Molly Nicol Lewis of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie and Kirkland, PLLC writes:
It was with the best of intentions that Congress passed the Federal Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Law over forty years ago. The patient privacy regulations (“Part 2”) spawned by this law reflected a sensitivity to the stigma that can accompany substance abuse, preventing highly vulnerable patients in need from seeking appropriate treatment. In the interim, however, the field of behavioral health care has experienced seismic shifts in coordinated patient care while the regulations concerning these patient records have failed to adapt to changing standards such as electronic health records or health information exchanges. Due to this inflexibility, providers and patients are now facing a host of impediments in the provision of behavioral healthcare.
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