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Lisa Pino to Lead HIPAA Privacy Agency

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What You Need to Know

  • Pino has been the executive deputy commissioner at the New York Department of Health.
  • Earlier, she was in charge of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • She also has been a senior counselor at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

A former U.S. Department of Homeland Security official will be in charge of trying to keep spies and crooks out of people’s health information.

On Monday, Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced that he has appointed Lisa Pino to be the director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

The HHS office oversees civil rights law compliance at federal health programs. One of its highest profile jobs is enforcing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act health information privacy, data security and breach notification rules.

At one point, Pino worked as a civil rights official at the USDA and a senior counselor to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While at Homeland Security, she also managed the federal government response to a breach that exposed the health insurance records of 4 million federal workers.

Pino will help shape the HHS response if another big health insurer faces a data information hack, and she will help decide how hard the federal government cracks down on careless handling of data, such as if a life insurance agent leaves an unencrypted laptop containing life insurance applications in a car that gets stolen.

Previously she was the executive deputy commissioner at the New York State Department of Health. She ran the state’s COVID-19 response program, and  also handled Medicaid operations.

Earlier in her career, Pino was the official in charge of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — the U.S. Department of Agriculture program once known as the Food Stamps program. While in that post, she helped the country feed 46 million people every month.

She has a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Arizona State.

Lisa Pino (Photo: Lance Cheung/USDA)