As former OCR director, Leon Rodriguez, takes on his new role as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has named Jocelyn Samuels as the next director. According to a GovInfoSecurity.com article, Samuels currently serves as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Samuels is no stranger to enforcing civil rights. In her role as the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Samuels is responsible for leading the Civil Rights Division. The Division’s work includes enforcement of laws prohibiting discrimination in housing, lending, education, employment and public accommodations. Prior to her tenure at the Department of Justice, Samuels was the Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. Samuels worked as Labor Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, then Ranking Member and subsequently Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and as a senior policy attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Both Rodriquez and Samuels come from the Department of Justice, an agency know for enforcement. As the new round of HIPAA audits approaches, individual complaints continue to increase and regulatory enforcement of HIPAA is increasing, it is likely safe to assume that Samuels will continue Rodriquez’s enforcement path for HIPAA.
However, Samuels’ enforcement style will be an unknown until she begins her new role.
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