Nov. 03, 2021

WHAT: A roundtable discussion on pending legislation to modernize Pennsylvania’s mental health and substance use disorder laws.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 4, at 1:30 p.m. (Media is encouraged to arrive by 1:15 p.m.)

WHERE: Lankenau Medical Center, Annenberg Conference Center, 100 E. Lancaster Ave., Wynnewood.

WHO: Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster); Rep. Morgan Cephas (D-Philadelphia); Stephen Fera, Independence Blue Cross; Michelle Mullany, Main Line Health; Doug Tieman, Caron Treatment Centers; and individuals in recovery from substance use disorder.

WHY: The Commonwealth’s restriction on using substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health-related data is not aligned with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. An August 2021 report by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs found that, “Pennsylvania’s SUD confidentiality policies are an outlier: we are one of only three states (including Oklahoma and Kansas) that goes above and beyond [federal regulations]. In every other state, SUD confidentiality policies align with [federal regulations].” The pending legislation (House Bills 1561 and 1563) – which recently passed unanimously out of the House Human Services Committee – would allow for appropriate, HIPAA-compliant data sharing among health care providers, facilities and insurers, ultimately resulting in delivering optimal, whole person care for patients.

Media contact: Mike Straub, 717-260-6397,