Media Policy

Thank you for visiting the St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) Media Relations Policy page. As the region’s largest health system, we greatly value our working relationships with the news media and serving as a resource for the community. We have established the following guidelines to help facilitate media requests.

Policies and Procedures for Media

The Corporate Communications Department is the official contact for all media relations efforts at SPHP. This includes distributing news releases; and handling all media inquiries concerning organizational policy, programs, services, patients, and employees.

We will always strive to provide high-quality, accurate, and timely assistance to credentialed journalists. Please note, however, that our top priority is protecting the privacy, health, and safety of the patients we serve, as well as the health and safety of our employees.

To help us better help you, we request your cooperation with the following guidelines:

    • The more advanced notice and background information you can provide, the more effective we can be in identifying and providing the best available resources, experts, and patients for your story.
    • All media interviews, photography, and videography with SPHP patients, administrators, physicians, and employees must be coordinated through Corporate Communications.
    • While on the property of any SPHP facility, members of the media must be accompanied by a Corporate Communications staff member, or an authorized representative designated by Corporate Communications. Unaccompanied media crews, reporters, videographers or photographers will be stopped by security.
    • If you interview an SPHP employee for a story related to SPHP, please identify the person’s title or role at our organization.
    • SPHP strictly follows patient confidentiality regulations as outlined by HIPAA. (Please see “Patient Privacy & Conditions” below.)
    • If reporting from public property outside or near an SPHP hospital or other location, take care not to block access to hospital streets, entrances, or areas designated for patients or ambulances.

A media relations representative from Corporate Communications may be reached during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 518-525-1232. Members of the media who require assistance after hours, on the weekends or on holidays should call 518-525-1550, and ask for the Corporate Communications representative on-call to be paged.

Patient Privacy & Condition Guidelines

Federal regulations contained in the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) restrict the amount of information we can release about a patient. As approved by the American Hospital Association, we can provide you with a one-word condition on a patient’s medical status. This one-word condition can be given when a credentialed journalist provides the specific patient’s name and exact spelling, and only if the patient has not requested that information be withheld.

Release of any medical information beyond the condition requires written authorization by the patient or patient’s legal representative. Videotaped or tape-recorded interviews, photographs or any other interaction with a patient also requires written patient authorization.

Patients involved in matters of public record retain the same privacy rights as all other patients. Media inquiries about patients who have been transported to our hospital from an accident, crime scene, or the scene of a fire or other disaster, will be referred to the appropriate public agency, such as law enforcement or fire/rescue transport agency. For more information about HIPAA, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy.

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