Healthcare providers and insurers are still making tons of rookie mistakes on patient privacy, turning themselves into easy enforcement targets, according to Roger Severino, director of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Severino made headlines in 2017 for expressing interest in punishing a “big, juicy, egregious” privacy breach, and seemingly followed through with a $16 million settlement stemming from Anthem Inc.’s megabreach involving 79 million patients. But, an emphasis on smaller violations makes sense in light of the OCR’s recent acknowledgement of limits on its penalty powers, said Edward G. Zacharias, a McDermott partner.

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Originally posted on Law360, February 2020