Confidentiality Protections for Substance Abuse Treatment Face Hurdles in Electronic Environment

June 11, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is exploring whether to modify restrictions on the release of information about patients' substance abuse treatment to promote information sharing in an electronic environment. The revisions, if enacted, would apply to substance abuse treatment services, including treatment programs within general medical facilities, receiving federal funds. Federal law currently prohibits federally assisted substance abuse programs from releasing a patient's treatment information to others without an individual's consent. Even if a patient does consent to share the information with certain providers, organizations have encountered difficulty limiting the sharing of this information electronically.

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