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Mullin Applauds New HHS Rule to Help Individuals in Substance Use Recovery Receive Safer and Better Care

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Washington, August 23, 2019 | comments

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after Department Health and Human Services announced proposed changes to the federal regulations governing the confidentiality of patient records for substance use disorder treatment programs, known as 42 CFR Part 2.

“Doctors must have the whole picture on a patient’s medical history in order to safely and effectively treat that patient and this rule will help make that happen,” said Mullin. “I applaud Deputy Secretary Hargan and HHS for making much needed reforms to 42 CFR Part 2. These reforms will improve care for patients, reduce the burden on providers, and maintain important privacy protections. While this is an important step in the right direction, they’ve gone as far as they can without passing new legislation. Congress must act to bring this outdated law into the 21st century and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass my legislation that accomplishes that goal.”

“Representative Mullin’s Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act is the best way to permanently ensure providers can effectively treat patients with substance use disorders," said Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden. "This legislation strikes the right balance of giving health care providers appropriate access to a patient’s SUD treatment history, while keeping the necessary privacy protections in place. This administrative action is welcome but, as Secretary Azar said yesterday, it’s up to Congress to make needed changes to the law and fully address this issue. I look forward to working alongside Mr. Mullin to send his bill to the President’s desk.”

Mullin, along with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), introduced H.R. 2062, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act earlier this year.

This bill aligns the outdated and restrictive law and regulations, collectively known as 42 CFR Part 2 (or “Part 2”), with the patient privacy protections currently in place under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), allowing the medical community to utilize substance use disorder treatment records in the same manner as all other medical records. The legislation also incorporates language to guard against unauthorized invasions of patient privacy, discriminatory activities, and authorizes strong enforcement penalties and breach notification requirements for these transgressions, which are not currently available under Part 2.

Last year, the House passed H.R. 6082, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act with overwhelming bipartisan support but saw no action in the Senate. 
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