Confidentiality and the HIPPA Privacy Rule




General Information

Information regarding your health care and treatment, including payment from health care, is protected by two federal laws: the Confidentiality Law, 42, U.S.C. 290dd-2, 42 C.F.R. Part 2 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) 42 U.S.C. 1320 Et seq., 45 C.F.R Parts 160 & 164 (effective 4/14/03). Under these laws, Alcohol & Drug Services (ADS) may not say to a person outside ADS that you attend the program, nor may ADS disclose any information identifying you as an alcohol and drug abuser, or disclose any other protected information except as authorized by you or as permitted by federal law.


Generally, you must sign a written consent before Alcohol & Drug Services can share information with anyone outside of the agency.  However, federal law only permits ADS to disclose information without your written permission under the following circumstances:

  1. Pursuant to an agreement with a qualified service organizations or business associates who provide services to ADS (e.g. labs for urinalysis testing, records storage, etc.);
  2. To medical personnel in a medical emergency;
  3. As allowed by a court order;
  4. For research purposes, providing certain safeguards are met;
  5. To the appropriate authorities to report suspected child abuse or neglect;
  6. To law enforcement to report a crime committed or threat to commit a crime on ADS premises or against ADS personnel; and
  7. To oversight agencies in order to conduct audits or evaluation for utilization review or quality control purposes (e.g. accreditation, government agencies, etc.)


An additional exception to using or disclosing your protected health information without your consent would be for internal program communications.  An example of this would be when ADS staff disclose information about you to other staff members within the agency in order to deliver or coordinate your treatment services.


Before Alcohol & Drug Services can use or disclose any information about your health in any manner which is not described above, it must first obtain your specific written consent allowing it to make the disclosure.  Any such written consent may be revoked by you in writing, unless ADS has already taken action in reliance on the consent or authorization.

Your Rights

Alcohol & Drug Services may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits, but you have the right to request that we communicate with you by alternative means or at an alternative location.  Alcohol & Drug Services will accommodate such requests that are reasonable and will not request an explanation from you.


Under HIPAA regulations, you also have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information.  Alcohol & Drug Services is not required to agree to any restrictions you request, but if it does agree, then it is bound by that agreement and may not use or disclose any information which you have restricted, except as necessary in a medical emergency.  You also have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of your health related information made by Alcohol & Drug Services during the six years prior to your request.


You have the right to inspect and copy your own health information maintained by Alcohol & Drug Services, except to the extent that the information contains psychotherapy notes or information compiled for use in a civil, criminal or administrative proceeding or in other limited circumstances.  Under HIPAA, you also have the right to request that ADS amend health care information maintained in their records.  ADS requires that you make your request in writing and provide a reason to support the amendment request. (Please see ADS Policy 3.4 Right to Amend Medical Record for more information.)  You also have the right to receive a paper copy of this notice.


For further information concerning your confidentiality rights and how you may exercise those rights, please see your counselor or you may contact the Quality Improvement Director at the number listed below.


Alcohol & Drug Services’ Duties

Alcohol & Drug Services is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your health information.  Alcohol & Drug Services is required to abide by the terms of this notice and may not redisclose information it has received from other health care providers about you without your signed authorization and/or as allowable under Federal law.  Alcohol & Drug Services reserves the right to change terms of this notice and to make new notice provisions effective for all protected health information it maintains.  Your counselor will provide you with a copy of any revisions to this notice.


Complaints and Reporting Violations

Violation of 42 C.F.R. Part 2 is a reportable crime and may be reported to the United States Attorney for the judicial district in which the violation occurred or to the NC Department of Health and Human Services.  Clients participating in ADS methadone services may also report violations to the Food and Drug Administration or the State Methadone Authority.  In addition, complaints regarding violations of HIPAA privacy practices may be filed with the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (45 C.F.R. §160.306(a), (b)).   If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may also complain to Alcohol & Drug Services by filling out a Grievance Form which can be obtained from your counselor or found at the front desk.  Your grievance will be sent to the Quality Improvement Director who will contact you within 5 working days upon receipt of the form.  You will not be retaliated against for filing such a complaint.



For further information, contact the Director of Quality Improvement at 336.333.6860, ext. 265.


Effective Date

The effective date of this notice is April 14, 2003.



I hereby acknowledge that I have been notified, by written summary of both federal laws that protect my confidential health information and that this information is available to me at anytime upon my request.