Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has named Jocelyn Samuels as director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, whose duties also include enforcing the HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules.

Samuels most recently served as acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division within the U.S. Department of Justice. At HHS/OCR, she succeeds Leon Rodriguez, who recently won Senate confirmation as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services unit in the Department of Homeland Security.

Susan McAndrew, leader of the HHS Office for Civil Rights unit that enforces the HIPAA rules, retired in May. Christina Heide, senior advisor for health information privacy policy at OCR and a veteran of the unit since 1999, is serving as acting deputy director for health information privacy.

Changes in leadership of the HHS Office for Civil Rights and its HIPAA division come as the office gears up to launch a permanent random HIPAA audit program, expected later this year after being delayed at least two years. Unlike comprehensive audits conducted in the pilot program, the permanent program is designed to be more limited but focused on major threats to confidentiality and security.

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