Opinion: Privacy laws are hurting the care of patients with addiction

I need to communicate with my opioid use disorder patients's other clinicians. The law sometimes thwarts me from doing that.
University of Massachusetts Medical School nursing student Morgan Brescia attends a simulation of treatment for a patient coping with addiction during class at the medical school in Worcester, Mass. Source: Elise Amendola/AP

When my grandfather was a private practice pediatrician in Queens, making house calls in exchange for eggs and hand-knitted hats, medical communications were often between one doctor and his or her patient (or parent). As a primary care provider to adults with opioid use disorder, I need to communicate with many other clinicians. Privacy rules can thwart me from doing that.

The U.S. medical system has changed dramatically in the past century, creating complicated structures that

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