Have you watched the news??? There’s a new sheriff in town and her name is Melanie Fontes Rainer! Recently announced, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has appointed former Acting Director Melanie Fontes Rainer as Director of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Fontes Rainer has extensive experience in her career, serving as Acting Director of OCR and before that as an advisor to Secretary Becerra.
Secretary Becerra said, “Melanie has dedicated her entire professional career to public service and has worked tirelessly to ensure health care is accessible, affordable, and available to everyone, no matter where you live or who you are. .
Fontes Rainer brings over 10 years of experience in the areas of civil rights, health policy and patient privacy. She has also been involved in the 21st Century Cures Act, the Affordable Care Act, and the No Surprises Act. Fontes Rainer participated in groundbreaking settlements and created California’s first health care rights and access office. Mélanie’s experience, combined with her passion, will prepare her for the challenges she will face in her new role as Director of OCR.
It is important to consider that after the appointment of Lisa J. Pino, former Director of OCR, last year, we immediately saw an increase in enforcement cases. Just months after Pino’s appointment as director, OCR announced five right-of-entry deals in a single day. This year we have already seen 17, including a record day with 11 settlements announced in a single day. With settlements totaling $1,992,140 already in 2022, OCR is clearly not over yet.
As we can see, between HIPAA violations, cybersecurity issues, and personal information privacy, practices continue to face challenges this year. But we can also see that Fontes Rainer is here to help, bringing years of expertise and a fiery passion to the table. It enforces health care regulations, promotes healthy practice operations, and protects patient health information nationwide. With years of dedication to civil rights and medical privacy, we can certainly expect to see many settlements surface with Fontes Rainer in town.
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