HHS Announces New Divisions to Address Weighty Case Load

On February 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that its law enforcement agency – the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – will reorganize, adding new divisions to better address the rapid increase in cases it is charged with handling. Tellingly, the title of HHS’s announcement focuses on the need to better address the “growing need” for enforcement. The OCR will now have three new divisions: the Enforcement Division, Policy Division and Strategic Planning Division. OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer indicated these new divisions are needed due to the OCR’s caseload having increased 69 percent between 2017 and 2022.

Before implementation of the new Divisions, the OCR’s organizational chart found on HHS’s website looked like this:

The changes to the organizational structure and nomenclature include:

Renaming the Health Information Privacy Division as the Health Information Privacy, Data, and Cybersecurity Division “to be more reflective of their work and role in cybersecurity,” as hacking-related breaches account for 80 percent of

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