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Confidentiality, HIPAA, and Patient Rights During Rehab

People living with drug and alcohol addiction may face barriers when seeking treatment. One of the most significant barriers is the stigma of addiction. People with addiction may fear judgment from others, worry about losing their job, or worry about how people will perceive them as a parent.

Seeking addiction treatment is likely the most important decision you’ll ever make. There are laws in place that protect your privacy and keep your treatment records confidential. Understanding the protections in place and how your private information will be safeguarded may help you feel more comfortable and confident when seeking the help you need to recover from addiction.

Contact the Mandala Healing Center admissions team to learn more about protecting your privacy during rehab or explore our holistic treatment programs.

Why is Confidentiality Important During Rehab?

There are many reasons people want to keep information about addiction treatment confidential. They include:

  • Shame about their addiction or behaviors while intoxicated
  • Fear of losing a job
  • Worry that they may lose custody of the children
  • Fear of legal consequences

Getting help to overcome an addiction is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. It’s critical that people feel confident that they can disclose information about their substance abuse only if they want–and when they feel ready to do so.

Confidentiality during rehab allows people to engage in the treatment process without worrying about what others may think. It allows people to be in control of their private information and to share only what they are ready to with others.

Understanding Consent During Rehab

Federal laws and regulations protect a patient’s records during substance abuse treatment. Every aspect of your privacy is protected by federal laws–even your presence in a treatment facility.

Treatment facility staff take precautions to protect their patients’ identities and information. They may not disclose any information about patients without written consent.

Patients may allow their treatment team to share information by providing written, signed consent forms. You will have the option to sign consent forms for family members, loved ones, and other medical and mental health providers.

If you choose to sign a consent form for a family member or loved one, that person will be allowed to discuss your treatment progress with staff members, including doctors, counselors, and others. Signing a consent form for a medical or mental health provider allows your treatment team to share records and consult with them throughout your time in rehab.

Consent forms allow you to customize the information you would like your treatment team to share. You can choose what type of information your team will disclose, and you will have the right to retract or change a consent form at any time during or after rehab.

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also called HIPAA, is a federal law prohibiting sharing of sensitive health information without consent. This law protects the privacy and confidentiality of a patient’s information, including:

  • Demographic information
  • Location of care
  • Type of health care received
  • Health status
  • Payment method

HIPAA protects sensitive health information at every stage of a person’s treatment, including storage in online medical records and during the insurance billing process. This law protects patient privacy and prevents treatment facilities, individual providers, and insurance companies from sharing information with outside entities or people.

HIPAA protects your information from being shared with anyone else, including your family members, existing medical providers, employers, or others. It allows you, the patient, to control who has access to your private information at every step during rehab and beyond.

Substance Abuse Treatment and Patients’ Rights

Doctors and healthcare systems are required to protect patients’ confidentiality and gain written consent before sharing any information about a person’s treatment. Doctors and other medical providers care about their patients’ rights and take many steps to ensure ultimate confidentiality.

You may share information about your substance abuse with your doctor and treatment team without worrying that they will share it. You can also be assured that your doctor cannot give information about your drug and alcohol use to other organizations, including the police, family members, or other medical providers. Even if you disclose that you have participated in illegal activities while using drugs and alcohol, your doctor is prohibited from sharing that information with anyone else.

Similarly, your treatment team and medical providers cannot “force” you to participate in treatment. If you have a psychiatric emergency, your doctor may be able to order an assessment to ensure your safety, but they cannot mandate that you seek drug and alcohol abuse treatment.

Your doctor and other care providers take confidentiality very seriously. They will ensure that your information and privacy are protected at each step of recovery so that you can confidently engage in treatment.

Get Help Today

The Mandala Healing Center is committed to treating each person as a whole, integrating a healthy lifestyle that will help our patients truly heal from the inside out. At the core of healing is exceptional clinical care. Our dynamic addiction treatment methods provide a foundation for life-long recovery by addressing the underlying causes of suffering in today’s families. Our patients are empowered to reclaim their lives and restore their health, free from addiction and substance misuse. To learn more about our treatment programs or find help for yourself or a loved one, please call now.