On July 7, 2022, Gov. Wolf signed Act 33 of 2022, which amends Act 63 of 1972 as it pertains to confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records. Act 33 incorporates federal confidential protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 42 CFR Part 2. Act 33, which took effect immediately, prohibits the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) from promulgating or enforcing a regulation that restricts any disclosure of records or information that is permitted by Act 33. DDAP is currently reviewing Act 33 to determine next steps as a regulatory agency and will be providing additional information and details on the DDAP website in the near future.
The House Human Services Committee passed three key bills today.
House Bills 1561 and 1563 were passed unanimously out of committee. Both bills will align Pennsylvania’s confidentiality laws with federal laws. HB 1563 will effectively eliminate 4 Pa. Code § 255.5. The full House is scheduled to consider both bills tomorrow. RCPA supports both bills.
In addition, House Bill 1995 passed out of committee on a 15-10 party-line vote in which no Democrats voted for the bill. The bill would require the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) to promulgate regulations in instances where DDAP is implementing new or additional licensing requirements for drug and alcohol providers; new or additional drug and alcohol staff credentialing requirements; new or additional drug and alcohol counselor staffing ratios; and new or major programmatic changes and requirements imposed on drug and alcohol facilities. HB 1995 was drafted in response to requirements that go well beyond ASAM Criteria and are being implemented by DDAP as part of its transition to the ASAM Criteria.
RCPA supports the commonwealth’s transition to ASAM Criteria but does not support the overreaching Pennsylvania-specific mandates. RCPA today issued a press release supporting HB 1995.
In a related matter, on Thursday, October 28, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania will hear the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania’s (DASPOP’s) lawsuit against DDAP and the Department of Human Service in its bid to stop the ASAM transition.
Contact Jason Snyder, Director of RCPA’s Drug and Alcohol Division, with any questions.