Health Law Highlights

New Part II Rules

Summary of article from Gordon Feinblatt LLC, by Alexandria K. Monanio:

The Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records regulations, known as Part II, have been updated to better align with HIPAA privacy protections. Providers have until April 2026 to comply with these changes, which include allowing patients to sign a single consent for all future uses of treatment, payment, and health care operations data. However, identifiable Part II data cannot be disclosed in legal proceedings without explicit patient consent or a court order. The updated rules also provide a safe harbor for investigative agencies and allow patients to file Part II violation complaints directly to the Secretary of HHS. The HHS plans to develop guidance and conduct outreach to facilitate compliance with the new rule, with additional changes to the HIPAA rules expected in the future.

Health Law Highlights

Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records: What to Know About Updates to Part 2

From Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, by Thora Johnson, Kyle Kessler, Cosmas Robless:

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has updated the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records regulations (Part 2) to align with HIPAA and HITECH, aiming to improve care coordination while protecting patient privacy. Notably, patient consent for disclosure of SUD treatment records has been simplified, allowing a single consent for all future uses and disclosures related to treatment, payment, and health care operations.

The Rule permits redisclosure of SUD records by HIPAA-covered entities without additional patient consent, promoting coordinated care. The Rule also introduces a definition for SUD counseling notes, mirroring the HIPAA protections for psychotherapy notes, which require separate written consent for use or disclosure.

The Rule establishes two new patient rights: the right to receive an accounting of any disclosures of their SUD records in the three years prior to their request, and the right to request restrictions on disclosures of their records for treatment, payment, and health care operations.

The Rule expands patient privacy in legal proceedings, extending the prohibition of the use and disclosure of SUD records to all criminal, civil, administrative, and legislative proceedings against a patient. It also authorizes civil penalties, in addition to criminal ones, for Part 2 violations, aligning with the value of civil penalties under HIPAA.

The Rule applies the same requirements as the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule to breaches of patient records subject to Part Providers must notify affected individuals, the Secretary of HHS, and in some cases the media in the event of a breach. The Rule will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register on February 16, 2024, with compliance required by February 16, 202

Health Law Highlights

HIPAA and Part 2 Harmonized: What Health Care Organizations Need to Know

From Foley & Lardner LLP, by Jane Blaney, Jennifer J. Hennessy, Aaron T. Maguregui:

Part 2 Final Rule Implementation: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued the Part 2 Final Rule to revise the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records regulations. This rule, effective 60 days post-publication, implements provisions of the 2020 CARES Act and includes modifications proposed in the November 2022 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and additional changes based on public comments.

Patient Consent Changes: The rule allows SUD programs to obtain a single patient consent for all future uses and disclosures of Part 2 records for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations (TPO), as per HIPAA regulations. This consent can be revoked by the patient in writing. The rule also permits HIPAA-covered entities and business associates to redisclose records under this consent, barring use in legal proceedings against the patient without specific consent or court order.

Patient Notice and Rights: The rule aligns Part 2’s patient notice requirements more closely with the HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices. It also provides patients with additional rights, such as requesting restrictions of disclosures to health plans for services paid in full or for purposes of TPO, obtaining an accounting of disclosures, and opting out of fundraising communications.

Breach Notification and Counseling Notes: The rule applies HIPAA’s Breach Notification Rule to breaches of unsecured records by Part 2 programs. It also includes a definition of SUD counseling notes similar to the HIPAA definition of psychotherapy notes, requiring specific consent from the individual for their disclosure.

Data Segregation and Penalties: The rule removes the requirement for segregation or segmentation of Part 2 records but maintains their protection. Violations of Part 2 will be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as HIPAA violations, and patients can file complaints with HHS for violations of Part