OCR, ONC Privacy Head Deven McGraw Leaves Position for Private Sector

Deven McGraw, Esq., who has been serving as the deputy director of health information privacy at the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and as the acting chief privacy officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), resigned from her position on October 19, officials at ONC and OCR confirmed Friday.

Rachel Seeger, MPA, MA, senior adviser of public affairs and outreach at OCR, confirmed McGraw’s departure and added that McGraw has taken a new job in the private sector.

Iliana Peters, senior advisor for compliance and enforcement at the division of health information privacy, will act as deputy director of the division in the interim until the vacancy is filled, according to Seeger.

It was widely reported this summer that ONC would leave the vacant position of chief privacy officer unfilled, according to ONC Director Donald Rucker, MD, who shared the news with reporters on a conference call in July. In a September interview with the Journal of AHIMA, Rucker confirmed that this would remain the case for the time being, with McGraw’s taking over some of the position’s duties as needed.

In her interim role, the most immediate topic Peters will face is meeting the statutory obligations of the 21st Century Cures Act that Congress passed last year, says Lauren Riplinger, JD, AHIMA’s senior director of federal relations.

“This includes issuing guidance around the research provisions of Cures, education and guidance around patient access to their health information, as well as guidance around the permitted uses and disclosures of PHI for patients seeking mental or substance use disorder treatment,” Riplinger said.

Additionally, HIM professionals are anxiously waiting for OCR to address a number of requirements from the HITECH Act, such as minimum necessary, accounting for disclosures, and the penalty sharing provision.

“We anticipate at this point that OCR will release advance notice of proposed rulemakings concerning accounting for disclosures and the penalty sharing provision in 2018,” Riplinger said.

Mary Butler is the associate editor at The Journal of AHIMA.

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