Several industry consultants and attorneys specializing in privacy and security issues praised the appointment of privacy advocate Deven McGraw to serve as deputy director for health information privacy in the HHS Office for Civil Rights. Here is a sampling:
Kate Borten, president of HIT security consultancy Marblehead Group: I'm happy that Deven is back at HHS. She has a great background for the job, and can be a champion. But she faces a tough road ahead. HIPAA privacy and security compliance audits and enforcement have been weak and delayed from the beginning, leading to loss of credibility for the agency. Keep in mind that the security rule became effective 10 years ago, and yet too many organizations' security and privacy programs remain incomplete and immature. It takes not only will which Deven has but also agency commitment and resources. I'm just not sure our government sees this as a high enough priority for Deven, or anyone, to have major success. Nevertheless, I wish her well in her new role.
Tom Walsh, president of security consultancy tw-Security: Devon was one of my co-presenters in a HIMSS preconference Privacy and Security Workshop several years ago. She was very impressive. Ive heard her speak at HIMSS every year since then. Personally, I was happy with the news. Devon is knowledgeable, well-respected, and has played an instrumental role in the past in advising the ONC through the Health IT Policy Committees Privacy and Security Tiger Team. Maybe with Devons influence well get some traction (and a more reasonable rule) on the stalled rule Right to an Access Report, which is an additional requirement to the HIPAA Privacy Rules Accounting of Disclosure provision.
Adam Greene, former OCR privacy specialist and a partner in the Davis Wright Tremaine law firm: Im very excited to see Deven take on this leadership role within OCR. She brings expertise in HIPAA and health information technology issues, a respected voice in the privacy community, and experience working with a wide variety of stakeholders.
Howard Burde of Howard Burde Health Law LLC: Deven McGraw is an inspired choice for the position. She is well informed, experienced from both private and public sector perspectives, and liked and respected by stakeholders on all sides of privacy and security discussions.
Stanley Nachimson, principal at consultancy Nachimson Advisors: It is heartening to see that OCR will be getting such a knowledgeable and passionate person to lead their privacy and security efforts.
Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Deven is a real health privacy law expert and I think OCR made an excellent choice.
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