42 U.S. Code § 290dd-2 - Confidentiality of records
Records of the identity, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of any patient which are maintained in connection with the performance of any program or activity relating to substance abuse education, prevention, training, treatment, rehabilitation, or research, which is conducted, regulated, or directly or indirectly assisted by any department or agency of the United States shall, except as provided in subsection (e), be confidential and be disclosed only for the purposes and under the circumstances expressly authorized under subsection (b).
The content of any record referred to in subsection (a) may be disclosed in accordance with the prior written consent of the patient with respect to whom such record is maintained, but only to such extent, under such circumstances, and for such purposes as may be allowed under regulations prescribed pursuant to subsection (g).
Except as authorized by a court order granted under subsection (b)(2)(C), no record referred to in subsection (a) may be used to initiate or substantiate any criminal charges against a patient or to conduct any investigation of a patient.
The prohibitions of this section continue to apply to records concerning any individual who has been a patient, irrespective of whether or when such individual ceases to be a patient.
Any person who violates any provision of this section or any regulation issued pursuant to this section shall be fined in accordance with title 18.
Except as provided in subsection (h), the Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out the purposes of this section. Such regulations may contain such definitions, and may provide for such safeguards and procedures, including procedures and criteria for the issuance and scope of orders under subsection (b)(2)(C), as in the judgment of the Secretary are necessary or proper to effectuate the purposes of this section, to prevent circumvention or evasion thereof, or to facilitate compliance therewith.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, acting through the Under Secretary for Health, shall, to the maximum feasible extent consistent with their responsibilities under title 38, prescribe regulations making applicable the regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under subsection (g) to records maintained in connection with the provision of hospital care, nursing home care, domiciliary care, and medical services under such title 38 to veterans suffering from substance abuse. In prescribing and implementing regulations pursuant to this subsection, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, from time to time, consult with the Secretary of Health and Human Services in order to achieve the maximum possible coordination of the regulations, and the implementation thereof, which they each prescribe.
1998—Subsec. (e)(1), (2). Pub. L. 105–392 substituted “Uniformed Services” for “Armed Forces”.
1992—Pub. L. 102–405 substituted “Under Secretary for Health” for “Chief Medical Director” in subsec. (h).
Pub. L. 102–321 amended section generally, substituting provisions relating to confidentiality of records for provisions relating to admission of alcohol abusers and alcoholics to general hospitals and outpatient facilities.
Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 94–371, § 11(b), inserted “and outpatient facilities” after “hospitals”, and “or outpatient facility” after “hospital” wherever appearing, and substituted “shall issue regulations not later than December 31, 1976” for “is authorized to make regulations”.
Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 94–581 provided that subsec. (b)(2), which directed the Administrator of Veteran’s Affairs, through the Chief Medical Director, to prescribe regulations making applicable the regulations prescribed by the Secretary under subsec. (b)(1) to the provision of hospital care, nursing home care, domiciliary care, and medical services under title 38 to veterans suffering from alcohol abuse or alcoholism and to consult with the Secretary in order to achieve the maximum possible coordination of the regulations, and the implementation thereof, which they each prescribed, was superseded by section 4131 [now 7331] et seq. of Title 38, Veterans’ Benefits.
1974—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 93–282, in revising text, prohibited discrimination because of alcohol abuse, substituted provisions respecting eligibility for admission and treatment based on suffering from medical conditions for former provision based on medical need and ineligibility, because of discrimination, for support in any form from any program supported in whole or in part by funds appropriated to any Federal department or agency for former requirement for treatment by a general hospital which received Federal funds, and deleted prohibition against receiving Federal financial assistance for violation of section and for termination of Federal assistance on failure to comply, now incorporated in regulation authorization of subsec. (b) of this section.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 93–282 substituted provisions respecting issuance of regulations by the Secretary concerning enforcement procedures and suspension or revocation of Federal support and by the Administrator concerning applicable regulations for veterans, and for coordination of the respective regulations for former provisions respecting judicial review.
Amendment by Pub. L. 102–321 effective Oct. 1, 1992, with provision for programs providing financial assistance, see section 801(c), (d) of Pub. L. 102–321, set out as a note under section 236 of this title.
Pub. L. 93–282, title I, § 121(b), May 14, 1974, 88 Stat. 131, which directed Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs to submit to appropriate committees of House of Representatives and Senate a full report (1) on regulations (including guidelines, policies, and procedures thereunder) he had prescribed pursuant to section 321(b)(2) of Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970 [former 42 U.S.C. 290dd–2(b)(2)], (2) explaining bases for any inconsistency between such regulations and regulations of Secretary under section 321(b)(1) of such Act [42 U.S.C. 290dd–2(b)(1)], (3) on extent, substance, and results of his consultations with Secretary respecting prescribing and implementation of Administrator’s regulations, and (4) containing such recommendations for legislation and administrative actions as he determined were necessary and desirable, with Administrator to submit report not later than sixty days after effective date of regulations prescribed by Secretary under such section 321(b)(1) [42 U.S.C. 290dd–2(b)(1)], and to publish such report in Federal Register, was characterized by section 111(c)(5) of Pub. L. 94–581 as having been superseded by section 4134 [now 7334] of Title 38, Veterans’ Benefits.
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