To continue addressing the opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) this week launched several initiatives that fulfill requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act.
Among the actions:
- Two new webpages with HIPAA-related information on mental/behavioral health—one for consumers and one for professionals—were published. The pages reorganize existing guidance in a more user-friendly format. The pages also contain new HIPAA guidance on sharing information related to mental health and substance use disorder treatment with a patient’s family, friends, and others involved with the patient’s care or payment for care.
- A collaboration between OCR and other offices within HHS to develop model programs and materials for training healthcare providers and the public regarding permitted uses and disclosures of protected health information of patients seeking or receiving mental health/substance use disorder treatment.
- Revised guidance on HIPAA and research, per the Cures Act.
- Launch of a group to study the uses and disclosures of protected health information for research under HIPAA.
Signed in December 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act authorizes $1 billion over two years to supplement existing grant programs for addiction treatment and prevention, prescription drug monitoring programs, and workforce development.