The White House Opioid Commission has released its first official report to the Trump administration. There are four main categories of recommendations in the report: federal funding and programs; opioid addiction prevention; opioid addiction treatment, overdose reversal and recovery; and research and development.

You can click here to read the full report, but we wanted to highlight the portion of the report describing 42 CFR Part 2 privacy regulations in their current form as a “particular hindrance to comprehensive healthcare.”

“Better align, through regulation, patient privacy laws specific to addiction with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to ensure that information about SUDs be made available to medical professionals treating and prescribing medication to a patient. This could be done through the bipartisan Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act/Jessie’s Law. Providers and other advocates have found that certain privacy regulations, while well-intentioned patient protections, act as a barrier to communication between providers, can make it difficult for family members to be involved in a loved one’s treatment, and limits the ability to use electronic health records (EHRs) to their full potential. 42 CFR Part 2, which requires addiction treatment professionals to acquire written patient consent before sharing any information with a patient’s other healthcare providers, including when the addiction treatment facility is part of a larger healthcare system, is a particular hindrance to comprehensive healthcare. Making it administratively difficult for providers to share information has ill-effects on patients in both physical and behavioral health settings, by restraining physicians’ ability to make informed healthcare decisions.”

Netsmart is a strong advocate for updates to 42 CFR Part 2, including a simplified consent process for persons with a substance use disorder (SUD) or history of SUD treatment who wish to share their full health history with their treating providers. The current regulations are discriminatory, preventing people with a SUD from benefiting from coordinated, integrated care, and increasing the chance of inappropriate opioid prescribing. Our solutions enhance collaborative care models, and research indicates a patient being provided care in a collaborative environment is more likely to report opioid abstinence or recovery more rapidly than those in a traditional care setting. For more information, visit www.ntst.com/legislation.