Drug and alcohol treatment and prevention providers are covered by two distinct federal laws that protect patient privacy. For over thirty five years, the federal law governing Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records and its implementing regulations 42 C.F.R. Part 2 (“42 C.F.R. Part 2”), have protected information regarding patients of drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programs.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), effective April 14, 2003, protects the privacy of health information held by health plans, health care clearinghouses and the vast majority of health care providers, including most drug and alcohol programs. The HIPPA regulations, 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164, address many of the same issues as 42 C.F.R. Part 2. Both sets of regulations establish standards for the maintenance, use, and disclosure of health information, including what must be done before a disclosure of confidential information can be made, the manner in which the information may be disclosed, and to whom it may be disclosed.