Thank you for visiting the Hurley Medical Center Media Policy page. We value the services provided by the news media, and it is our privilege to make your job easier in covering the health care world, facilities, medical services and community resources. Please read the information below to familiarize yourself with the services provided here, and feel free to let us know how we might make this service an even more valuable resource for you in the future.
The Public Relations Department responds to media inquiries and disseminates news about Hurley Medical Center, its patients, services and medical experts. While we strive to provide quality media assistance and access to our facilities and expert resources, our top priority is protecting the privacy and security of the patients we serve. Therefore, Hurley Medical Center’s Public Relations Department strictly follow federal guidelines regarding patient confidentiality matters as outlined by the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy.
Policies and Procedures for Media
The Public Relations Department is responsible for all media relations for Hurley Medical Center. This includes disseminating all press releases and handling all media inquiries. The Public Relations Director is the official Hurley Medical Center contact during a crisis situation and in all matters concerning organizational policy, services, programs, procedures, patients and employees.
Hurley’s Public Relations Director can be reached during normal business hours, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, at (810) 262-7164. After hours, Ilene Cantor can be reached by paging (810)-972-0163 or by calling the Hurley operator at (810) 262-9000 and asking for the Public Relations Director on-call to be paged.
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 healthcare institutions to safeguard the privacy and integrity of patients and their personal health information.
Hurley Medical Center 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, Hurley may refrain from releasing information about a patient involving cases of a sensitive nature or to ensure their security.
All media inquiries for information about patients must be coordinated through Public Relations. The following standards have been established for news media inquiries about the status of patients:
- All media inquiries must include the specific patient’s name and exact spelling.
- As long as the patient has not requested that information be withheld, we may release a one-word condition (see below) about the patient.
- 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 one-word condition rule 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 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.
Below are the conditions approved by the American Hospital Association for release about a patient:
Undetermined – Patient awaiting physician assessment.
Good – Excellent or good prognosis. Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable.
Fair – Favorable prognosis. Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable. Patient is experiencing minor complications.
Serious – Acutely ill with questionable prognosis. Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. There is a chance for improved prognosis.
Critical – Questionable prognosis. Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Major complications are involved.
- The term “stable” will not be used as a condition.
Death of a patient – A patient’s death cannot be reported or confirmed until efforts have been made by the attending physician to notify the patient’s next-of-kin. At that time, and unless the deceased’s legal representative requests that the information be withheld, Public Relations staff may report only that the patient is deceased. No other information may be provided such as the time or cause of death without individual authorization from a personal representative of the deceased.
According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals cannot share information with the media on the specifics about the circumstances of a death without permission of the deceased’s next-of-kin or other legal representative.
For Media Coming to Hurley Medical Center
All media interviews or photographs with Hurley Medical Center patients, administrators, physicians and employees must be cleared through the Public Relations Department. While on the property of any Hurley Medical Center owned or operated facility or clinical practice, members of the media always must be accompanied by a Public Relations or Marketing Department staff member or authorized Hurley Medical Center representative designated by Public Relations.
Media crews, reporters, videographers and photographers who enter any Hurley Medical Center property without clearance will be stopped by security and asked to go to the lobby area until a Public Relations staff member can be contacted. This policy is in effect to secure the confidentiality of our patients in concurrence with the American Hospital Association and HIPPA guidelines.
Access to Patient Care Areas
Media access may be limited or denied to any area of a Hurley Medical Center facility at the discretion of patients’ healthcare teams or individual physicians.
When at a Hurley Medical Center facility, media crews must park in spaces specifically designated for parking unless otherwise authorized by Public Relations. Please do not block patient access entrances to Hurley Medical Center, or the Emergency Department entrance. Media crews are prohibited from parking in emergency vehicle parking areas.