HIPAA Regulations and Release of Patient Information
Any patient medical information released to the news media will be done in strict accordance with HIPAA, which requires health care institutions to protect the privacy and integrity of patients and their personal health information.
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital works with the media to provide accurate and timely information, while respecting the confidentiality of our patients’ medical information and complying with HIPAA’s privacy regulations. However, Mary Free Bed may refrain from releasing information about patients involving cases of a sensitive nature or to ensure their safety.
All media inquiries for information about patients must be coordinated through the Marketing and Public Relations Department. The following standards were established for news media inquiries about the status of patients:
- All media inquiries must include the specific patient’s name and exact spelling.
- Release of any medical information beyond the patient’s 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 still applies. In such cases, media inquiries will be referred to the appropriate public agency, including the medical examiner, law enforcement agency, fire/rescue transport agency, or health department that receives such reports.
We are always happy to discuss and explain the HIPAA provisions in more detail or respond to other questions about patient inquiries.