Protecting the privacy of patients and the confidentiality of patient information is a primary responsibility for all members of the Tuality Healthcare community.
In matters of public interest, Tuality Healthcare shares a responsibility with the news media to provide accurate information to the public. However, both Tuality and the media must ensure that the release of information does not infringe upon patient privacy, professional ethics or patient care. All statements and information released to the public must meet the privacy requirements of federal and state law.
Response to news media requests for information
Any request by a reporter or any other news media representative about Tuality Healthcare’s patients, policies, procedures, events, or facilities should be referred to the Community Relations department at 503-681-1654.
Requests about patient information
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations strictly limit what patient information hospitals may share with the news media.
Interviewing and photographing patients
Tuality Healthcare will designate an authorized spokesperson to be accessible to the news media at all times. For any patient interview, photo, video or audio broadcast, a written release and authorization is required from the patient. A designated representative of the Community Relations department will be responsible for securing the release and authorization prior to any media interview or photo shoot.
Matters of public record
Matters of public record refer to situations that are reportable by law to public authorities, such as law enforcement agencies, the coroner or public health officer. While certain laws and/or regulations require healthcare facilities to report a variety of information to public authorities, Tuality Healthcare is not responsible for providing this information to the media. Patients at Tuality Healthcare who are involved in matters of public record have the same privacy rights as all other patients. Media inquiries may be referred to the respective government office.
Five common media scenarios
Here are five common scenarios and how Community Relations responds to media inquiries:
- A reporter asks about a patient, but does not have a name — No information can be released.
- A reporter asks about a patient by name — A “one-word condition report.”
- A reporter asks about a patient by name who has “opted out” of “standard practice,” or about any patient case that involves psychiatric care; suicide; substance, physical or sexual abuse; or HIV and AIDS — No information can be released.
- A reporter asks about a patient (either by name or not) who has signed a written authorization allowing release of information to media — The information specified in the signed authorization can be given.
- A reporter asks about a patient (either by name or not) who has designated a “personal representative” to respond to media inquiries on their behalf — The reporter is forwarded or referred to the personal representative. No information is released by Tuality Healthcare.