September 1, 2004

The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Thompson:

On July 30, 2004, after more than forty years of service to the Department of Health and Human Services, John P. Fanning, the Department’s Privacy Advocate, retired. The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) is writing to commend John P. Fanning on his distinguished career. For many years, the members of the NCVHS, and particularly its Subcommittee on Privacy and Confidentiality, have relied heavily on John Fanning’s intelligence, experience, dedication, good judgment, and common sense. We are indebted to him for his exemplary service and wish him well in his retirement.

The NCVHS would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the position of Privacy Advocate. New developments in health information technology and its legal regulation make clear the increasing importance of thoughtfully anticipating and addressing the numerous issues of health privacy. We respectfully urge the Department to begin the process of selecting a successor to Mr. Fanning.



John R. Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H.
Chairman, National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics

Cc: HHS Data Council Co-Chairs