New HIPAA Opioid Epidemic Resources for Behavioral Health

HIPAA opioid epidemicThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released new HIPAA opioid epidemic resources for consumers and behavioral health practitioners.

The new tools come in response to the Trump Administration’s ongoing fight against the national opioid epidemic. These are the first wave of resources that we can expect in the upcoming months out of HHS OCR in regards to HIPAA opioid epidemic guidance and regulation.

Director of OCR, Roger Severino commented on the new guidance, saying “HHS is using every tool at its disposal to help communities devastated by opioids, including educating families and doctors on how they can share information to help save the lives of loved ones.”

The HIPAA opioid epidemic resources are couched under the 21st Century Cures Act, an Obama-era legislation that advocates for patient and consumer rights and increased quality of care across a number of different parameters in the health care space.

Some of the new guidance departs radically from prior HIPAA guidance on access to protected health information (PHI). PHI is any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient. Access, use, and disclosure of PHI has strict limits under current regulation, but this new wave of HIPAA opioid epidemic guidance seeks to change that.

What’s Included in the HIPAA Opioid Epidemic Resources?

  • OCR has launched two new pages to give better resources to HIPAA as it applies to mental and behavioral health under the opioid epidemic. The goal of these pages is to grant easier access for consumers and professionals alike. The new guidance includes fact sheets, infographics, decision chats, and scenarios related to protected health information. The resources are meant to educate about sharing mental health data when it comes to records that indicate substance abuse is at play.
  • A working group will be launched to report on the ongoing rollout of these initiatives in regards to information sharing for research. The 21st Century Cures Act is also primarily concerned with data gathering from patients, which can be used in public research initiatives.
  • OCR has updated HIPAA guidance in relation to HIPAA and research.
  • HHS will develop better models for training in the form of materials for providers, patients, and families pertaining to protected health information that indicates substance abuse.

HIPAA Resources

Compliancy Group gives behavioral health professionals confidence in their HIPAA compliance with The Guard®. The Guard is a web-based HIPAA compliance solution, built by former auditors to help simplify compliance.

Compliancy Group’s team of expert Compliance Coaches® field questions and guide users through the implementation process, taking the stress out of managing compliance. The Guard is built to address the full extent of HIPAA regulation, including fully tracked HIPAA training modules.

With The Guard, behavioral health professionals can focus on running their practice while keeping their patients’ data protected and secure.

Find out more about how Compliancy Group and the HIPAA Seal of Compliance® can help simplify your HIPAA compliance today!


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article and on this blog post are those of the authors. These do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, and position of the Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI). Any content written by the authors are their opinion and are not intended to malign any organization, company or individuals.



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