Allegheny Health Network’s media relations team is dedicated to providing reporters and other members of the news media with the assistance they need. To facilitate this process in a timely and effective manner, we have established the following guidelines for requesting Network or patient information, patient interviews, interviews with physicians or other Network representatives or the shooting of photography or video for news purposes at any of our clinical campuses.
· Please contact a member of the Media Relations team directly to request information or arrange for interviews or photographs involving a patient or member of the AHN staff. During off hours or weekends, members of the Media Relations team can be reached via their mobile phones or by calling 412-359-3131 and asking the operator to page the media relations on call representative.
· All on-site interviews or photographs involving patients and/or Network staff must be cleared in advance by the Media Relations team. Such advance notice will help us ensure that the facilitation of media requests is conducted in an effective and efficient manner, while also ensuring that patient privacy and confidentiality are respected and safeguarded at all times.
· Reporters, film crews, photographers and any other member of the news media must always be accompanied by a representative of the Media Relation team while on any Network clinical campus. The Network media relations representative will secure a signed release from patients involved in a news story prior to filming, photographs or interview, and secure all appropriate clearances for such activity on Network campuses.
Allegheny Health Network is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its patients and their medical information as mandated by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In accordance with HIPAA regulations, the following policies are strictly followed by the Media Relations team:
In most cases, we will be able to provide a one word condition to describe the patient’s status – good, fair, serious or critical. The extent or nature of a patient’s injuries will not be disclosed under any circumstance without the direct, written consent of the patient. Patient conditions are defined as follows:
1. Undetermined – Patient is still in the process of being assessed by the medical team.
2. Good – Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
3. Fair – Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
4. Serious – Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill.
5. Critical – Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious.
The victims of assault or other crimes are often listed under a “protective status” as a measure of security and their names are not included in the hospital’s patient directory. In such circumstances, we cannot provide any information pertaining to the patient, including confirmation of their admission to the hospital.
The Law also prohibits the release of any information to the media about patients admitted to the hospital for a psychiatric illness; and no information is provided on any patient under the age of 18 without the direct, written consent of the patient’s official legal guardian.
Reporters or other members of the media who wish to interview a patient of AHN who is currently in the hospital, must provide the AHN Media Relations team with the patient’s full name. If the patient’s name is included in the patient directory, we will make every effort to secure consent and accommodate the interview request.