Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Regulations

Current Status

On January 17, 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finalized changes to the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Regulations, 42 CFR Part 2. Under these changes to the Part 2 regulations, CMS is now permitted to include substance use disorder claims data in the Research identifiable Files (RIFs). Research Identifiable Files shipped or extracted in the VRDC after 05/22/2017 are no longer subject to the redaction.

Researchers who previously received redacted claim files will be able to request the missing records, in the form of “gap” files. Please be aware that “gap” files will be in the new version K specified in the recent announcement titled “Update to Research Identifiable File (RIF) Claims Layout.”

In order to request the "gap" files, submit an amendment request through ResDAC with the following materials: a Request Letter for an Amendment, a DUA Update form, and a Specifications Worksheet (request materials can be found on the Data Request Materials Index). The amendment request to add the "gap" files can be combined with any other file request or submitted separately.

Historical Status

Under the previous regulations, CMS was required to redact all substance abuse disorder claims from the RIF files. Please see the tables under Additional Resources to understand the impact of the historical claims redaction on Medicare and Medicaid data.