Drug rehab confidentiality is an important issue for many people who seek treatment at rehab centers. They are looking for help with issues that are deeply personal. They may share their stories with family and close friends, but they want control over who finds out about their experiences.
Rehab facilities can vary quite a bit. They may have different approaches to rehabilitation based on specific programs and philosophies. However, a constant is that treatment centers are there to help their clients stop using drugs, and they do not want worries about privacy to interfere with rehabilitation. Each center develops guidelines to protect the confidentiality and privacy of its clients.
Are Rehabs Confidential?
All treatment centers must respect their clients’ confidentiality. People entering treatment must share information that may be very personal about their experiences with addictions, so staff members can help them, but rehab employees do not share this information with others except when absolutely necessary for medical purposes. After their intake interviews, clients usually receive a copy of the facility’s confidentiality and privacy guidelines, which outline the rights of patients. In many cases, rehab center employees must sign confidentiality agreements.
Even so, some drug rehab centers label themselves as confidential. This is not because drug rehab confidentiality is more important to them than to other treatment centers. They generally emphasize privacy because they cater to well-known people who do not want the general public to know where they are or what they are doing. Celebrities or important businesspeople check in, sometimes under an assumed name, and live in five-star comfort while they work to overcome their addictions.
A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that 23.5 million people aged 12 and up needed treatment for alcohol or illicit drug abuse problems in 2009, but only 11.2 percent of those got treatment at a special facility. In the same year, the Drug Abuse Warning Network estimated that approximately 4.5 million emergency-room visits were related to drug abuse.
Don’t let fear of a lack of privacy stop you from getting help. Confidentiality is important to all treatment centers, whether they label themselves confidential or not. Call us at 1-888-287-0471 Who Answers? so we can help find the treatment option that works for you or your loved one.
Confidentiality Is Protected by Law
In the United States, the privacy of people seeking treatment at drug rehab centers is protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, which defines patients’ rights regarding what happens with the information health officials gather. It protects the information in medical records, conversations that doctors have with nurses or other health officials about patients, information about clients in insurers’ electronic records, billing information at health care centers, and most other health information about individuals.
HIPAA was designed to make sure patients feel secure about their privacy when entering treatment of any kind. Drug rehab confidentiality is often particularly important, since people may not choose to look for help if they cannot maintain their privacy.
Under HIPAA, hospitals, rehab centers, and other similar organizations must:
- Use safeguards that protect their clients’ information
- Use procedures that keep the number of people who are aware of confidential information to a minimum
- Train employees about the best ways to maintain drug rehab confidentiality
They must also post guidelines about their privacy practices and provide copies for clients.
Ways Information May Be Used
“The government does allow health care providers such as drug treatment centers to use clients’ health information for some purposes as long as they do not violate clients’ privacy and keep information sharing to a minimum. “The government does allow health care providers such as drug treatment centers to use clients’ health information for some purposes as long as they do not violate clients’ privacy and keep information sharing to a minimum. Rehab centers may give personal health information to others, including:
- The client
- Family, relatives and friends, with the client’s permission
- Treatment center employees, as part of treatment, care and payment activities, but in this case, employees should keep disclosure of personally identifying information to a minimum as it is important to maintain privacy at addiction treatment centers
- Government agencies, for example in the case of child abuse
- Medical personnel, in medical emergencies
- The police, under very specific circumstances
In unusual cases, a judge may order information to be released if it directly relates to a court case, but when possible, everyone works to maintain drug rehab confidentiality.
Patients’ Rights Over Information
HIPAA gives patients a number of rights over their personal information. These include the right to:
- Be informed about how their personal information may be shared
- Withhold permission from their information being used in certain ways
- Receive a report on why and when health practitioners shared their information
- File a complaint if they believe their health information has not been protected
Privacy for All
Various levels of government and individual treatment centers are concerned with maintaining the privacy of clients at addiction treatment centers, as can be seen in HIPAA and individual rehab centers’ privacy guidelines.
By maintaining drug rehab confidentiality, treatment centers free clients from worrying about privacy issues so they can focus on the most important thing: overcoming their addictions with the support of people around them.