This session focuses on the issues of managing health information when it may involve substance abuse treatment information. HIPAA allows a number of disclosures without consent that SAMHSA prohibits without consent. First we will explain how HIPAA relates to information management and release and explain the processes required for various releases of information under the HIPAA rules, including release according to individual access requests, and under HIPAA authorizations.
When substance abuse treatment information is involved, first you need to understand how to identify it. We will discuss how to make it distinguishable from "regular" health information, so that the appropriate extra protections can be provided. You may be able to use functions in your EHR to flag the information, or you may create a manual process for tracking the information, if it is rarely handled in your organization. And the substance abuse treatment information you collect may or may not be under SAMHSA depending on whether or not you have a department or even a response team that specializes in SAMHSA-related situations. You need to understand your status under the rules before you release information inappropriately. We will discuss what qualifies treatment that falls under SAMHSA.
If your organization provides services that create information that is under the SAMHSA regulations, you will need to establish the consent and release of information processes that are required to be followed for information releases under 42 CFR Part 2. This involves getting the proper consents upon establishment of the relationship, as well as managing consents for releases that may be necessary after the initial establishment of the relationship. The session will include an explanation of the consent and release requirements that must be followed.
When you release information under HIPAA, there are no special notices required to be placed on the records. But when you release information under SAMHSA, each document must have a notice that explains that re-disclosure is not permitted without a new consent. Complicating matters are updated rules going into effect that will allow a consent that permits a re-release to a defined team of providers caring for the individual, but then require meticulous documentation of to whom the information has been released under such a consent. The session will go over the rules on consents and re-release of information.
With the current epidemic of opioid abuse, there has been a great deal of publicity around the release of information and the necessity to share information with family and friends to facilitate recovery, but the rules remain in place as is. HIPAA allows such releases under some circumstances, while a consent is required under 42 CFR Part 2. HHS has issued guidance on how to deal with the regulations in the face of the crisis, but the inconsistencies and difficulties remain. In this session we will review the guidance and learn how it helps explain some of the rules.
Overall, substance abuse treatment information can complicate your records management and release processes, but by recognizing and planning for the issues, you can minimize the impacts.
Why should you Attend: Today we are in the midst of an epidemic of substance abuse, and particularly opioid abuse, and more and more providers are involved in providing treatment to people with substance abuse issues. When substance abuse is involved, the rules of SAMHSA under 42 CFR Part 2 come into play. But who is covered under the rules, what's involved in meeting them, and how do they interact with HIPAA? HIPAA allows a number of disclosures, for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations purposes, without consent from the individual being treated. SAMHSA rules, on the other hand, require consent for every disclosure or re-disclosure, and if the proper consents aren't obtained, the provider can be in violation of the rules and subject to penalties.
Areas Covered in the Session: