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ONC Changes Things Up at the Office


On Tuesday, The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT, within the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced plans to reorganize its office by creating five new offices under ONC, including the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), which will advise the National Coordinator for Health IT, Dr. David Blumenthal (and other local agencies), on health data privacy and security issues, and will report to Dr. Blumenthal directly.
ONC is changing things up at the office in an effort to more efficiently support the implementation of the health IT provisions (which includes stronger privacy and security protections for health data) passed as part of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) back in February.  
CDT praises the direct line of authority from the CPO to Dr. Blumenthal. It demonstrates that he is taking privacy and security issues with respect to health data seriously. To that end, we hope that the appointment of CPO will be made sooner than later.  Strong leadership from HHS is needed to effectively implement and enforce the health privacy and security protections in ARRA.