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Kathryn Marchesini Appointed Chief Privacy Officer at ONC

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has a new chief privacy officer – Kathryn Marchesini, JD.

The appointment was announced this week by National Coordinator Donald Rucker, M.D. Marchesini will replace Acting Chief Privacy Officer Deven McGraw, who left the position this fall.

The HITECH Act requires a Chief Privacy Officer to be appointed by the ONC. The CPO is required to advise the National Coordinator on privacy, security, and data stewardship of electronic health information and to coordinate with other federal agencies.

Following the departure of McGraw, it was unclear whether the position of CPO would be filled at the ONC. The ONC has had major cuts to its budget, and in an effort to become a much leaner organization, funding for the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer was due to be withdrawn in 2018. However, the decision has been taken to appoint a successor to McGraw.

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There are few individuals better qualified to take on the role of CPO. Katheryn Marchesini has extensive experience in the field of data privacy and security, having spent seven years at the Department of Health and Human Services. During her time at the HHS Marchesini assisted with the creation of new federal policies, guidance for HIPAA covered entities on privacy and security, and many HHS health IT privacy initiatives.

Most recently, Marchesini served as senior health information technology and privacy advisor at the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights and as senior advisor on privacy and precision medicine at the ONC. Marchesini also served as Division Director for Privacy at the ONC between 2014 and 2016, Acting Chief Privacy Officer at the ONC for four months in 2014, and Senior Policy Analyst and Privacy Team Leader at the ONC between October 2012 and June 2014.

Prior to joining the HHS, Marchesini worked as a legal associate with two law firms, as a management analyst at Deloitte Consulting, and economics assistant at FERC.

Announcing the appointment, Donald Rucker said, “[Marhesini] brings to her new roles a wealth of experience as a Senior Advisor and Deputy Director for Privacy at ONC where she advised staff and stakeholders about privacy and security implications surrounding electronic health information, technology, and health research.” The appointment has also been welcomed by Deven McGraw.

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.