Opioid Safety Alliance Praises Bills to Modernize Substance Use Disorder Record Privacy

Bipartisan, bicameral pair of bills would amend flawed 42 CFR Part 2 law that impedes care coordination and threatens patient safety 

WASHINGTON, DC (April 3, 2019): The Opioid Safety Alliance - a working group of prescribers, health systems, technology companies, pharmacies and pharmacists, professional societies, and patients united against inappropriate opioid use - applauded the reintroduction of the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety (OPPS) Act in the House of Representatives and the Protecting Jessica Grubb's Legacy Act in the Senate. 

The bills, sponsored by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), would reform the flawed patient privacy law known as 42 CFR Part 2 that silos addiction treatment information from the rest of an individual's medical record, thereby preventing prescribers from making fully informed clinical decisions.

Under the Opioid Safety Alliance-endorsed measures, 42 CFR Part 2 would be aligned with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to give clinicians a full view of a patient's medical history. The bills would add stringent new protections to ensure the privacy of addiction treatment records outside the doctor's office and hospital settings. 

"For too long, the flawed 42 CFR Part 2 law has put a wall between patients’ addiction treatment records and the rest of their health history. This policy creates needless stigma that impedes care coordination and threatens patient safety,” said Opioid Safety Alliance Executive Director Joel White. “By aligning laws governing addiction treatment records with HIPAA, these bills represent a smart step in the right direction that will protect the well-being of those recovering from substance misuse and ensure prescribers do not become unwitting aides to a patient’s relapse. Better information for a patient’s provider will help ensure better treatment and less addiction. We celebrate the introduction of these bipartisan measures and commit to work toward their swift passage.”
The Opioid Safety Alliance's track record on 42 CFR Part 2 Reform:

  • December 2018OSA honors Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) for his work as a sponsor of the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety (OPPS) Act. 

  • June 2018OSA celebrates last Congress's passage of the OPPS Act and commits to "see it passed in the Senate and enacted into law."

  • May 2018: OSA pens a joint blog post with Centerstone CEO & Co-Founder David Guth in honor of Mental Health Month calling for reforms to the 42 CFR Part 2 law.  

  • March 2018OSA co-signs a letter from the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 endorsing the OPPS Act

  • November 2017OSA Executive Director Joel White writes in Morning Consult to call for change, saying "In 2017, we can and must protect patient privacy without hampering doctors’ ability to offer safe, effective, integrated care."