Media Contact

The Office of Physician Relations, Business Development & Communications, oversees all public and media relations, marketing, community benefits and services for Good Samaritan Medical Center. We welcome media inquiries.

Contact

Monique Aleman, Vice President, Physician Relations, Business Development & Communications

508-427-3238 Office
508-427-3010 Fax
monique.aleman@steward.org

For media inquiries during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday), call the Office of Communications at 508-427-3238.

After normal business hours, call the medical center at 508-427-3000 and ask for the on-call media person to be paged.

Helpful Hints for the Media

To protect patient privacy and confidentiality (see HIPAA guidelines below) and to accommodate requests for interviews and information about the hospital, its staff, employees, and programs and services in a timely and accurate manner, Good Samaritan Medical Center asks members of the media to follow these guidelines:

  • All requests for patient conditions must go through the Office of Communication.
  • While on hospital property, all media representatives must be accompanied by a Communications representative at all times.
  • Anyone entering the hospital with a camera (still or video) must be accompanied by a Communications representative.
  • All requests for filming of any type must be made in advance by calling the Communications Office.
  • All patients who agree to be interviewed, photographed, or filmed on hospital property for any reason must provide written consent to the Communications Office. Only patients who give this consent may be interviewed, photographed, or filmed.

HIPAA Guidelines for Releasing Information on the Condition of Patients

Good Samaritan Medical Center has always placed the highest importance on patient privacy and confidentiality. The implementation of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 2003 has not substantially changed our policies and procedures in releasing patient information, but does ensure that all healthcare institutions follow the same guidelines to safeguard privacy and confidentiality.

In general, information about a patient may be released if it is included in the hospital’s directory and if the patient has not specified that no information is to be released.

Specifically, Good Samaritan uses the following American Hospital Association guidelines for release of patient information to the public and the media:

  • Inquiries must identify the patient by name --
    Information about the patient's general condition and location of an inpatient, outpatient or emergency department patient may be released only if the inquiry specifically identifies the patient by name. No information may be given if a request does not include a specific patient's name or if the patient requests that the information not be released. This includes inquiries from the press.
  • Release of patient's general condition and location --
    As long as the patient has not requested that information be withheld, Public Relations and Marketing may release the patient's one-word condition and location to individuals who inquire about the patient by name, without obtaining prior patient authorization. This includes inquiries from the press.
  • Patient condition information --
    The Public Relations Office releases all official patient information to media. In keeping with the guidelines of the American Hospital Association, we provide a one-word patient condition -- undetermined, good, fair, serious, or critical -- unless otherwise instructed by the patient. Patient conditions are defined in accordance with the following AHA standards:
    • Undetermined: Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment.
    • Good: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
    • Fair: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
    • Serious: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
    • Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.

Death of a Patient

The death of a patient may be reported to the authorities by the hospital, as required by law. Under HIPAA, hospitals cannot share information with the media on the specifics about sudden, violent or accidental deaths, or deaths from natural causes without the permission of the decedent’s next-of-kin or other legal representative. A hospital also may not disclose information regarding the date, time, or cause of death to the media.

If a Patient Is Treated and Released

If a patient has not specified that no information may be released, the hospital may disclose that a patient was treated and released. However, without patient authorization, it may not release information to the media regarding the date of release or where the patient went upon release.

In Summary

The hospital may release patient condition and location information only if:

  • the patient has not stated that he or she does not want information released, including information confirming his or her presence in the hospital.
  • in the hospital’s professional judgment, releasing such information would be in the patient’s best interest.

 


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