The Wall Street Journal
: Drug Treatment Swept Up In Push For Medical-Records Sharing
Federal officials are proposing to ease 40-year-old restrictions on the release of information about patients' drug- and alcohol-abuse treatment, so their electronic medical records can be more easily used and shared. Federal law has long protected substance-abuse-treatment records from being disclosed to anyone without a patient's explicit consent, so that fear of stigma or discrimination wouldn't deter those in need from seeking help. If a patient agrees to share substance-abuse records with, say, a doctor or hospital, those records can't be sent anywhere else unless the patient consents again (Beck, 6/4).