When you live with addiction, getting treatment is the most crucial step you can take to overcome the addiction and regain control of your life and health. Despite the severe, sometimes life-threatening consequences of substance abuse and addiction, there are many reasons people may not wish to seek treatment.
Privacy concerns can top the list of reasons someone may not get the help they need to overcome addiction. The stigma surrounding addiction may make people uncomfortable with the thought of their family, friends, teachers, or employers knowing they are in rehab for drug or alcohol addiction.
Federal laws protect people’s health information and allow them to keep all medical care private. The most familiar is likely to be the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
But what does HIPAA actually protect? And how does the law protect people’s privacy rights during rehab?
Learn more about HIPAA and other measures to protect people’s privacy and rehab confidentiality. If you or someone you love require addiction treatment, reach out to the Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment team today to learn about our programs.
What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is a federal law passed in 1996. This important federal law protects sensitive patient health information from being shared without a patient’s consent.
HIPAA was initially developed to improve the portability and accountability of health insurance coverage for people who had left a job and were planning to start another. But the law evolved over time and now includes measures to protect the security and privacy of all Protected Health Information (PHI) contained in patients’ medical records.
Protected Health Information is information that allows a patient to be identified. It includes:
- Health status
- Location of medical services
- Payment methods used
HIPAA and rehab protects these and other data related to a person’s medical care, including participation in mental health and addiction treatment programs. However, if people want to share information about their health care or medical treatments, they can choose to do so.
Can I Go to Rehab Confidentially?
There are several measures in place to protect your privacy rights during rehab. First, your health information is protected by HIPAA and rehab. This means your identifying information, the treatments and medical procedures you receive, and your reason for seeking treatment will all be kept confidential.
There is additional protection for people being treated for a substance use disorder (SUD). The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 42 Part 2 provides additional privacy protection and addresses concerns about SUD treatment being disclosed during domestic and criminal cases. This regulation states that SUD treatment information can not be disclosed without a patient’s consent.
Addiction treatment centers take great care with their patient’s information because disclosing health information without explicit consent is a crime. During admission to a treatment facility, the staff is required to provide written information about HIPAA. You will be asked to sign a form stating that you have received this information and understand your rights.
Choosing to Share Your Information
In many cases, people may choose to share their health information with others outside their treatment team. Some choose to allow their friends and family to speak with their treatment team to give and receive information or updates about treatment progress.
If you choose to give others permission to discuss your treatment, you will be asked to sign consent forms. Consent forms specify who can receive information about your care. These forms also detail how much and what type of information you are allowing to be shared.
If patients do not sign consent forms to disclose this information, no one–family, spouse, friends, or employers–will be given any information about the patient. Staff members will not even verify your presence in the facility. These measures allow people to keep their time in rehab strictly confidential.
HIPAA and rehab also protects the information you share with your doctors and other treatment team members. You may be honest with your providers about your drug and alcohol use without fearing legal consequences or the risk of losing your job.
Get The Care You Need and Deserve
Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.
Do I Need Addiction Treatment?
Living with an untreated drug or alcohol addiction can put you at risk of many severe, sometimes life-threatening consequences. Your short and long-term health and safety are at risk, and your addiction worsens each day. It’s important to get the help you need to overcome this condition and regain control of your life.
The first step to getting help is recognizing that you need it. Here are some signs that you or someone you love needs treatment for substance abuse or addiction:
- You spend a lot of time thinking about, using, or recovering from using drugs and alcohol
- You isolate, neglect hobbies, or only spend time with others who use drugs and alcohol
- You neglect your responsibilities at home, school, or work because of your substance use
- You want to stop but feel like you can’t
- You need to use substances more frequently or in greater amounts to get the same effects
- You experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using or cut back
- You face legal or financial trouble related to your substance use
With the right treatment and support, you can learn to manage your addiction and cope with its symptoms. You can avoid relapse and develop healthy habits that support your new, sober lifestyle.
Learn More About How HIPAA Protects Your Privacy Rights During Rehab
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- Specializes in outpatient services with a focus on substance abuse
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- Holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling
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