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Release of Information to the Media

Brooke Army Medical Center recognizes that news media representatives need an accurate and prompt source of information to fulfill their responsibility to keep the public informed. However, with the release of such information to the media, BAMC must consider the health and welfare of the patient, laws and regulations affecting the release of patient information, and the privacy of the physician/patient relationship.

Hospitals and health systems are responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of their patients and patient information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandated regulations that govern privacy standards for health care information. HIPAA regulations specify the purposes for which information may and may not be released without authorization from the patient.

No patient information is given to the media, police, or insurance companies without being requested by complete patient name, including spelling.

Condition Reports

When requesting patient conditions, the hospital will provide one-word condition reports as follows:

The term “stable” should not be used as a condition. Furthermore, this term should not be used in combination with other conditions.

* Although a hospital may disclose that a patient was treated and released, it may not release information regarding the date of release or where the patient went upon release without patient authorization.

** Only provided once next-of-kin or a legal representative has been notified of the death, and the deceased has been released to the funeral home. The patient must be listed in the patient directory, and not opted out.

Patient Opt Out

Under the HIPAA privacy rule, the patient has the option to expressly state that he or she does not want information released, including information confirming his or her presence in the facility. Patients may choose to opt out at any time during their stay.