This course is based on information found in the manual The Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Regulation and the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Implications for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Programs from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This manual can be obtained free of charge from the DHHS.
In the early 1970’s, Congress recognized that the stigma associated with substance abuse and fear of prosecution deterred people from entering treatment and enacted legislation that gave patients a right to confidentiality. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” in 2000. This privacy rule applies to substance abuse treatment programs that are subject to HIPAA. This manual is for substance abuse treatment programs that are subject to and already complying with confidentiality requirements. It explains which programs must also comply with the Privacy Rule and outlines what compliance will require. To comply with the Privacy Rule programs should apply this guidance to their individual situations. Programs may also want to call upon state agencies, provider organizations and legal counsel for assistance in establishing and implementing the practices and policy changes required by the Privacy Rule.