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Privacy Act Office

Mission and Function

The IHS Privacy Office is responsible for implementation of the Indian Health Service (IHS) Privacy Program. You are encouraged to use the information as a guide and to contact your Area Privacy Act Advocate or Service Unit Privacy Act Liaison whenever you are unsure about how to deal with a particular Privacy Act issue. When in doubt, always consult with the Area Privacy Act Advocate before you release records protected by the Privacy Act.

The Program is based on the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552a), as implemented by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (OMB Circular A-130) and HHS regulatory authority 45 CFR Part 5 (HHS Privacy Act Regulations), and is intended to provide a comprehensive framework regulating how and when IHS collects, maintains, uses, or disseminates personal information on individuals. The purpose of the Program is to balance the information requirements and needs of the Department against the privacy interests and concerns of the individual.

In discharging this assigned responsibility, the IHS performs multiple functions, to include:

  • Developing policy, providing program oversight, and serving as the IHS focal point for IHS Privacy matters,
  • Providing day-to-day policy guidance and assistance to the IHS Components in their implementation and execution of their Privacy Programs,
  • Reviewing new and existing IHS policies which impact on the personal privacy of the individual,
  • Reviewing, coordinating, and submitting for publication in the Federal Register Privacy Act systems of records and Privacy Act rulemaking by the IHS Components,
  • Developing and coordinating Privacy Act computer matching programs between the IHS Components and between the IHS Components and other Federal and State agencies,
  • Providing administrative and operational support to the IHS Area Office/Service Unit Privacy Advocates/Privacy Liaison staff; IHS Office of Public Health Support, Division of Program Statistics; and the IHS Institutional Review Board.

NOTE: Electronic versions of all documents that appear on the Defense Privacy Office website are intended to provide broad public access to information. These electronic versions should not, however, be treated as authoritative. The only official versions of these documents are printed or hard copy materials. Any discrepancies between the electronic versions and the hard copy, the hard copy prevails.