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Opioid Addicts Civil Rights

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Posted on Jan 14, 2019

Julia Vann

In October of last year, the Trump administration declared the opioid epidemic a national crisis. Just a few days ago, Trump added his signature to an executive order promising to crack down on the drug’s overuse and abuse.

According to HIPAA Journal, “The Act will help strengthen the government’s response to the opioid crisis, improve access to addiction treatment services, and expand data sharing in cases of opioid abuse.”

With this new move, there have been calls to change the current privacy information outlined in the Act. As it is currently, a patient’s medical records only displays information regarding opioid abuse so long as they give consent. However, there are some who want to request changes. They want that to reveal that information without consent. This would improve the treatment options for those afflicted with the addiction.

While the idea behind it is noble, it could lead to some unintentional ramifications. Not all patients may want their addiction history available for any healthcare provider to view.

Unfortunately, healthcare providers are still human, and having access to that information could lead to bias and discrimination. In addition, it could negatively impact treatment. A healthcare provider might make the wrong diagnosis because of the patient’s drug history.

At the end of the day, the patient should always get to choose who views their information. Even those struggling with addiction deserve consent.

To learn more about HIPAA compliance, visit the American Medical Compliance website.

“OCR Launches Campaign to Raise Awareness of Civil Rights Protections for Patients Being Treated for Opioid Use Disorder.” HIPAA Journal, HIPAA Journal, 31 Oct. 2018, www.hipaajournal.com/ocr-civil-rights-protections-patients-treated-opioid-use-disorder/.