SAMHSA Seeks Comments on Rule Changes Regarding Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

The Legal Action Center (“LAC”) has released a template for stakeholders to use to comment on the January 18, 2017 Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“SNPRM”) issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”). This SNPRM requests stakeholder comments on additional proposed changes to the regulations governing the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records (“42 C.F.R. Part 2” or “Part 2”). The proposed changes are in addition to changes already made to 42 C.F.R. Part 2 by a Final Rule released on the same date. LAC submitted revised comments on the SNRPM on February 13, 2017.

Although both the Final Rule and the SNPRM are on hold until at least March 20, 2017, pursuant to a memorandum from President Trump, LAC strongly encourages stakeholders to comment on the SNPRM. While it is not clear that the February 17, 2017 comment submission deadline referenced in the SNPRM still applies, LAC is adhering to that deadline and advises others to do so as well.

The SNPRM seeks to clarify how lawful holders of Part 2-protected substance use disorder information may disclose that information to their contractors, subcontractors, and legal representatives for the purposes of carrying out payment, health care operations, and other health care related activities. The SNPRM also proposes changes to the notice of the prohibition on re-disclosure. LAC understands that there may be a legitimate need for some of the proposed changes, but is concerned the changes are written so broadly that they may threaten core Part 2 protections. Therefore, LAC does not support the proposed changes unless SAMHSA includes additional patient protections to balance the increased flexibility created by the proposed changes. LAC’s specific recommendations for additional protections are discussed in our comments.

Stakeholders are invited to use LAC’s template to submit comments, and to modify the template as they see fit. Comments should be submitted by February 17, 2017. Comments may be submitted online at, or by mail or hand delivery to:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Department of Health and Human Services

ATTN: Danielle Tarino, SAMHSA

5600 Fishers Lane, Room 13E89A

Rockville, Maryland 20857

We Are NATSAP January Edition



We are pleased to announce the latest edition of We Are NATSAP. We are happy to showcase the great work our Member Programs do when it comes to engaging their students.

Being featured in We Are NATSAP allows a program to tout their latest achievements as well as providing the opportunity to promote your press release to a wider audience that consists of industry associates, consultants, and parents.

If you are interested in providing an article for the next edition of We Are NATSAP, please contact Shanita Smith. Articles should be around 450 words in length and please include photos. We are asking that you please submit your article to by April 7th.

2016 Professionals’ Weekend at Skyland Trail



On September 16-17, 30 mental health professionals and education consultants from around the country attended 2016 Professionals’ Weekend at Skyland Trail. In addition to receiving education credits and hearing from experts in the field, guests had the opportunity to see and stay in the new Rollins Campus for young adults.

Throughout the weekend, participants heard from chief medical officer, Dr. Ray Kotwicki; vice president of clinical services, Chris Cline; and young adult psychiatrist, Dr. Mary Burns. Guests also enjoyed presentations from vocational coordinator, Matthew Collins, lead counselor, Clerissa Cooper, and primary counselor, Catherine Moon.

“I believe all areas of Skyland Trail’s program provide the best clinical practices. Every area seems to be very client-centered and utilizes evidenced-based practices,” one guest explains.

“The individualized treatment plans were very impressive,” another professional describes. “The variety of services is very extensive, from the adjunctive therapies to vocational rehabilitation to the family involvement.”

Over the weekend, guests also enjoyed listening to the Skyland Trail alumni band and hearing from Skyland Trail alumni and alumni families as they shared their stories of recovery.

Opening in October 2016, the Rollins Campus for young adults offers 32 private bedrooms for young adults ages 18 to 25. This 35,000 sq. ft. facility is specifically designed for college-age adults and includes unique spaces to promote social interaction and engagement in treatment.

Photos can be found here:

Skyland Trail opens new campus for young adults


On October 13, Skyland Trail celebrated the grand opening of the Rollins Campus for young adults. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and officials from the City of Brookhaven and DeKalb County joined nearly 300 guests for a ribbon cutting program followed by tours of the 3.5 acre campus.

The Rollins Campus offers specialized residential psychiatric treatment for young adults ages 18 to 25 struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. It is a one-of-a-kind program and facility in the Southeast, and one of only a handful of similar programs nationwide.

The 35,000 sq. ft. Young Adult Treatment Center on the Rollins Campus is specially designed to meet the mental health needs and socialization styles of emerging adults. The facility includes 32 private bedrooms with private bathrooms; group therapy rooms and offices; a family room and client lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows; a dining room that opens to an outdoor dining patio and firepit area; and a courtyard with unique water features, a boardwalk, a bocce ball court, and patio area.

Skyland Trail, a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization, has been part of the Atlanta community since 1989. Development and construction of the Rollins Campus was made possible by generous community support through the Changing Minds Campaign. Key contributors include The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The James M. Cox Foundation, the J.B. Fuqua Foundation, and the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.

“The new campus and treatment center will make a huge impact in Atlanta and the Southeast, where there are few options for this age group and this type of recovery-focused treatment,” says Amy Rollins Kreisler, executive director of the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation and Skyland Trail Board member. “For many young adult clients, Skyland Trail opens doors that once seemed closed and introduces opportunities that clients may never have felt capable of pursuing. We are proud to be a part of this endeavor.”

In 2015, 60 percent of Skyland Trail clients were young adults ages 18 to 26. This reflects a national trend of college-age adults struggling with mood and thought disorders and seeking treatment. According to an American College Health Association 2016 survey of 95,761 students, 17 percent of college students were diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems during the past year, and 13.9 percent were diagnosed with or treated for depression. The numbers show an increase since the 2011 survey of 11.6 percent for anxiety and 10.7 percent for depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide remains the third-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24.

The opening of the Rollins Campus adds an additional layer of specialization to the individualized mental health treatment program at Skyland Trail.

“What is fun or therapeutic for someone who is 20 is not always enjoyable or helpful for an adult who is 45,” says Beth Finnerty, Skyland Trail president and CEO. “More mature adult clients ages 26 and older at the South Residential Campus focus on skills and growth opportunities to help them navigate where they are in their lives – jobs, spouses, children, or coping with the loss of a parent or loved one. Young adults ages 18 to 25 at the Rollins Campus will participate in activities focused on developing skills to successfully navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood.”

Young adult clients typically participate in residential and day treatment services for about four months before returning home to their communities. Clients receive care from psychiatrists and therapists as well as experts in music therapy, art therapy, horticultural therapy, interfaith spiritual counseling, vocational counseling, nutrition and active living, and recreational therapy.

The new campus is adjacent to the existing Skyland Trail main campus in Brookhaven near the intersection of North Druid Hills RD and Buford Hwy.

Photos of the grand opening can be found here: