[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 31 (Thursday, February 16, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10863-10864]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-03185]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Office of the Secretary

42 CFR Part 2

[SAMHSA-4162-20]
RIN 0930-AA21


Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records; Delay 
of Effective Date

AGENCY: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, HHS.

ACTION: Final rule; delay of effective date.

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SUMMARY: On January 18, 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a final rule on 
Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records. That rule is 
scheduled to take effect on February 17, 2017. In accordance with the 
memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and 
Chief of Staff, entitled ``Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,'' 
published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2017 (82 FR 8346), 
this action delays for 60 days from the date of the memorandum the 
effective date of the rule entitled ``Confidentiality of Substance Use 
Disorder Patient Records'' published in the Federal Register on January 
18, 2017 (82 FR 6052).

DATES: The effective date of the Confidentiality of Substance Use 
Disorder Patient Records final rule, published in the Federal Register 
on January 18, 2017 (82 FR 6052) is delayed from February 17, 2017, to 
a new effective date of March 21, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Danielle Tarino, Telephone number: 
(240) 276-2857, Email address: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Confidentiality of Substance Use 
Disorder Patient Records Final Rule updates and modernizes the 
Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations 
(42 CFR part 2) to facilitate integration of care and new health care 
delivery models while protecting the privacy of patients diagnosed, 
treated, or referred for treatment for a substance use disorder. To the 
extent that 5 U.S.C. 553 applies to this action to delay the rule's 
effective date, it is exempt from notice and comment because it 
constitutes a rule of procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A). 
Alternatively, the Department's implementation of this rule without 
opportunity for public comment, effective immediately upon publication 
today in the Federal Register, is based on the good cause exception in 
5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) in that seeking public comment is impracticable, 
unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. The 60-day delay in 
effective date is necessary to give Department officials the 
opportunity for further review and consideration of new regulations, 
consistent with the Assistant to the President's memorandum of January 
20, 2017. This memorandum instructed federal agencies to delay the 
effective date of rules published in the Federal Register, but which 
have not yet taken effect, for a period of 60-days from the date of the 
memorandum. Given the imminence of the effective date, seeking prior 
public

[[Page 10864]]

comment on this delay would have been impractical, as well as contrary 
to the public interest in the orderly promulgation and implementation 
of regulations.
    This notice does not impact the Supplemental Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (SNPRM) also entitled Confidentiality of Substance Use 
Disorder Patient Records and issued on January 18, 2017 (82 FR 5485). 
The SNPRM proposes for public comment additional provisions beyond 
those in the final rule to clarify the scope of permissible disclosures 
to contractors, subcontractors, and legal representatives. The SNPRM 
comment period will remain unchanged and will close on February 17, 
2017.

    Dated: February 10, 2017.
Kana Enomoto,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.

Approved:

Thomas E. Price, M.D.,
Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.
[FR Doc. 2017-03185 Filed 2-15-17; 8:45 am]
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