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​SUD Confidentiality

7.25.2022 Update*

On July 7, 2022 Governor Wolf signed Act 33 of 2022, which amends Act 63 of 1972 as it pertains to confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records. Act 33 incorporates federal confidential protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 42 CFR Part 2. Act 33, which took effect immediately, prohibits the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) from promulgating or enforcing a regulation that restricts any disclosure of records or information that is permitted by Act 33. DDAP is currently reviewing Act 33 to determine next steps as a regulatory agency and will be providing additional information and details via the stakeholder listserv and on this page in the near future.

Stakeholder Assessment of Pennsylvania’s SUD Confidentiality Laws and Regulations

In 2020, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) surveyed stakeholders about Pennsylvania’s current confidentiality laws and regulations.  The agency completed this assessment 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.

This report summarizes the over 1,200 survey responses and provides recommendations for addressing challenges with Pennsylvania’s current SUD confidentiality landscape.

Full Summary Report: Stakeholder Assessment of Pennsylvania’s Substance Use Disorder Confidentiality Policies

Appendices: The appendices include:

    1. Comparison of Pennsylvania and Federal SUD Confidentiality
    2. SUD Confidentiality Survey Tool
    3. Summary Tables of Free Text Reply Themes

It is 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.


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 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.

Looking for more information?

If you are a drug and alcohol service provider with specific questions about how SUD confidentiality regulations apply to your organization, please contact the Division of Drug and Alcohol Program Licensures at (717) 783-8675 or RA-DAAPI_DIVISION@pa.gov.

Vital Strategies, a public health non-profit, supported DDAP on this project by funding a staff position to conduct this assessment.