SPONSORED:

Trump officials propose easing privacy rules to improve addiction treatment

Trump officials propose easing privacy rules to improve addiction treatment
© iStock

The Trump administration proposed to ease privacy rules governing addiction treatment Thursday in an effort to give doctors access to key information about a patient. 

The Department of Health and Human Services said the new rules would help doctors share information about a patient’s addiction history to help prevent scenarios where doctors have inadvertently prescribed opioids to patients, not knowing that they had a history of addiction. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Not having that information can literally be deadly,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said on a call with reporters. 

He said the new rule would lift “onerous requirements” to make it “easier for people struggling with substance use disorders to discuss these issues with their doctors [and] seek treatment.”

Officials stressed that there are still privacy protections, for example maintaining protections that prevent law enforcement from using addiction treatment records against a patient. 

“Everything is done with a patient's consent,” Azar said. 

Officials said another goal is reducing regulatory burdens for doctors, who will now face fewer hurdles to access and record addiction treatment information for patients. 

The issue has generally not been divisive along partisan lines, with some bipartisan support for changes, though some advocates worry loosening the rules too far could discourage patients from seeking treatment for addiction. 

House Republicans on Thursday praised the move. 

"Outdated federal substance use disorder (SUD) confidentiality law and regulations are actively interfering in the safe treatment of patients and we are pleased that the President has taken action to address this obstacle in our efforts to save people from opioid overdoing,” Reps. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHillicon Valley: Leadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns | Snapchat launches in-app video platform 'Spotlight' | Uber, Lyft awarded federal transportation contract Lawmakers urge FCC to assist in effort to rip out, replace suspect network equipment OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (R-Ore.) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessLawmakers push for improved diabetes care through tech advancements Overnight Health Care: Schumer, Pelosi want Heroes Act as 'starting point' in new COVID-19 relief talks | Labs warn of possible delays in test results amid surge in demand | Federal government partners with pharmacies for coronavirus vaccine distribution Overnight Health Care: COVID-19 cases rising in every state | Wisconsin health official warns state nearing 'tipping point' | Fauci predicts data from Moderna vaccine within a week MORE (R-Texas) said in a statement.