WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) released the following statement after the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finalized a rule allowing patients’ substance abuse records to be shared for billing and operational purposes:

“I’m encouraged by this final rule that improves billing and streamlines operations within the health care system,” Mullin said.  “However, the real need is for doctors to have access to these records before treating their patients.  We cannot expect doctors to safely treat a patient with only half of their medical history, yet under current law that is exactly what they are expected to do.  I want to thank SAMHSA for their efforts to update this outdated law and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to modernize this process and ensure doctors have the information they need to deliver the best care possible for their patients.”

Congressman Mullin is the lead sponsor of H.R. 3545, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act, which would give doctors access to patients’ substance abuse records for the sake of preventing tragic overdoses and improving patient safety. 

On January 18, 2017, SAMHSA published a final rule (82 FR 6052) to provide greater flexibility in disclosing patient identifying information within the health care system while continuing to address the need to protect the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records.

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