Are business associates required to restrict their uses and disclosures to the minimum necessary? May a covered entity reasonably rely on a request from a covered entity's business associate as the minimum necessary?
A covered entity’s contract with a business associate may not authorize the business associate to use or further disclose the information in a manner that would violate the HIPAA Privacy Rule if done by the covered entity. See 45 CFR 164.504(e)(2)(i). Thus, a business associate contract must limit the business associate’s uses and disclosures of, as well as requests for, protected health information to be consistent with the covered entity’s minimum necessary policies and procedures. Given that a business associate contract must limit a business associate’s requests for protected health information on behalf of a covered entity to that which is reasonably necessary to accomplish the intended purpose, a covered entity is permitted to reasonably rely on such requests from a business associate of another covered entity as the minimum necessary.