Bill would give patients, providers greater flexibility for addiction information

August 11, 2017
Medicare Web

A new bill is in progress that would require HHS to develop guidelines for when a patient’s opioid use disorder information can be prominently displayed in the medical record. S.581—Jessie’s Law passed the Senate August 3 and is currently waiting for review by the House of Representatives. It would require HHS to establish and disseminate the guidelines within one year of the bill’s passage.

The bill specifies that the opioid use disorder information would be provided by the patient and that the patient would have to specifically request that the information be prominently displayed in the medical record, including the EHR. HHS would be required to develop rules regarding what constitutes the patient’s request and the process by which information should be displayed in the medical record.

The bill also includes language mindful of the sensitive nature of substance use disorder information. If the bill passes, HHS would have to develop guidance and best practices that help protect opioid use disorder information displayed in the medical record, including all applicable requirements related to obtaining a patient’s consent for use or disclosure of such information.

Opioid use disorder is coming under increased state and federal attention. On August 8, Tom Price, secretary of HHS, suggested that federal privacy laws such as HIPAA should be redrafted to allow providers to inform the family when an adult patient overdoses. On August 11, the opioid abuse crisis was declared a national emergency.

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