Trinity Regional Health System abides by federal legislation initiated by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), requiring health care institutions to safeguard the privacy and integrity of patients and their personal health information. As such, the following standards have been established for media inquires related to patient status at our hospitals:
- All media inquiries in regards to a patient must include the specific patient's name.
- As long as the patient has not requested that information be withheld, we will release the name of the hospital and the patient's condition without obtaining prior written patient authorization.
- Release of any medical information beyond the condition requires written authorization by the patient or patient's legal representative. [Note: Public agencies (law enforcement, fire/rescue, etc), are not bound by the same standards.]
- Videotaped or tape-recorded interviews, photographs or any other interaction with a patient requires written patient authorization.
- The patient has the option to expressly state that he or she does not want information released, including confirmation of his or her presence in the facility.
- Public record cases: Patients involved in matters of public record have the same privacy rights as all other patients. For instance, the fact that a patient has been transported to the hospital from an accident, crime scene or fire has no bearing on the patient's privacy. The name verification and condition still applies. In such cases, media inquiries would be referred to the appropriate public agency, including the medical examiner, law enforcement agency, fire/rescue transport or health department that receives such reports.
- Electronically transmitted patient information will be revised in accordance with HIPAA standards as outlined. Media patient inquiries, whether by telephone, E-mail, voice-activated messaging or interactive paging will be responded to individually and will be based on the media providing a specific name. The response, unless otherwise stipulated by the patient, will include verification of hospital location and condition only.