To establish a standard policy for the release of information and to maintain a centralized channel of community with the local media, TOC has established the following guidelines. TOC recognizes the valuable role media plays in a free society. Our goal is to provide information that is accurate, official, and consistent.
Our policy includes cooperation with representatives of the news media in legitimate news-gathering activities, being mindful of legal concerns and patient confidentiality issues. Paramount in all our activities with the media is the health and well-being of our patients and their families; this must take precedence over our obligations to the media. The media policy is designed to protect the confidentiality of patients in compliance with privacy standards for healthcare information as dictated by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) as amended.
Under HIPAA guidelines, each of the health system’s hospitals will maintain a directory of patients who have given permission for information to be released regarding their presence in the hospital. A one-word condition report of each of these patients will be available when requested by the media.
According to TOC policy, the Department of Marketing and Public Relations has the responsibility and authority to manage communications with the media. The full cooperation of all TOC departments and personnel is critical to achieving our communications goals.
To maintain privacy and proper conditions for patient care and to control access to patient care areas as well as sensitive departments, all interviews, photographs, television and news-gathering requests must be approved in advance through the Department of Marketing and Public Relations. The Department of Marketing and Public Relations will notify the appropriate departments regarding media on TOC campus.
The taking of photos, video, or filming on TOC campuses is strictly prohibited unless the marketing director or a person designated by the marketing director approves. Media representatives (this includes all news reporters, camera crews, advertising agencies, photographers of any kind) should be met in the lobby and accompanied to the approved area by the marketing director or designee. Following the visit, the marketing director or designee will escort the media to their vehicle or to the parking area.
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 officers. While laws and/or regulations require health care facilities to report a variety of information to public authorities, it is not the responsibility of facilities to provide that information in response to calls or other inquiries from the media or other parties, including law enforcement officials. Instead, calls regarding matters of public record should be directed to the appropriate public authority.
Patients Involved in Matters of Public Record Patients who are involved in matters of public record have the same privacy rights as all other patients as far as the Institute is concerned.
Celebrities/Public Figures Celebrities, public figures and public officials have the same privacy rights as all other patients as far as the Institute is concerned. If a call is received regarding a celebrity, public figure or public official, information may be released only with the permission of the patient or legal authority.