NRPM: Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Substance Abuse Confidentiality Statute


Organizations that operate specialized substance abuse treatment facilities and that either receive Federal assistance or are regulated by a Federal agency are subject to confi dentiality rules established by Section 543 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. § 290dd-2) and implementing regulations at 42 C.F.R part 2.

These organizations will be subject both to that statute and to the HIPAA regula tion. The proposed rule should have little practical effect on the disclosure policies of these organizations, because the patient confidentiality statute governing information about substance abuse is generally more restrictive than this proposed rule. These organizations will continue to be subject to current restrictions on their disclosures. The substance abuse confidentiality statute does not address patient access to records; the proposed privacy rule makes clear that patient access is allowed.

Federal agencies are subject to these requirements, and currently they administer their records under both these requirements and the Privacy Act. The Department of Veterans Affairs is subject to its own substance abuse confidentiality statute, which is identical in substance to the one of more general applicability. It also covers information about HIV infection and sickle cell anemia (38 U.S.C. § 7332).