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​SUD Confidentiality

Stakeholder Assessment of Pennsylvania’s SUD Confidentiality Laws and Regulations

In 2020, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) will survey stakeholders about Pennsylvania’s current confidentiality laws and regulations.  The agency wants to hear what partners think about requirements that control the sharing of information about people in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment programs or information about SUD in a person's health record.

Why is DDAP assessing SUD confidentiality?

Protecting people's confidentiality is a top priority for DDAP. But DDAP has also heard from many stakeholders that Pennsylvania's confidentiality requirements create challenges. DDAP wants to understand how these requirements:

  • Work well to protect people's privacy,
  • Create barriers for clients and service providers, and
  • Can be improved to make services better and more accessible.

Vital Strategies, a public health non-profit, is a partner on this assessment. The organization funds a staff in DDAP who will:

  • Survey and interview stakeholders,
  • Summarize stakeholder feedback in a report, and
  • Use the feedback to recommend ways DDAP can address challenges with confidentiality requirements

It is very important to DDAP that future actions to improve confidentiality laws and regulations must:

  • Protect the privacy of people living with SUD, and
  • Improve the quality of services to help people with SUD.

SUD Confidentiality Survey

In September 2020, DDAP finished collecting stakeholder feedback about Pennsylvania’s SUD confidentiality regulations – over 1,600 survey responses were received from stakeholders across the state.  Findings from the survey and stakeholder interviews are in the process of being summarized in a report expected to be released in early 2021.

Resources to understand SUD confidentiality in Pennsylvania

What are Pennsylvania's confidentiality requirements?

Read an overview manual of the state and federal laws and regulations developed by DDAP. You can also find each of them online:

View report written by George Washington University’s Health Information & the Law project. This report:

  • Describes the state's laws and regulations about disclosure of SUD information,
  • Explains policy gaps, conflicts, and areas of concern, and  
  • Shares some legal and policy options to address these challenges.

How do Pennsylvania's laws differ from other places?

View map that shows how Pennsylvania's rules are different from most other states.

If you would like more information, contact Alex Shirreffs at or 717-736-7486.