Guidelines on the release of patient information to the media and public
have a long history of working collaboratively with members of the media in the
state providing timely, accurate information about hospitalized patients.
Guidelines on the release of patient information, mandated by federal law under
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) went into
effect on April 14, 2003, re-emphasizing the legal obligations hospitals have
to protect the personal and medical privacy of our patients and their families.
The first obligation
of Minnesota health care organizations is to safeguard the life, health, privacy
and other legal rights of the patient. It is the policy of the Minnesota
Hospital Association and its member hospitals and health systems to cooperate
with the news media, in accordance with HIPAA privacy regulations.
HIPAA has set forth
minimum standards that hospitals must follow with regard to the release of
patient information. Individual hospitals may adopt more restrictive guidelines
than those required by HIPAA, according to their own needs as an organization.
Each patient must be
asked if they object to the release of patient information. In the case of
patients under age 18, a parent or guardian must be asked if they object to the
release of information about the patient.
a patient objects to the release of information, the objection should be noted,
and the public relations/media relations person should be immediately informed,
whenever possible. No information,
including directory information, will be provided to anyone.