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Proposed updates to 42 C.F.R. Part 2: Substance Use Disorder Privacy Rule

Reesa N. Benkoff (rbenkoff@benkofflaw.com) is the principal and founder of Benkoff Health Law PLLC in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

On August 22, 2019, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced proposed changes to the Confidentiality of Substance Abuse Disorder Patient Records regulations, set forth in 42 C.F.R. § 2 (Part 2). Part 2 protects, and prevents access to, patient records created by federally assisted substance abuse disorder (SUD) treatment programs. SUD is a defined term under Part 2, and includes cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms indicating that an individual continues using a substance despite significant substance-related problems, such as impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological tolerance and withdrawal. SUD does not include tobacco or caffeine use.[1] Notably, Part 2 is limited in scope, because it applies only to certain programs that treat SUD and receive federal assistance, as such terms are defined within Part 2.

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