Monday, May 14, 2018

NAMA RECOVERY STATEMENT TO OPPOSE THE OVERDOSE PREVENTION AND PATIENT SAFETY ACT (HR 3545)


National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contacts Persons: 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Carmen Pearman-Arlt, President, carlt@porterstarke.org
Phone/Fax: 1.212.595.NAMA  (1-212-595-62620

For Release
May 14, 2018

The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery) has been the premier voice for persons receiving Medication Assisted Treatment since 1988. MAT has been disparaged as a “substitute drug” by those who ignore the positive benefits that it has clearly brought to society. These attitudes negatively impact opiate treatment programs (OTPs) in a variety of ways, but it is the patients themselves who are particularly stigmatized and harmed. The atmosphere will not change as long as there is no organization or formal mechanism for patients receiving Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT i.e. methadone and buprenorphine) to voice their own needs and to form a strong unified public presence on their own behalf. NAMA Recovery actively responds to the issues that affect the daily lives of MAT patients and work towards the day when they can take pride in their accomplishments.


NAMA Recovery steadfastly oppose the undoing of 42 CFR Part 2 confidentiality protections and oppose the dismantling of the existing Public Health Law- which authorizes 42 CFR Part 2. 

NAMA Recovery is opposed to the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (HR 3545) and the exceptions it would make to the current public health law related to confidentiality of our health information. MAT patients need to know who and where their medical information goes for purposes of treatment, payment, health care operations or for any other purpose.

In our judgement, the majority has been lobbied hard by people in the insurance industry, hospital associations and vendors of electronic record keeping systems. They want the core protections to be removed for their own interests and they have no concern about the lives of patients.

We are asking everyone that cares about MAT to write a letter.  The template is below and it should only take a few minutes.  The email addresses to send the letter to follow the letter. If you do not want to give your name then use an alias like Mary Methadone or Tommy Treatment and add:

Example:
Signed

Mary Methadone
I cannot sign my real name because I am afraid of the prejudice directed towards methadone (buprenorphine) patients.

[Date]
[Your Name or Organization]
[Address]
[Address]
Representative Greg Walden
Chairman
Energy and Commerce Committee
2185 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Frank Pallone, Jr.
Ranking Membero sent it to
U.S. House of Representatives
Energy and Commerce Committee
237 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC  20515

RE: Opposition to H.R. 3545 - “Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act” and Support for Other Legislative Proposals to Preserve Confidentiality and Coordinate Care

Dear Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Pallone:

[I/Organization name] write to express our opposition to H.R. 3545, the “Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act.”  In the midst of the worst opioid epidemic in our nation’s history, we must do everything possible to increase the number of people who seek treatment, but H.R. 3545 would do the opposite.  By reducing privacy protections for individuals receiving substance use disorder (“SUD”) treatment to allow disclosures and re-disclosures of SUD information without patient consent to a wide range of health care providers and plans and others with whom they work, H.R. 3545 would discourage people from entering care out of fear that their treatment records will be used against them in many harmful ways. 
[Describe who you are and the importance of confidentiality and patient consent to you.  If possible, cite examples of its benefits, particularly as they relate to accessing and staying in SUD treatment and/or protecting against discrimination and other negative consequences of unauthorized disclosures of SUD information.
[Here are some examples of reasons you can give for opposing this bill].
·        The heightened protections for substance use disorder records in the federal confidentiality law, 42 U.S.C. § 290dd-2 and its regulations at 42 CFR Part 2 (collectively known as “Part 2”), are as critically important today as ever.  They support care coordination while maintaining patient confidentiality to help ensure that people enter SUD treatment.
·         SAMHSA’s amendments to Part 2 by in 2017 and 2018 have made it much easier to facilitate (with patient consent) the sharing of health information between SUD and other health care providers in electronic health information systems and coordinated care settings. Unfortunately, many in the health care system do not know what these rules allow, and many SUD treatment programs do not have adequate computer systems to enable them to maintain electronic health records.
·        Patients in substance abuse disorder treatment should retain the power to decide when and to whom their records are disclosed, given the continued prevalence of discrimination in our society.
For these reasons, I/we] oppose H.R. 3545 and instead support the following bills that are critical to preserving patient confidentiality and coordinating care between various health providers:
·         The Senate’s bipartisan ‘‘Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018:’’ Provides model programs and materials for training health providers and compliance staff on the permitted uses and disclosures of substance use disorder information, and training family members and patients on their rights to protect and obtain substance use disorder information.
·         H.R. 3331 – Introduced by Representative Lynn Jenkins and co-sponsored by Representative Doris Matsui:  Provides needed incentive payments to substance use disorder and behavioral health providers to obtain certified electronic health record technology.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
[NAME]
[TITLE]
[AFFILIATION]
 Your correspondence should be e-mailed to the Minority House Energy and Commerce Committee staffer, Waverly Gordon, (Waverly.Gordon@mail.house.gov) and the Majority House Energy and Commerce Committee staffer,  Kristen Shatynski (Kristen.Shatynski@mail.house.gov).
Resources
Patient Confidentiality Campaign Launched in 42 CFR Part 2 Battle by Alison Knopf, Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, October 2, 2017  



Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nominations Open for the Richard Lane/Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award


National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contacts Persons: 
Carmen Pearman-Arlt, President, carlt@porterstarke.org 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 1.212.595.NAMA  (1-212-595-62620)

For Release
July 30, 2017

Richard Lane was a long-term heroin user who, upon release from prison in 1967, was instrumental in establishing one of the Nation’s first methadone treatment programs. In 1974, he became the Executive Director of Man Alive and later served as Vice President of the American Methadone Treatment Association (now AATOD) and as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maryland.  Mr. Lane was a passionate advocate for methadone treatment and, by disclosing his own treatment experiences, provided inspiration to patients and colleagues alike.   

Robert Holden was also a recovering heroin user, who later became the Director of PIDARC, an outpatient methadone treatment program in the District of Columbia.  He was a friend of Richard Lane and succeeded Richard Lane’s term of office as the Vice President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.  This award was established in 1995 and recognizes extraordinary achievements in patient advocacy.   

The following criteria should be applied in making your selection:             

·        Only one (1) nominee can be submitted to the Conference Awards Committee. There may be a number of nominees however only one (1) “consensus” nominee may receive this honor.             

·        The nominee must have been involved in the field of methadone advocacy for a period of five (5) years.

·        The nominee must have made meaningful and consistent contributions, which have had a significant impact on opioid treatment within a state or region of the United States. 

·         For each nominee a Nomination Form must be completed and submitted with two (2) Letters of Support. The Nomination Form is attached to this announcement and can also be downloaded from the NAMA Recovery website   http://www.methadone.org.   

 
NAMA Recovery will be responsible for collecting all the submissions for nomination and selecting a committee of advocates that will decide on the final candidate.  The Candidate’s Name, Nomination Form and at least two (2) Letters of Support describing the nominee’s achievements will be submitted to the AATOD Conference Awards Committee for the final approval. 

The deadline for Submissions is February 26, 2016.  The completed Nomination Form along with at least two (2) Letters of Support should be sent to Joycelyn Woods at edirector@methadone.org.                                          

 
Previous Winners of the Award

        1995, Arizona                        Richard Lane
        2001, St. Louis                      Joycelyn Woods 
        2007, San Diego                    Anthony Scro 
        2009, New York                     Walter Ginter 
        2010, Chicago                        Lisa Mojer Torres 
        2012, Las Vegas                     Roxanne Baker 
        2013, Philadelphia                  Ira Marion
        2015, Atlanta                         Claude Hopkins
        2016, Baltimore                      Brenda Davis

This Award will be bestowed upon the recipient during the Awards Banquet Ceremony  on Monday, March 12, 2018 during AATOD’s next National Conference which will convene  at the New York Marriott Marquis located in the heart of Times Square.   

The recipient will be provided with a roundtrip Coach Class airfare, up to  two (2) nights in the hotel and Conference Registration.   

 
Deadline:           September 1, 2017

Email Nominations To: Joycelyn Woods edirector@methadone.org

If you have any questions about the award contact Joycelyn Woods at edirector@methadone.org or by telephone at 917-846-9983

Download the Submission Forms 
Download the Press Release 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Congratulations Brenda Davis 2016 Recipient of the Lane/Holden Patient Advocacy Award


National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contacts Persons: 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director/Acting President, edirector@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 1.212.595.NAMA  (1-212-595-62620

For Release
May 31, 2016

NAMA-R extends well-earned congratulations to Brenda Davis this year’s recipient of the Lane/Holden Patient Advocacy Award.

Brenda Davis has been a model patient in the Methadone Maintenance Program at the Mount Sinai /Beth Israel Program for approximately three decades.  For approximately 20 years she has been employed as a patient advocate for the thousands of patients treated in the various clinics.  During this period Ms. Davis has acquired a comprehensive background to accomplish her job duties. She has also assumed duties as treasurer of NAMA Recovery and was instrumental in establishing the MARS Project in the Mount Sinai/ Beth Israel Methadone program.

She is known for her knowledge of the intricate regulations and procedures of the clinics. She has mastered the medical and social aspects of methadone maintenance including: stabilization, side effects, and drug interactions; the major health concerns of patients including pregnancy, pain, infectious diseases; and the personal and social issues including the pervasive stigma which patients encounter in the course of their treatment and lives.

Brenda Davis is articulate and is capable of communicating intelligently with patients, physicians, counselors and administrative personnel in the program. She has attended conferences and participated in policy meetings with various governmental agencies including OASAS. The administration of the Mount Sinai/ Beth Israel Methadone program has also been impressed with the breath of her knowledge and her capacity to help settle problems which arise in the clinics between patients and the staff, issues that arise in the patients’ family, and criminal justice matters. Ms. Davis is a strong willed woman and takes her responsibility to speak for MAT patients as a sense of duty.

Requirements

·        Only one “consensus” nominee can be submitted to the Conference Awards Committee to receive this honor.   

·        The nominee must have been involved in the field of methadone advocacy for a period of five years.

·        The nominee must have made meaningful and consistent contributions, which have had a significant impact on opioid treatment within a state or region of the United States. 

This Award will be bestowed upon the recipient during the Awards Banquet Ceremony on November 1, 2016 during AATOD’s next National Conference which will convene at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.   

History of the Award

This award was established in 1995 and recognizes extraordinary achievements in patient advocacy.   

Richard Lane was a long-term heroin user who, upon release from prison in 1967, was instrumental in establishing one of the Nation’s first methadone treatment programs. In 1974, he became the Executive Director of Man Alive and later served as Vice President of the American Methadone Treatment Association (now AATOD) and as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maryland.  Mr. Lane was a passionate advocate for methadone treatment and, by disclosing his own treatment experiences, provided inspiration to patients and colleagues alike.   

Robert Holden was also a recovering heroin user, who later became the Director of PIDARC, an outpatient methadone treatment program in the District of Columbia.  He was a friend of Richard Lane and succeeded Richard Lane’s term of office as the Vice President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence. 

    Previous Winners of the Award

1995, Arizona                 Richard Lane                                
2001, St. Louis               Joycelyn Woods                                
2007, San Diego             Anthony Scro                                
2009, New York             Walter Ginter                                
2010, Chicago                 Lisa Mojer Torres                                
2012, Las Vegas              Roxanne Baker   
2013, Philadelphia          Ira Marion
2015, Atlanta                  Claude Hopkins

Download PDF
 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Proposed Rule - 42 CFR Part 2 - Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Regulations

  

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Attn: SAMHSA 4162-20
5600 Fishers Lane
Room 13N02B
Rockville, MD 20857

 RE:      Proposed Rule - 42 CFR Part 2 - Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Regulations (SAMHSA-4162-20) (Published Federal Register 2-9-2016: p 6987 -7024)

To Whom It May Concern:

Since its beginning methadone treatment has been demonstrated to be the most effective treatment for narcotic addiction, resulting in the termination of heroin use and of criminal behavior. In spite of this success, methadone treatment is often disparaged as a “substitute drug” by those who ignore the positive benefits that it has clearly brought to society. These attitudes negatively impact on opiate treatment programs in a variety of ways, but it is the methadone patients themselves who are particularly stigmatized and harmed. With the introduction of buprenorphine it was hoped that the public would gain a greater understanding of opiate addiction and treatment. However, this has not occurred and rather than improving the situation buprenorphine patients experience the same discrimination and stigma as patients receiving methadone.  The atmosphere will not change as long as there is no organization or formal mechanism for patients receiving Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT i.e. methadone and buprenorphine) to voice their own needs and to form a strong unified public presence on their own behalf. The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery) is an organization of methadone and buprenorphine patients, healthcare professionals, friends, and associates working together for greater public understanding and acceptance of MAT. NAMA Recovery has 25 chapters across the United States and 15 international affiliate chapters from England to Denmark and India to Australia, providing information, education and advocacy support to patients receiving MAT. As the premier national advocacy organization for MAT patients NAMA Recovery will actively respond to the issues that affect the daily lives of MAT patients and work towards the day when they can take pride in their accomplishments.

The NPRM for 42 CFR Part 2 recognizes that the regulation was enacted out of great concern about the potential abuse that disclosure of substance use information can create for persons in treatment and that the release of substance use information can cause individuals with substance use disorders to not seek needed treatment. When confidentiality is not maintained, the trust of the patients will be lost and many will not remain in treatment while those who do continue in treatment will have lost the trust in the clinic and the staff which is indispensable to successful patient treatment.

While NAMA-R recognizes that SAMHSA is attempting to create an appropriate balance between preserving the confidentiality rights of substance use disorder patients and the sharing of electronic health information we believe that currently there are not enough technologic safe guards in place.  In addition the fines for any violation of the NPRM like the current rule are very low and would be meaningless to many institutions.

Health information technology offers a greater opportunity to promote the health of individuals and the health of community.  However, sacrificing the wellbeing of a person seeking help for a substance use disorder in the name of convenience or administrative efficiency is not a constructive way to achieve it for either the person or their community when individuals avoid treatment for fear of retribution and discrimination.

NAMA-R recommends that changes in 42 CFR Part 2 be temporarily set aside until the technology is available to protect persons with a substance use disorder.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Joycelyn Woods, M.A., CMA
Executive Director

Download PDF
 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Nominations Open for the Richard Lane/Robert Holden Patient Advocacy


National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contact Persons: 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, Acting President edirector@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 1.212.595.NAMA  (1-212-595-62620)

For Release
January 29, 2016

 
Nominations Open for the
Richard Lane/Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award

Richard Lane was a long-term heroin user who, upon release from prison in 1967, was  instrumental in establishing one of the Nation’s first methadone treatment programs. In  1974, he became the Executive Director of Man Alive and later served as Vice President  of the American Methadone Treatment Association (now AATOD) and as Vice  Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maryland.  Mr. Lane  was a passionate advocate for methadone treatment and, by disclosing his own treatment  experiences, provided inspiration to patients and colleagues alike.   

Robert Holden was also a recovering heroin user, who later became the Director of  PIDARC, an outpatient methadone treatment program in the District of Columbia.  He  was a friend of Richard Lane and succeeded Richard Lane’s term of office as the Vice  President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.  This  award was established in 1995 and recognizes extraordinary achievements in patient  advocacy.   

The following criteria should be applied in making your selection:             

·        Only one (1) nominee can be submitted to the Conference Awards Committee. There may be a number of nominees however only one (1) “consensus” nominee may receive this honor.             

·        The nominee must have been involved in the field of methadone advocacy for a period of five (5) years.

·        The nominee must have made meaningful and consistent contributions, which have had a significant impact on opioid treatment within a state or region of the United States. 

·        For each nominee a Nomination Form must be completed and submitted with two (2) Letters of Support. The Nomination Form is attached to this announcement and can also be downloaded from the NAMA Recovery website            http://www.methadone.org.   

NAMA Recovery will be responsible for collecting all the submissions for nomination and selecting a committee of advocates that will decide on the final candidate.  The  Candidate’s Name, Nomination Form and at least two (2) Letters of Support describing  the nominee’s achievements will be submitted to the AATOD Conference Awards  Committee for the final approval. 

The deadline for Submissions is February 26, 2016.  The completed Nomination Form along with at least two (2) Letters of Support should be sent to Joycelyn Woods at  edirector@methadone.org.                                          
 
        Previous Winners of the Award

   1995, Arizona              Richard Lane                                
   2001, St. Louis            Joycelyn Woods                                
   2007, San Diego          Anthony Scro                                
   2009, New York          Walter Ginter                                
   2010, Chicago              Lisa Mojer Torres                                
   2012, Las Vegas          Roxanne Baker   
   2013, Philadelphia       Ira Marion
   2015, Atlanta               Claude Hopkins

This Award will be bestowed upon the recipient during the Awards Banquet Ceremony  on November 1, 2016 during AATOD’s next National Conference which will convene  at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.   

The recipient will be provided with a roundtrip Coach Class airfare, up to  two (2) nights in the hotel and Conference Registration.   
      
Deadline:           February 26, 2016

Email Nominations To: 
Joycelyn Woods    edirector@methadone.org

If you have any questions about the award contact Joycelyn Woods at  edirector@methadone.org or by telephone at 917-846-9983

           
Download Press Release
Download Forms in Word
Download Form in PDF

Friday, August 08, 2014

Nominations Open for the Richard Lane/Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award


National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release
 
Contacts Persons: 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 1.212.595.NAMA  (1-212-595-6262)


Richard Lane was a long-term heroin user who, upon release from prison in 1967, was  instrumental in establishing one of the Nation’s first methadone treatment programs. In  1974, he became the Executive Director of Man Alive and later served as Vice President  of the American Methadone Treatment Association (now AATOD) and as Vice  Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maryland.  Mr. Lane  was a passionate advocate for methadone treatment and, by disclosing his own treatment  experiences, provided inspiration to patients and colleagues alike.   

Robert Holden was also a recovering heroin user, who later became the Director of  PIDARC, an outpatient methadone treatment program in the District of Columbia.  He  was a friend of Richard Lane and succeeded Richard Lane’s term of office as the Vice  President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence. 

This award was established in 1995 and recognizes extraordinary achievements in patient advocacy.   

The following criteria should be applied in making your selection:             

·        Only one (1) nominee can be submitted to the Conference Awards Committee. There may be a number of nominees however only one (1) “consensus” nominee may receive this honor.             

·        The nominee must have been involved in the field of methadone advocacy for a period of five (5) years.
 
·        The nominee must have made meaningful and consistent contributions, which have had a significant impact on opioid treatment within a state or region of the United States. 

·        For each nominee a Nomination Form must be completed and submitted with two (2) Letters of Support. The Nomination Form is attached to this announcement and can also be downloaded from the NAMA Recovery website            http://www.methadone.org.   

NAMA Recovery will be responsible for collecting all the submissions for nomination and selecting a committee of advocates that will decide on the final candidate.  The  Candidate’s Name, Nomination Form and at least two (2) Letters of Support describing  the nominee’s achievements will be submitted to the AATOD Conference Awards  Committee for the final approval. 

The deadline for Submissions is September 12, 2014.  The completed Nomination Form along with at least two (2) Letters of Support should be sent to Joycelyn Woods at  edirector@methadone.org.                                          

Previous Winners of the Award
 
1995, Arizona                   Richard Lane                                
2001, St. Louis                 Joycelyn Woods                                
2007, San Diego               Anthony Scro                                
2009, New York               Walter Ginter                                
2010, Chicago                   Lisa Mojer Torres                                
2012, Las Vegas               Roxanne Baker   
2013, Philadelphia            Ira Marion

This Award will be bestowed upon the recipient during the Awards Banquet Ceremony  on March 31, 2015 during AATOD’s next National Conference which will convene  at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.   

The recipient will be provided with the following: a roundtrip Coach Class airfare, up to  two (2) nights in the hotel and Conference Registation.   

Deadline:           September 12, 2014

Email Nominations To:       
Joycelyn Woods    edirector@methadone.org

For questions about the award contact Joycelyn Woods at edirector@methadone.org or by telephone at 718-742-7804           

Download Nomination Forms
 
 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Tell SAMHSA Not To Violate Your Civil Right to Confidentiality


National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release
 
Contact Persons: 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212.595.NAMA  (212-595-62620)

Most hospitals and medical centers now have in operation what is called electronic health records or Health Information Technology (HIT).  Basically this means that doctors in their private offices, medical centers, pharmacies and state prescription monitoring programs all have access to your health records.   Records in methadone programs are excluded because of the Confidentiality Regulations (42 CFR Part 2).  For any information to leave the program a patient must sign a release that requires the request to be exact.

It is proposed that methadone programs be connected to the health information system theat would give any medical professional access to your drug treatment information. In fact medical professionals are not the only ones that could access your information either legally or illegally.

IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?

Do you want the right to develop a relationship with a medical professional and then if they are objective tell them you are enrolled in a methadone program?  Do you want the right to protect your treatment from insurance companies, employers, criminal justice systems – actually everyone?

Professionals and Policy Makers do not understand the stigma and prejudice that especially methadone patients experience in their daily lives.  Very often if you tell a doctor you are a methadone patient you get a lecture to get off methadone because it is bad for you with no medical care or treatment for what you came there for.  This is what they need to hear.  Your experiences when you try to get medical care outside of the program and how you feel that Confidentiality is Your Civil Right..

For information about 42 CFR Part 2 go to:                     http://www.methadone.org
                                                                                    http://www.samhsa.gov/healthprivacy

 

Mail Comments to: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20857, Room 5-1011.

Send By:  June 25, 2014 (if you mail after they should still accept it)
 
Downloads
 
Read how the special confidentiality regulations came about The Case of People vs Newman
 
From Dr. Robert Newman's book about the New York City program this chapter is how the confidentiality regulations were created and put into effect.
 
Newman, Robert G. In:The Case of People vs Newman. (Chapter 6) Methadone Treatment in Narcotic Addiction: Program Management, Findings, and Prospects for the Future. New York: Academic Press; 1977: pp. 62.
 
 
Press Release Tell SAMHSA Not To Violate Your Civil Right Confidentiality.


TIPS
What to Write to SAMHSA

1. Don't write a long letter. A simple paragraph to say that it is important that the confidentiality remain as they currently are.
 
2. You can tell them about an incident or situation like what usually happens when a doctor finds out you are a methadone patient.

3. It does not have to be typed. A hand written letter on legal pad paper is fine and often better because it means that the/a average patient has taken the time to say how important the confidentiality regulations.

4. You do not have to sign your name.  You can sign the letter as "A Patient" and below it enter a P.S. and say "I am afraid to sign my name because of the discrimination against methadone patients."

Example

Dear SAMHSA:

I understand that you are considering changing the confidentiality regulations for methadone treatment. It is important that the confidentiality regulations remain as they are and not be changed.

I am a methadone patient and I am concerned what could happen if my status as a methadone patient were known.  I know that I would have trouble getting medical care because doctors always blame any medical problem on the methadone. Doctors and nurses don't understand methadone and they tell me to get off.

I am also concerned that employers and schools will be able to find out that I am a methadone patient if changes to the confidentiality regulations happen.

Please don't change the confidentiality regulations that has protected me and all patients from the discrimination against us.

Thank you.
 
 A Patient*

*  I am afraid to sign my name because of the discrimination against methadone patients.
 

What is important is that you write.

 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Notice of SAMHSA Listening Session Confidentiality Regulations 42 CFR part 2

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
 
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

SAMHSA the federal agency in charge of methadone treatment is scheduling a Listening Session.  They want to hear from professionals and especially patients about Confidentiality and your treatment.

Most hospitals and medical centers now have in operation what is called electronic health records or Health Information Technology (HIT).  Basically this means that doctors in their private offices and medical centers all have access to your health records.   Records in methadone programs are excluded because of the Confidentiality Regulations (42 CFR part 2).  For any information to leave the program a patient must sign a release.

However if methadone programs were connected to the health information system then any medical professional would have access to your drug treatment information.

IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?

Or do you want the right to develop a relationship with a medical professional and then if they are objective tell them you are enrolled in a methadone program.

Professionals and Policy Makers do not understand the stigma and prejudice that especially methadone patients experience when trying to access health care.  Very often if you tell a doctor you are a methadone patient you get a lecture to get off methadone because it is bad for you and no medical care or treatment for what you came for.  This is what they need to hear.  Your experiences when you try to get medical care outside of the program and you tell them you are a methadone patient.  The session is open to the public and you can join it on the internet.

   Date:                         June 11, 2014
   Time:                         9:30am – 4:30 pm

For information about 42 CFR part 2 and the Listening Session go to:
http://www.samhsa.gov/healthprivacy


Send Comments to: PrivacyRegulations@SAMHSA.hhs.gov  
 
Read the story of how the confidentiality regulations came about.

From Dr. Robert Newman's book about the New York City program and how the confidentiality regulations were created and put into effect.
 
From Newman, Robert G. In: Chapter 6. Methadone Treatment in Narcotic Addiction: Program Management, Findings, and Prospects for the Future. New York: Academic Press; 1977: pp. 62.