Markwayne Mullin Seeks to Update Law on Substance Abuse Records
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), one of only four Native Americans currently serving in the House, is aiming to remove decades-old regulations preventing physicians from knowing their patients’ addiction treatment histories. He introduced bipartisan legislation last week to adjust a 1975 law that says you need patient consent before releasing their personal health information to family members, caregivers, and other parties. The Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act, which Mullin introduced with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), essentially would allow the medical community to utilize substance use disorder treatment records in the same manner as all other medical records. It would ensure that medical providers have access to the full medical history of patients suffering from substance use disorders. The bill also incorporates language to guard against unauthorized invasions of patient privacy, discriminatory activities, and would also authorize strong enforcement penalties and breach notification requirements for these transgressions. “It’s time that we stop stigmatizing those struggling with opioid abuse and give physicians the tools they need to help their patients,” Mullin said. “Mental health and physical health have been treated in a silo for too long. Our bill breaks down those barriers so the doctor can treat the whole patient.” More here.