Cyber-security and data privacy have become increasingly critical issues facing health care over the past few years, and it seems that HHS OCR is ready to respond.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is seeking a Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy, as per a listing posting to USAJOBS on January 14, 2019.

According to the job posting, the Deputy Director “leads, coordinates, and manages the overall operations of all aspects of OCR’s privacy, security, and breach notification work under [HIPAA]” and other similar healthcare legislation such as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).

This new position seems likely to reinforce some of the stringent HIPAA enforcement efforts that made 2018 a landmark year for HIPAA fines. OCR levied over $25 million in HIPAA fines in 2018, which is the highest dollar amount in HIPAA monetary settlements in a single year in the history of enforcement.

The Deputy Director oversees day-to-day operations, including policy development and administrative rule-making and regulation interpretation, according to the post. The senior executive also plays a key role in the development of departmental policies, legislative and regulatory proposals, and special OCR initiatives, all to safeguard protected health information (PHI). He or she works with the OCR Director, secretary, and other senior policy officials, advising them within HHS on HIPAA privacy and security policies.

“As a member of the Department’s executive management team, the Deputy Director exercises considerable independence and establishes and maintains relationships concerning health information privacy and security issues at a number of senior management levels,” the posting concludes.

For more on the Director of Health Information Privacy role, click here.