What Privacy Requirements Does an Alcohol Treatment Facility Have?

Before you go to rehab, you might worry about how receiving treatment will affect your reputation. Many people with established careers struggle with addiction in secret because they’re afraid what their coworkers would think if they knew; in some cases, people discovering you have a drug or alcohol problem could severely damage your reputation and jeopardize your entire career.

We shouldn’t live in a world with such negative stigma around addiction and recovery, but unfortunately, we can only improve ourselves, not others, and serve as advocates. In the meantime, we have to take necessary precautions to protect ourselves and well-being, which is why confidentiality and privacy in alcohol rehab is so important. Trust is an important part of treatment, which means your privacy is a top priority for staff at alcohol treatment facilities.

Privacy in Rehab

Before you admit yourself to a residential alcohol treatment program or other type of rehab, you can call the facility directly and ask about their privacy policies. Thanks to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, treatment centers cannot release any of your private information without your consent unless they are required to by law.

There are significant consequences for violating HIPAA, including the loss of licensure for professionals and large fines for the facility. Aside from any legal ramifications, the staff who work at a rehab are committed to their clients’ comfort and security. They do not want to violate your trust by telling anyone personal information you don’t want them to know.

Do I Have to Tell My Boss I’m Going to Rehab?

If you are currently employed and need to take time off to attend alcohol treatment, then you may be able to receive paid time without telling your employer the exact reason. Employees who have worked at the same company for at least 12 months are eligible to receive at least 12 weeks of unpaid time off for medical and family reasons according to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to receive paid time-off for unspecified family and medical reasons. Alcohol addiction is a medical condition; substance use disorder requires professional treatment, and you should be able to have your job secured while you are away at rehab.

Most treatment facilities recommend a 90-day program, which is exactly how long you could have covered. If you think you’ll need additional time after treatment, then you might want to consider telling your boss why you’re taking off.

Ultimately, you aren’t required to inform your employer that you need time off for rehab, only that you have a medical condition that requires treatment. You should check the additional regulations and policies in place at your company regarding substance use disorder and treatment; some employers may allow employees to receive half-pay or a portion of their income while they’re going through therapy.

Additional Protection

HIPAA isn’t the only law that protects your confidentiality in rehab; the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records (42 CFR Part 2), which was first issued in 1975 and revised in 1987, prohibits addiction facilities from sharing any information that would identify someone with past or current substance use problems without written consent.

The only exceptions to this law are court-ordered investigations, medical reasons or cases of suspected child abuse and/or neglect. Scientific research and audit/program investigations also fall under the list of exceptions, but for the most part, you can rest assured that your identity and other details will not be shared by anyone at rehab.

Even if someone calls to inquire about your treatment at a particular facility, staff are not allowed to confirm or deny your presence at their rehab. Even family members are not entitled to personal information. Rehabs are committed to your security, and being able to rest assured that your privacy is valued and guarded can help give you peace of mind as you go through treatment.

Find the Right Rehab for You Today

Everyone’s needs are different, and there is no shortage of incredible rehab facilities out there to get you the help you need. Call us today at 866-300-6707 to learn more about treatment and alcohol treatment programs near you.