December 20, 2005

Contact: Jenny Savage (505) 272-3651

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Sophia Collaros to the post of HSC Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Officer. Collaros, who worked at UNM HSC from 1977-1985, returns to the University with extensive experience in HIPAA.

Collaros has had a long association with UNM. In 1973, she received her BA in English and French from UNM, then later received her JD in 1989 from UNM Law School . Prior to earning a law degree, Collaros worked as office manager in the Department of Medicine, and also served as residency recruitment coordinator for the Department of Surgery in the UNM HSC. More recently, Collaros worked to develop policies and procedures while serving as assistant county attorney for Santa Fe County . She has also presented seminars concerning HIPAA to the Association of Counties and to the State's Municipal League. In her position as HIPAA Privacy Officer, Collaros will be responsible for the development and implementation of HIPAA policies and procedures necessary for compliance within the HSC.

"Ms. Collaros returns to UNM with this vast experience to enhance the existing HIPAA compliance program and to ensure our continued compliance with the established state and federal standards for the protection of health information," said Jeffery Wiggins, HSC Compliance Director.

"I feel most fortunate to have this opportunity once again to work with all the dedicated individuals at the Health Sciences Center and UNM Hospital," said Collaros of the appointment.

The Intent of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system through the establishment of standards and requirements for the transmission of certain health information, by combating fraud, waste, and abuse and by establishing security and privacy standards.