One of the goals of a new rule is to make it easier for providers to co-ordinate care among clients with a substance use disorder (SUD) by implementing privacy mechanisms that allow those providers to access their patients' medical records while preserving their privacy.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is introducing a proposed rule that will allow health care providers to both protect people's privacy and provide providers with greater flexibility in how they share information with each other.

The purpose of a proposed rule is to bring rules governing the treatment of patients with substance abuse disorders (SUD) into better alignment with HIPAA.

SUD regulations are complex because they require different kinds of information from health care providers than is allowed by HIPAA. HHS said this might lead to challenges for regulating entities as they may have to meet different requirements regarding the sharing of patients' medical records.

One major change would allow clients to give one consent for all future treatment, health care and payment operations.

It will allow providers to better notify afflicted patients when there is a breach in the information they have stored. It also would allow more people to sue providers for violating their confidentiality rights.