, the exchange of health data electronically, abatement of the opioid crisis, and to prevent potential interactions and life-threatening conditions, information needs to be shared un-abated for treatment purposes. HIPAA has expressly permitted the sharing of treatment information without limitation for treatment purposes to ensure that the most important part of the healthcare system, the patient, is protected. OCHIN firmly agrees with this approach and believes this needs clarity in the law.