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Federal Legislation Addresses National Opioid Crisis, Will Impact the Entire Healthcare Industry

The U.S. healthcare industry needs to be aware of recent federal legislation that was signed into law on October 24, 2018. The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment, or SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, H.R.6, was signed into law as a response to the national opioid crisis. The law broadly addresses the opioid crisis in ways that will affect the entire health care industry. The law is immediately effective, except for certain individual provisions which specifically define when they will go into effect. More ›

OCR Issues Guidance on How Providers May Share Information under HIPAA in Response to the National Opioid Crisis

On October 27, 2017 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a guidance titled "How HIPAA Allows Doctors to Respond to the Opioid Crisis," following President Trump's declaration of the opioid crisis as a national public health emergency. The guidance contains information on how the HIPAA Privacy Rule allows covered entities—which include health care providers and insurers—to share patient information without patient consent in connection with the nation's opioid-related health crisis.

Generally, HIPAA prohibits health care providers and insurers from sharing protected health information about patients who have the capacity to make their own health care decisions, and who have not authorized information sharing with family or legal representatives. The OCR Guidance clarifies that the HIPAA Privacy Rule allows the sharing of such information in certain circumstances, including: More ›

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