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HHS Privacy Chief Deven McGraw Departs OCR: Iliana Peters Now Acting Deputy

Deven McGraw, the Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has stepped down and left OCR. McGraw vacated the position on October 19, 2017.

McGraw has served as Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy since July 2015, replacing Susan McAndrew. McGraw joined OCR from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP where she co-chaired the company’s privacy and data security practice. McGraw also served as Acting Chief Privacy Officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) since the departure of Lucia Savage earlier this year.

In July, ONC National Coordinator Donald Rucker announced that following cuts to the ONC budget, the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer would be closed out, with the Chief Privacy Officer receiving only limited support. It therefore seems an opportune moment for Deven McGraw to move onto pastures new.

OCR’s Iliana Peters has stepped in to replace McGraw in the interim and will serve as Acting Deputy Director until a suitable replacement for McGraw can be found. Peters has vacated her position as senior advisor for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement at OCR. There are no plans to bring in a replacement for McGraw at the ONC.

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One of the first tasks for Peters will be to ensure the statutory obligations of the 21st Century Cures Act are met, and to issue guidance for healthcare organizations and patients on health data access and guidance on the allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information for patients receiving treatment for mental health or substance use disorder.

McGraw is an expert in HIPAA and privacy laws and will be sorely missed at OCR. McGraw said on Twitter, “The HIPAA team at OCR is in good hands with Iliana Peters as Acting Deputy.”

Politico reports that McGraw will be heading to Silicon Valley and will be joining a health tech startup that will be focused on “empowering consumers.” At present, no announcement has been made about which company she is joining. Politico reports that McGraw will be “part of a very small team doing the thinking about what the product will look like, the data we’re collecting and how we’ll manage and secure it.”

Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.