HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) announced findings from a new report showing the need for an update to address barriers for individuals seeking substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

The project is part of DDAP’s strategic plan to strengthen Pennsylvania’s drug and alcohol treatment system by making it easier for clients to navigate and helping providers to better support clients. This plan would include better support clients by improving care coordination, integrating services, and improving communication between a client’s multiple providers.

In addition, this project touches on the importance of treating SUD as a medical disease.

The recommendations outlined in this report suggest a shift in Pennsylvania’s approach to the confidentiality of SUD records. DDAP plans to work with the legislature to implement the following three recommendations:

  • Align Pennsylvania SUD confidentiality regulations with federal regulatory language contained in 42 CFR Part 2.
  • Develop resources, including informed consent trainings, on client privacy rights to ensure that all individuals who enter SUD treatment in Pennsylvania are informed about their rights over their own records.
  • Create an ombudsman or advocate position at the state level to empower individuals to report grievances if they think their data has been misused or if they feel their SUD status has resulted in discrimination.

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