OCR Introduces Latest Tools to Assist Tackle the Opioid Crisis

OCR has introduced latest tools and plans as part of its attempts to assist tackle the opioid disaster in the U.S., and comply with its responsibilities according to the 21st Century Treatments Law.

Two latest webpages have been issued – one for healthcare professionals and one for consumers– that make information pertaining to behavioral/mental health as well as HIPAA more simply available.

OCR means have been restructured to render the HHS site easier, and the latest webpages work like a one-stop source clarifying when, and under what conditions, health info can be shared with families, friends, and family members to assist them to cope with, and avoid, emergency circumstances like a mental health crisis or an opioid overdose.

OCR has also issued a fresh regulation on sharing info pertaining to substance abuse illness and mental health with people involved in the delivery of treatment to patients. The latest resources include an infographic, decision charts, fact sheets, and different scenarios which deal with the sharing of info when a person has an opioid overdose.  A few of the substances have been created particularly for parents of kids suffering from a mental health disorder.

OCR is also cooperating with associate organizations in the HHS to identify as well as develop more programs and training stuff covering the allowed disclosures and uses of PHI when patients search for or undergo, a cure for substance abuse disorder or mental health disorders.

“HHS is utilizing every means at its disposal to assist communities ruined by opioids including educating doctors and families on the way they can distribute information to assist save the lives of family members,” said Roger Severino, OCR Director.

The Information Pertaining to Behavioral and Mental Health can be read on the links under:

Webpage for consumers

Webpage for healthcare professionals and caregivers

Help on Research and HIPAA

OCR has also issued latest guidance on research and HIPAA, as needed by the 21st Century Treatments Law. The new direction describes the way the HIPAA Secrecy Law relates to an inquiry, including when safeguarded health information may be distributed without first getting approval from patients.

OCR describes that HIPAA-covered units are always allowed to reveal PHI for research goals if it has been de-identified as per 164.514(a)-(c), and 45 CFR 164.502(d).

If PHI isn’t de-identified, approval from patients is needed unless the protected unit has received verified Privacy Board or Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. In the regulation, OCR clarifies the conditions that should be met to get such authorization.

The guidance can be viewed here.

OCR has also produced a working group which has representatives of many healthcare providers, researchers, federal agencies, security, privacy, patients, and technology specialists. The working group will review disclosures and uses of PHI for research as well as the group will tell whether those disclosures and uses must be changed to help research while making sure people’s privacy rights are safeguarded.