Substance Use Disorder Patient Privacy and Comprehensive Care in Integrated Health Care Settings

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Abstract

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands health insurance coverage for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, underscoring the value of improving SUD service integration in primarily physical health care settings. It is not yet known to what degree specialized privacy regulations—Code of Federal Regulations Title 42, Part 2 (42 CFR Part 2), in particular—will affect access to or the utilization and delivery of SUD treatment in primary care. In addition to exploring the emerging benefits and barriers that specialized confidentiality regulations pose to treatment in early adopting integrated health care settings, this article introduces and explicates 42 CFR Part 2 to support provider and administrator implementation of SUD privacy regulations in integrated settings. The authors also argue that, although intended to protect patients with SUD, special SUD information protection may inadvertently reinforce stigma against patients by purporting the belief that SUD is different from other health problems and must be kept private. In turn, this stigma may inhibit the delivery of comprehensive integrated care.

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