In January 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) made the first major, substantive amendments to 42 C.F.R. part 2 (part 2), the federal regulations governing confidentiality of substance use disorder treatment records, since 1987. The amendments were largely aimed at allowing the exchange of patient identifying information (PII) within clinically integrated networks, accountable care organizations, and health information exchanges. The amendments also clarified the permissible purposes for which a part 2 program may disclose PII to contractors and vendors known as Qualified Service Organizations. When SAMHSA issued the January 2017 amendments, it also issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in which it sought comments on topics such as an abbreviated notice of prohibition on re-disclosure, alignment of part 2 with HIPAA/HITECH, and the ability to re-disclose PII for treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes.
On January 3, 2018, SAMHSA issued a final rule (Final Rule), which further amends the part 2 regulations. The Final Rule became effective on February 2, 2018 and contains major changes, which part 2 providers need to understand and implement as soon as possible. I have drafted a comprehensive white paper explaining the requirements of the Final Rule, which can be found here.