American Society of Addiciton Medicine


Practice Management


Confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of the physician-patient relationship, and it is especially important for patients with addiction.

Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Records

Patients with substance use disorders are often reluctant to tell their healthcare professionals about their condition due to the potentially negative legal and social ramifications associated with addiction Unfortunately, this reluctance to share this information, coupled with the stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease of addiction, exacerbate the addiction treatment gap in this country.

To help address this issue, federal regulations known as "42 CFR Part 2" protect the confidentiality of substance use disorder (SUD) records of any person who has sought treatment for or been diagnosed with a SUD  at a “federally assisted program.”  42 CFR Part 2 aims to encourage people to seek SUD treatment without fear.

ASAM appreciates the heightened need for confidentiality protections of a patient's  SUD records covered by 42 CFR Part 2, as well as the need for complete and accurate medical information to be shared for purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations. ASAM will continue to advocate for striking this critical balance in its advocacy activities.


HHS Finalizes New Provisions to Enhance Integrated Care and Confidentiality for Patients with Substance Use Conditions

On February 8, 2024, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a final rule to implement changes to confidentiality protections afforded to patients seeking treatment for substance use disorder, as required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. This final rule is effective on April 16, 2024. Persons subject to this regulation must comply with the applicable requirements of this final rule by February 16, 2026.

A fact sheet from HHS summarizing the final rule can be found here.

For more information on the potential implications for Part 2 programs, recipients of Part 2 records, patients, and electronic health record (EHR) vendors/health information exchanges (HIEs), click here