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Data privacy law hurting opioid addicts, lawyer says

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PHOENIX — Perhaps a change in federal law could strike a blow against the opioid addiction crisis.

One law prohibits a patient’s treatment center and doctors to exchange the patient’s history of opioid abuse disorder.

“In order to remove these roadblocks, these barriers to treatment, we’re going to need an act of Congress,” said Melissa Soliz, an attorney with Coppersmith Brockelman Lawyers in Phoenix.

Soliz says a part of the Code of Federal Regulations — Title 42, Part 2 — was crafted in the 1970s to protect patients against discrimination.

That’s when she says addiction was treated as a personal failure, and not a health condition.

“And there were no such things as electronic health records, or integrated care for that matter,” Soliz said.

Soliz wants the regulation aligned with HIPAA’s more modern privacy protections.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) has introduced S. 1012: Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act. It has not been heard by a committee yet.

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