A proposal that would allow patients being treated for addiction to consent to disclose their records to the healthcare system affiliated with their provider is spurring a debate about privacy, according to NPR.
The proposal, from the Department of Health and Human Services, would update current privacy guidelines, which last received a meaningful revision in 1987, before electronic medical records were widespread and integrated.
Advocates on both sides agree that protecting privacy of people being treated for substance use is very important. If the information becomes public, a person’s work and family life may be affected. The revelation may have legal consequences, including arrest, prosecution and jail. Some people may avoid seeking help because they fear others will find out.