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March 21, 2019 (Cleveland)

Opioid Consortium Urges Lawmakers to Improve Care Coordination for SUD Patients



Opioid Consortium Urges Lawmakers to Improve Care Coordination for SUD PatientsThe Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium continues to participate in a broad effort to amend regulations to improve care coordination for patients with substance use disorders. This month, the Opioid Consortium sent letters to Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman requesting their support of the latest push on this issue.

The senators were encouraged to sign on to a letter being circulated by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), who are urging the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to make a regulatory change. Specifically, SAMHSA is being asked to align existing rules on the confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records, known as 42 CFR Part 2, with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The goal is to protect the confidentiality of patient records while at the same time ensuring providers have access to the information necessary to provide safe, effective treatment.

Last year, the Opioid Consortium urged Sens. Brown and Portman to support a bill with the same aim that had passed the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 357 to 57. However, the Senate failed to take up the measure before the end of last year, allowing the legislation to expire. A coalition of organizations continues to work on this issue, which has been identified by the hospital physician representatives to the Opioid Consortium as a significant challenge. Current regulations hamper providers’ access to patient records related to addiction treatment, impeding the ability to provide safe, effective treatment. 

MORE: For more on the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, contact us.

TWEETABLE: #OpioidConsortium asks @SenSherrodBrown & @senrobportman to support effort to improve care coordination for patients suffering from substance use disorders.