When people think of patient pri- vacy laws, they usually think of the privacy and security provisions of the Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Although HIPAA is ubiquitous in the health-
care industry, there is an equally important
patient privacy law for providers who
treat substance abuse disorders. The
Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug
Abuse Patient Records regulations
found at 42 CFR Part 2, colloquially
known as Part 2 or the Part 2 regu-
lations, protect the confidentiality
of substance use disorder patient
records for federally assisted sub-
stance use disorder programs.
On January 18, 2017, for the first time in
Background of Part 2
almost 30 years, the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA) issued its final rule attempting to
update and modernize Part 2.1 The final rule
took effect on March 21, 2017, and aside from
technical, non-substantive, and nomenclature
changes to Part 2, the rule finalized approxi-
mately a dozen amendments published in the
proposed rule the year before. This article will
discuss some of more significant amendments
and how they may impact compliance for pro-
viders who are subject to Part 2.
Part 2 regulations originate from two federal statutes passed in the 1970s — the
Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment,
and Rehabilitation Act of 1970 and the
Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and
Rehabilitation Act of 1972. The purpose of
Part 2 was to ensure that individuals who
receive treatment for a substance use disorder in a Part 2 program were not made more
vulnerable by reason of the availability of
their records than individuals who do not
seek treatment for a substance use disorder.
by Michael D. Bossenbroek, Esq.
SAMHSA publishes final rule
revising 42 CFR Part 2
» The final rule is the first substantive revision to 42 CFR Part 2 (Confidentiality of substance use disorder patient
records) since 1987.
» The final rule is in part an effort to modernize Part 2 in light of significant technological and regulatory changes in the
» In the final rule, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also announced that it was
issuing a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM).
» Whether the final rule goes far enough to modernize Part 2 and address all stakeholder concerns remains to be seen.
» Part 2 programs must review and revise Part 2 consent forms, consider revising their policies and procedures, and do
further training based on the various changes coming from the final rule.
Michael Bossenbroek ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Partner at
Wachler & Associates, PC in Royal Oak, MI.