The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services today announced the appointment of Lisa J. Pino as Director of the Office for Civil Rights.
WHY IT MATTERS
At OCR Pino will be in charge of enforcing healthcare civil rights laws, such as the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act, and the Patient Safety Rule.
She comes to the job from New York, where she most recently served as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the state’s Department of Health. In the department’s second-highest role Pino led the state’s operational COVID-19 response. She also programmed state initiatives such as Medicaid, Medicare, the Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and more.
Prior to that Pino served as senior counselor at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during the Obama Administration. At DHS she drove the 2015 U.S. cyber-breach mitigation of four million federal personnel and 22 million surrogate profiles, in the largest hack in federal history, by renegotiating 700 vendor procurements and establishing new cybersecurity regulatory protections.
Before that, she served as USDA Deputy Administrator of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and USDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, where she drafted USDA’s first gender-identity antidiscrimination program regulation and its first USDA limited English proficiency guidance.
Pino – a first-generation daughter of immigrants who is fluent in Spanish – also directed USDA’s outreach and engagement activities to ensure that minority farmers had access to benefits awarded through class action settlements. Before this work she was a legal aid attorney in the Southwest, where she worked on protecting the rights of migrant farm workers.
THE LARGER TREND
OCR has been a busy agency in recent years. Beyond its usual job of enforcing data breaches and other HIPAA violations, it has also been instrumental in the pandemic-era telehealth expansion. It’s also currently weighing stakeholder feedback on substantial proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
ON THE RECORD
“Lisa is an exceptional public servant, and I am delighted to welcome her to the role of the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement.
“Her breadth of experience and management expertise, particularly her hand in advancing civil rights regulations and policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Obama-Biden Administration, will help ensure that we protect the rights of every person across the country as we work to build a healthier America.”