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The Role of Patient Confidentiality in Drug Treatment Centers

For many patients, the role of patient confidentiality in drug treatment centers goes far beyond the scope of simply keeping their past problems and medical situation at bay. For some, patient confidentiality is more a matter of keeping everything about them a secret to assure that their privacy is respected 100%. In drug treatment centers, both private and public, patient confidentiality is extremely important in establishing trust that is absolutely critical in order for a drug treatment program to be successful. The therapeutic relationship that is expected to develop between counselors and patients is founded on trust which is the result of 100% patient confidentiality.

The Importance of Patient Confidentiality

Drug treatment centers must take a number of factors into account in determining the importance of confidentiality for their patients. Addiction is a disorder that affects individuals socially, psychologically and physiologically and therefore drug treatment centers must take into consideration the potential ramifications of such affects when determining how they will establish and maintain patient confidentiality.

Maintaining patient confidentiality can prevent social stigmas from occurring within the treatment center and can reduce the risk of such stigmas negatively impacting self-esteem and the motivation that is necessary for a recovering addict to continue through with the recovery process. Additionally, maintaining the privacy of patients in treatment assures that all patients are treated equally and there is no concern of social stigma causing negative impacts on the overall healing process.

Laws Regarding Patient Confidentiality in Drug Treatment Centers

Because patient confidentiality is so important in drug treatment even the Federal Government has laws in place to protect the privacy of patients who are in treatment. Drug treatment centers are restricted from disclosing information regarding their personal identification or medical history to others without patient consent. Additionally, The Public Health Service Act further restricts such information from being released to anyone without previous patient consent to do so.

Drug treatment centers are required to follow the Federal laws that are in place to respect the patient confidentiality of those in treatment. When a treatment center does not abide by such laws and strict regulations they are subject to criminal charges, fines and the loss of state certifications and licensing. Such strict limitations on the confidentiality of patients in drug treatment centers assures that individuals who seek treatment for drug or alcohol addiction can rest assured that their personal information will be safe.

Patient Confidentiality in Drug Treatment

Because drug treatment centers are required by law to respect the privacy of patients and to keep their information confidential, patients can be assured that they can open up to their counselors and therapists which will allow them the greatest chance of making a successful recovery from their addiction. Patients are encouraged to share with their counselors, openly, about their addiction and the facts that pertain to their addiction and their lifestyle. A secure commitment to patient confidentiality assures that these patients can disclose such facts without worrying about the legal, social or other ramifications that could result from such disclosure because the information is kept under strict confidentiality.

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