Opioids take the lives of over 130 people in the US every single day. Yet, lingering stigmas surrounding substance use disorder (SUD) make it hard for individuals to begin, and remain in treatment. Protecting the privacy of these vulnerable patients has never been more relevant.
What Is 42 CFR Part 2?
The federal law protecting the confidentiality of SUD patient records was enacted in the 1970s to encourage those facing an addiction to start and continue treatment. Regulations for this law are found in 42 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 2—commonly referred to as “Part 2.”
Part 2 affects any and all information that relates to a patient coming from a Part 2 program. Federally-assisted providers subject to Part 2 regulations include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facilities and behavioral health clinics treating SUD patients.
However, there are a few exceptions where disclosing information without a patient’s written consent is permitted or required:
Amendments in 2017 and 2018 have made it easier to share Part 2 information with relevant providers by allowing patients to disclose this information to treating providers or even entire entities. The amendments also let patients establish a timeframe for the disclosure, allowing them to revoke consent to disclose information at any time.
Why Does 42 CFR Part 2 Matter?
About 1 in 10 people who feel a need for specialty substance use treatment do not receive it because they are concerned about the possible negative impacts on their jobs or their reputations in the local community. Knowing their medical records are safe helps those struggling with SUD feel safe and comfortable when seeking treatment.
Between October 30 and December 2, 2013, Colleen L. Barry and her colleagues conducted a study surveying over 700 people about their beliefs and attitudes towards mental illness or “drug addiction.
The study results showed that people have significantly more negative opinions about individuals struggling with substance use disorder than those struggling with mental health conditions. Stigmas surrounding substance use disorder—such as viewing it as a moral failing rather than a health condition—were much higher than those around mental illnesses. In fact, 78 percent of respondents said they were unwilling to work closely on a job with someone struggling with addiction in comparison to just 38 percent of people unwilling to work with individuals coping with mental illnesses.
How Does Collective Help?
Collective Medical has seen how SUD patients can get lost in the cracks of the nation’s complicated healthcare system. To help both patients and providers better navigate substance use treatment, Collective supports 42 CFR Part 2 using a first-to-market consent feature. This consent model supports a three-pronged approach to consent: full consent, partial consent, and no consent.
Full consent allows providers to enter care plans, attachments such as pain contracts, and other information for collaborating patient care. This consent also allows other facilities to view this information.
Partial consent allows providers within the Collective Network to see some visit information, such as care team members, but limits visibility into care plans, security events, and additional attachments.
No consent allows SUD providers to receive “read-only” information from other facilities, but does not allow the provider to contribute patient information to the Collective Platform for access by others. However, patient data can still be added and viewed at the consenting facility.
When providers are able to look past stigmas surrounding substance use disorder, they can facilitate the collaboration needed to fully care for these vulnerable patients. To learn more about how to overcome stigmas such as, thinking of SUD as a moral failing rather than a treatable medical condition, view this webinar Dr. Anne Zink, Emergency Medicine Director at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center presented in collaboration with Becker’s Hospital Review and Collective Medical.