Media access to patients
Media representatives and photographers must contact the hospital spokesperson for assistance in obtaining interviews and/or photographs of patients, employees and areas of the hospital. The following activities require written authorization (signed consent) from the patient:
Releasing any information beyond a one word condition update.
Taking photographs (either video or stills) of the patient.
Media interviews with patients.
In general, if the patient is a minor, permission for any of these activities must be obtained from a parent or legal representative.
To protect patient confidentiality, we follow the widely used American Hospital Association guidelines on the release of patient information developed to meet the mandated patient privacy Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. To receive information about a patient's condition you must provide the patient's full name. If there is any question about confirmation of patient, information will not be released. Once we have the patient’s full name we will only provide one-word descriptions about a patient's condition:
- Undetermined- Patient is awaiting assessment.
- Good- Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
- Fair- Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
- Serious- Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
- Critical- Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
- Deceased (Next of kin notification must be confirmed before any information is released to the media. If the patient had requested that no information be released to the media, then the patient’s death cannot be confirmed unless the deceased's next of kin gives permission.)
Request for information to be withheld
Patients have the right to request that their information be withheld, including confirmation of their presence in the hospital. By law, we must and will honor that request.
Crisis and disaster situations
During a community crisis or disaster, the hospital will provide general information about the number of patients received, the scope of injuries and the age range of the patients.
In the event of a hospital crisis or disaster, a media area will be established and working members of the news media will be escorted to this area and asked to remain there awaiting updates. Every effort will be made by hospital staff to keep the media informed of the situation, however, it will be critical that the media understand that patient and hospital employee safety and privacy will be the first priority.