Welcome to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs

HIPAA, Privacy & Security

HIPAA Privacy Rule Resources


The following websites have information and links that you may find helpful to get started:

  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). See the link to Covered Entity Decision Tools, under "General Information". If your program hasn't already done so, your first step is to decide whether HIPAA applies to your organization.
  • Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The Technical Assistance link provides the document titled "OCR Guidance Explaining Significant Aspects of the Privacy Rule".
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) The SAMSHA website offers a wealth of information, including the following:
    • A searchable database of HIPAA compliance tools
    • A 26-page guidebook to current HIPAA privacy rules: "The Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Regulation and the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Implications for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Programs."  
  • California Office of HIPAA Implementation (Cal-OHI) Click on "privacy" to download a PowerPoint training presentation. It’s quite comprehensive (and lengthy). The documents under Access & Individual Rights, Complaints, Use and Disclosure, and Privacy Policies and Procedures may be useful for your program (and they are free).
  • California Office of Privacy Protection A unit of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the Office of Privacy Protection is charged with the mission of promoting and protecting the privacy rights of California consumers. See their site for updates on current privacy legislation and issue updates.


  • Legal Action Center (LAC) The Legal Action Center is a public-interest organization specializing in legal and policy issues concerning people in treatment and recovery from alcohol and drug problems.

    It is important to realize that HIPAA's Privacy Rule does not replace existing State and Federal laws and regulations, unless HIPAA provides protection that is more stringent (and it often does not). In 2003 LAC published a revised version of its book Confidentiality and Communication, a Guide to the Federal Drug & Alcohol Confidentiality Law (42 C.F.R. Part 2) and HIPAA, which may be helpful in understanding federal laws.
  • Treatment Improvement Exchange (TAPS) The Treatment Improvement Exchange (TIE) is a resource sponsored by the Division of State and Community Assistance at the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). It facilitates information exchange between CSAT staff and State and local alcohol and substance abuse agencies, including the Technical Assistance Publications (TAP) listed below.

    TAP #11 Treatment for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Opportunities for Coordination. See Chapter 11 for information about confidentiality and the Federal regulations.
    TAP #13 Confidentiality of Patient Records for Alcohol and other Drug Treatment

    These technical assistance publications are also available to order by phone.
    • National Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Information (NCADI),
      800-729-6686. Ask for publications # BKD156 and #PHD663.
    • ADP Resource Center, 800-879-2772. Ask for publications # 5678
      and 5676.