Skip to Content

Complete Overview of Regulations: 42 CFR Part 2
Patient Rights: Notice to Patients and Patient Access


6.) Patient Rights

a.) Notice to Patients

At the time a patient is admitted or as soon as the patient is capable of rational communication (whichever is later), the program must inform the patient that federal law and regulations protect the confidentiality of substance abuse patient records116 and give the patient a written summary of those federal laws and regulations.117 The summary must include:

  • A general description of the circumstances under which a program may acknowledge that an individual is present at a facility or disclose information identifying a patient as a substance abuser outside the program;118
  • A statement that a program’s violation of the federal law and regulations is a crime and that suspected violations may be reported to appropriate authorities;119
  • A statement that information related to a patient’s commission of a crime on program premises or against personnel of the program is not protected;120
  • A statement that reports of suspected child abuse and neglect made under state law are not protected;121
  • A citation to the federal law and regulations.122

The program may include information about state law and any program policy on the subject of confidentiality of substance abuse patient records.123

2.) Patient Access

A program may give a patient access to his/her own records, including the opportunity to inspect and copy any records that the program maintains about the patient.124 The program does not need to obtain the patient’s written consent or other authorization in order to provide the patient with such access. Information obtained by the patient is subject to the restriction on use of that information to initiate or substantiate any criminal charges against the patient or to conduct any criminal investigation of him/her.125



  • 116. 42 CFR § 2.22(a)(1).
  • 117. 42 CFR § 2.22(a)(2).
  • 118. 42 CFR § 2.22(b)(1).
  • 119. 42 CFR § 2.22(b)(2).
  • 120. 42 CFR § 2.22(b)(3).
  • 121. 42 CFR § 2.22(b)(4).
  • 122. 42 CFR § 2.22(b)(5).
  • 123. 42 CFR § 2.22(c).
  • 124. 42 CFR § 2.23(a).
  • 125. 42 CFR § 2.23(b).