For Immediate Release - September 09, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley Appoints New Health Care Division Chief

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley has appointed a new Chief of the Health Care Division of the Attorney General's Office. Thomas More O'Brien, of Brighton, assumed leadership of the division last week.

"Tom has successfully resolved many civil and administrative actions for this office against health care providers, health plans and financial service providers, making him a perfect fit to lead our Health Care Division," said Attorney General Coakley. "Tom has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and there is no doubt in my mind he will continue the vital work the Health Care Division does to ensure that consumers are protected against unfair and deceptive trade practices by health insurers."

O'Brien joined the Health Care Division, part of the Attorney General's Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau, when it was created in 2007. Prior to that, O'Brien has served as an Assistant Attorney General working on health and insurance related matters in the office's Insurance Division and former Regulated Industries Division since 1993. In addition to serving as counsel on numerous civil and administrative cases, O'Brien has also been frequently involved in the development of public policy, such as the development of laws enacted to prohibit discrimination against victims of domestic violence. O'Brien has an extensive background interpreting federal laws related to health plans, including Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. O'Brien is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School.

The previous chief of the Health Care Division, Quentin Palfrey, left the Attorney General's Office several months ago to take a position in the Obama Administration at the Department of Commerce.

Attorney General Coakley created the Health Care Division in 2007 to place a heightened focus on promoting the interests of consumers as Massachusetts undertook its landmark health reform effort. Since its implementation, the division has taken a variety of actions aimed at protecting consumers against unfair and deceptive trade practices by health insurers and medical discount cards.