Health Information Management

HHS hiring health information privacy specialists

HIM-HIPAA Insider, July 20, 2009

HHS, HIPAA Privacy Rule’s enforcer, is hiring two “Health Information Privacy Specialists", it announced Friday.

But does that mean stepped-up enforcement? Maybe not.

According to the job description on, the specialist, working out of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), will be “responsible for reviewing, analyzing, implementing, promoting, or improving proposed or existing programs or policies needed to implement OCR's authority for ensuring compliance with the privacy
of health information.”

“I'm not sure the addition of these positions will actually strengthen OCR's enforcement activities,” Mary Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, president of Bellaire, TX-based Brandt & Associates, LLC, told HIPAA Weekly Advisor. “In reviewing the job duties on the government's Web site, the focus of the new positions appears to be strictly in the policy arena.”

OCR provides the oversight, leadership, and coordination necessary to ensure that individuals have nondiscriminatory access to HHS services or programs and that the privacy of their health information is protected.  

The Division of Health Information Privacy enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the confidentiality provisions of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act.

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