CARES Act Changes Privacy Rules for Substance Use Disorder Records

March 30, 2020 | Ashley Algazi | Behavioral Health | COVID-19 | Cybersecurity | Electronic Health Records | HIPAA | Legislation and Public Policy | Litigation | Telehealth

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, made some substantial changes to the confidentiality rules for substance abuse and mental health records to bring them in line with HIPAA confidentiality rules. Among the changes, a covered entity or business associate may now use or disclose substance abuse records for the purposes of treatment, payment or health care operations, as permitted by the HIPAA regulations; the HITECH Act’s breach reporting rules now apply to substance abuse records; and the CARES Act substantially expands the previous law regarding use of substance abuse records in criminal proceedings. A more detailed discussion of these and other changes may be found here.

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