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TAKE ACTION: Urge Support for Part 2 Legislation Now

Last week, dozens of bills produced by the House of Representatives became Centerstone’s top priorities. Among them, the Opioid Prevention and Patient Safety Act (OPPS Act) (H.R.5795) is the most controversial and hotly contested among lawmakers and stakeholders. The OPPS Act passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee last week, and will be up for a vote by the full House of Representatives during the week of June 11th. We encourage interested parties to take action – here are some background on the bill and pointers on how to reach out to your Representatives this week.

What the Bill Will Do:

The bipartisan OPPS Act would function to align 42 CFR Part 2 (Part 2) with HIPAA’s consent requirements for the purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations (TPO). This would finally permit federally assisted SUD providers (like Centerstone) to have access to the full patient record. Additionally, it would allow federally assisted SUD providers to share their patients’ SUD records with other covered entities in order to ensure their patients receive safe, integrated, and whole-person care. For more detail, please see this one-page datapoint on Part 2.

Context For the Bill:

The Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records rule – 42 CFR Part 2 – is a regulation created in the 1970’s to protect the confidentiality of an individual’s substance use records. The rule prevents federally assisted providers from seeing an SUD patient’s full medical record unless that patient signs a separate written release. As such, Part 2 prevents providers from systematically treating OUD/SUD patients in reliance on complete and accurate patient histories. Today, SUD is the only condition not governed by HIPAA. In moving towards more robust integrated care models where every member of a patient’s treatment team needs to understand a patient’s full medical/SUD history, Part 2 stands as a hindrance to whole-person, safe care.

Centerstone CEO David Guth’s penned an op-ed on the topic.

What You Can Do: Call your Congressional Members between June 4th and 11th, and/or post on social media!

To contact your Member of Congress, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with your Representative’s office. You do not need to know their names – you can simply provide the switchboard with the state you live in and the zip code. Ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant that handles health care issues. Once they pickup, or you get voicemail, you can use this sample statement:

“Hello. My name is (name, city you live in, place you work (if applicable)) and I’m calling to ask the Congressman/Congresswoman to please cosponsor H.R. 5795, the Opioid Prevention and Patient Safety Act, and vote yes on the bill in the upcoming floor vote. The bill will align 42 CFR Part 2 with HIPAA. This will reduce stigma by treating addiction like all other illnesses, allow for care coordination and integration of treatment, and improve outcomes. Thank you.”

If your Congressperson is Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Susan Brooks (R-IN-5), Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14), or Andy Barr (R-KY-16), please use this sample statement:

“Hello. My name is (name, city you live in, place you work (if applicable)) and I’m calling to Thank the Congressman/Congresswoman for cosponsoring H.R. 5795, the Opioid Prevention and Patient Safety Act. I encourage the Congressman/Congresswoman to continue leading the charge on this bill, as it will allow for true care coordination and integration of treatment, and improve patient outcomes. Thank you.”

Thank you all for helping us to address these legislative issues which will help us to deliver care that changes people’s lives.