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Is Addiction Treatment Confidential?
It is important to consider the quality of addiction treatment. Confidential services are sought after by many since addiction is an issue which is extremely personal. Many recovering addicts want to control who is allowed to learn about their situation. Therefore, it is important to become familiar with privacy and confidentiality guidelines prior to entering a facility for treatment.
Rehab Confidentiality Agreements
Every rehab facility must provide confidentiality to their clients. When a patient enters rehab they will be required to share a considerable amount of information about themselves, as this will be needed by the staff in order to provide effective treatment. However, under no circumstances are staff members allowed to reveal this information to others unless it is required for medical reasons. New rehab patients will be required to undergo an intake interview, after which they will be provided a confidentiality agreement. This document will go over the rights that the patients have, and the rehab staff members will need to sign it.
A number of rehab treatment facilities specifically market themselves as being confidential. The reason for this is because these institutions cater to prominent people such as celebrities and high net worth individuals. It isn’t unusual for these patients to enter rehab under an assumed name where they then receive treatment along with 5 star amenities.
Privacy is the Patient’s Legal Right
Patients who are entering a rehab facility in the U.S. are protected under a law called HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Created in 1996, this law establishes the specific rights that patients have in regards to the data healthcare providers collect from them, and how this data is used.
The purpose of HIPAA is to ensure that patients receive privacy whenever they get medical treatment, and the law also includes rehab services. Many drug addicts, especially those who are famous, may be reluctant to receive treatment precisely because they are concerned about the consequences of their information reaching the general public. In particular, HIPAA requires rehab centers to enact security procedures to protect patient data, restrict the number of people who have access to the information and instruct employees in the importance and method of maintaining the privacy of patients. They are also required to provide a document to each patient which lists their responsibilities in this regard.
How Treatment Facilities can use Patient Data
There are a number of ways rehab facilities use patient data in a manner that does not compromise their privacy agreement. This information may be shared internally for treatment purposes and provided to government agencies or healthcare personnel in the event of an emergency. If the situation warrants it, a rehab facility may also provide patient data to law enforcement, but this must be done carefully and for specific situations. A judge can also force a rehab facility to open patient records if it is connected to a court case in any way. With these exceptions, rehab treatment centers must follow HIPAA guidelines at all times.