February 7, 2018
OCR Enforcement Lead Iliana Peters Joins Polsinelli's Washington, D.C. Office

Am Law 100 firm Polsinelli welcomes new Shareholder Iliana L. Peters to its national Health Care Operations practice, expanding the firm’s strong health care presence in Washington, D.C. and across the country.

Prior to joining Polsinelli, Peters spent more than a decade at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights, most recently as the Acting Deputy Director and as the Senior Advisor for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement. In these roles, Peters played a key role shaping OCR’s enforcement agenda, as well as working with covered entities and business associates to address privacy and security issues.

“Today’s health care providers face privacy and security risks at every turn,” said Polsinelli Health Care Department Chair Matt Murer. “The explosion of digital data, along with the proliferation of technology, devices and other health care innovation, has created a multi-layered privacy and data security issues. Providers know that the question is no longer if they will face a privacy and security issue but when will they face such an issue.

“Iliana brings key insights into the government’s investigation, enforcement, and settlement processes and will enhance our ability to guide our clients in responding to ever-changing threats and risks,” Murer continued. “We know that our clients look forward to having Iliana as a strategic member of their privacy and security teams.”

During her time at the HHS Office for Civil Rights headquarters in Washington, D.C., Peters enforced HIPAA regulations by spearheading multi-million-dollar settlement agreements and civil money penalties pursuant to HIPAA. Recently, Peters was involved in Fresenius Medical Care North America’s agreement to pay a $3.5 million settlement with the HHS Office for Civil Rights for violations of HIPAA’s privacy and security rules. That settlement arose from privacy breaches at five locations where OCR determined that Fresenius failed to conduct an accurate and thorough risk analysis. “This recent settlement underlines how important it is for health care providers to ensure that they have a robust HIPAA program in place that goes beyond policies in a binder,” Murer said.

Peters also brings experience in training individuals in both the private and public sector, including compliance investigators, auditors, and State Attorneys General, on HIPAA regulations and policy, and on good data privacy and security practices.

In addition to her legal experience, Peters is a Certified Information Security Systems Professional (CISSP), helping bridge the gap between legal requirements for the security of health data and security industry best practices, so that clients can better understand data security issues and jargon.

“Polsinelli is the top-ranked health care law firm in the country and has a longstanding and strong reputation for providing superior client service, which starts at the top with the firm’s fantastic leadership,” Peters said. “I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues to help raise the privacy and security bar the private sector, as well as helping expand Polsinelli’s health care presence in Washington, D.C.”

She joins the firm’s Washington D.C. office at a time of forward momentum at Polsinelli, which has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in Health Care by U.S. News & World Report in its 2018 “Best Law Firms” list. U.S. News & World Report recognizes only one law firm in each practice area to earn the prestigious “Law Firm of the Year” designation, highlighting the firm’s impressive overall performance. This is the second time Polsinelli has earned this recognition.

Also ranked as the nation’s second largest health care practice by the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), Polsinelli’s Health Care Department has become a national leader in providing a full-range of health care law services. The robust team of approximately 185 attorneys includes former in-house counsel of national health care institutions, the Office of Inspector General and former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys who represent a variety of clients in the health care industry, including hospital and health systems, academic medical centers, dialysis providers, specialty pharmacy providers, health information and technology companies and senior housing and long-term care facilities, to name a few.

Peters received a LL.M. from the University of Houston Law Center, a juris doctor from the Duke University School of Law, where she was a member of the Hispanic Law Students Association, and a bachelor’s degree with special honors from the University of Texas at Austin. She remains an active member of her community through volunteer work for the Synetic Theater and as a lector for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, among her other interests.