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May 07, 2020 (Cleveland, OH)

CARES Act Calls for 42 CFR Part 2 Revision Impacting SUD Treatment, Care Coordination



42 CFR Part 2The CARES Act, the coronavirus relief package enacted March 27, included a provision long advocated for by provider groups, including the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium: a modification to a federal regulation known as 42 CFR Part 2. 

This rule, which predates by decades the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is aimed at protecting the privacy of patients who are treated for substance use disorders (SUD). But in the age of HIPAA and the current opioid crisis, the regulation has been a barrier to effective, coordinated treatment for these patients. Providers have been advocating since at least 2018 that the rule be aligned with HIPAA for purposes of patient privacy.

The CARES Act, specifically section 3221, calls for changes to the regulation to require a one-time written consent and permit re-disclosures made in accordance with HIPAA following that initial written consent. The Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2, which includes the American Hospital Association, the Premier Healthcare Alliance and others, is urging Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to expedite the revision of the rule to reflect the changes called for by the CARES Act.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) had proposed revisions to the rule last fall that made some headway on the challenges raised by 42 CFR Part 2, but HHS at the time awaited legislative action to grant it the authority to fully align the regulation with HIPAA for purposes of treatment, payment and operations. The CARES Act enables HHS to revise the rule, facilitating the improved coordination of care advocated by provider groups.

The Center for Health Affairs, on behalf of the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, had submitted comments in support of the SAMHSA rule revision as well as several letters to members of Congress in support of prior legislative attempts to enact these changes.

For more on the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium’s advocacy activities, contact us.

TWEETABLE: The CARES Act called for revisions to 42 CFR Part 2 that will help providers better coordinate care for patients with substance use disorders.


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