Media Center Policies
All media inquiries and visits to Baptist facilities must be coordinated through the Baptist Corporate Communication department’s Public Relations staff. Baptist’s PR team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist journalists with covering breaking news, news media events and coordinating news media interviews at Baptist Memorial Health Care entities. The top priority at Baptist, however, remains providing top-quality patient care. That commitment includes protecting the privacy and interests of all Baptist patients.
Accessing Patient Information
Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its patients and patient information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandated regulations that govern privacy standards for health care information.
As a result of those privacy standards, all news media inquiries must contain the patient’s name before a hospital Public Relations representative can release any information about that patient. Unless the patient has requested to be removed from the hospital directory or falls into a “no publicity” category, a one-word condition report may be released to news media. If a patient requests confidentiality, the staff cannot acknowledge the patient’s presence at the hospital.
Any information beyond that one-word condition, including requests to interview, film or photograph a patient, requires a written authorization from the patient, obtained through the PR division.
Definitions of Patient Conditions
- Undetermined: Patient awaiting physician and 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.
Media Visits to Any Baptist Facility
All visits by news media to any Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation facility must receive prior clearance through the Public Relations division. A Public Relations representative will escort all journalists, photographers, videographers or any other news media personnel while they are on a Baptist campus. The PR staff member will be present during all interviews and/or filming or photography sessions.
All media inquires must be directed through the Public Relations division, which includes requests for interviews with Baptist patients, physicians or employees. It is necessary for all patients being interviewed to sign an authorization form. A Public Relations staff member must escort any news media representatives during campus visits and will be present during all interviews.
Upon approval from the Public Relations division and once appropriate patient authorization forms have been signed, news media may photograph and videotape at Baptist facilities. However, a Baptist Public Relations representative must be present at all times. Patients may not be photographed or videotaped in such a way as to be recognized, unless the patient, parent or other responsible party signs a Baptist news media authorization form.
Any news media use of "hidden" devices to audiotape, videotape, video-image and/or photograph inside a Baptist entity is expressly forbidden as it compromises patient privacy and confidentiality.
Disaster and Emergency Situations
The Baptist Public Relations division understands the news media’s need for timely and accurate information during an emergency or disaster situation. Therefore, media briefing sites have been identified at each Baptist facility and will be set up by the PR staff if an emergency or disaster situation arises. All news media representatives should report to this designated site, where the PR staff will distribute media credentials. At this location, PR staff members will assist journalists in getting appropriate information and interviews, and will give timely news updates.
In some cases, access to Baptist facilities may be restricted or denied depending on the crisis situation. However, the Public Relations staff will make every reasonable effort to continue to provide updated information to news media representatives.