Doesn't the HIPAA Privacy Rule minimum necessary standard conflict with the HIPAA transaction standards?
No, because the Privacy Rule exempts from the minimum necessary standard any uses or disclosures that are required for compliance with the applicable requirements of the transactions standards, including disclosures of all data elements that are required or situationally required in those transactions. See 45 CFR 164.502(b)(2)(vi).
However, covered entities have significant discretion as to the information included in the transactions as optional data elements. Therefore, the minimum necessary standard does apply to the optional data elements. The transactions standard adopted for the outpatient pharmacy sector is an example of a standard that uses optional data elements. The health plan, or payer, currently specifies which of the optional data elements are needed for payment of its particular pharmacy claims. The health plan or its business associates must apply the minimum necessary standard when requesting this information. In this example, a pharmacist may reasonably rely on the health plan’s request for information as the minimum necessary for the intended disclosure. For example, as part of a routine protocol, the name of the individual may be requested by the payer as the minimum necessary to validate the identity of the claimant or for drug interaction or other patient safety reasons.