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Kent Hospital
Kent Hospital

Media Relations Policy

PURPOSE:
To appropriate ensure the public image of Kent Hospital, assure consistency with hospital policies/positions, help preserve the confidentiality of patient information, and to provide media outlets with accurate and timely access to information. This policy enables Kent Hospital to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, which governs privacy standards for health care information.

POLICY:
It is the responsibility of the Marketing & Public Relations Department to coordinate all proactive and reactive statements to the news media on behalf of the hospital, its employees and members of the medical staff, as well as its patients.

PROCEDURES:

  1. All requests for interviews, information, photographs or video/film images involving patients, their families and or visitors to the hospital require advance consent and completion of a Media Release Form. For newborn, minor or incompetent patients, parental/legal guardian consent and signature are required. Patient interviews may also be subject to the approval of the attending physician.
  2. It is the policy of Kent Hospital that any employee or physician who is contacted by the news media during regular business hours will refer the call to the Marketing and Public Relations Department.
  3. A Marketing & Public Relations representative is directly available to the media during weekday business hours at 401-737-7010, extension 1395. At other times (nights, weekends and holidays), media calls to the hospital (401-737-7000) will be referred to the Administrative Nursing Supervisor who is responsible for fielding the inquiry, determining the need to contact the on-call designee of the Marketing & Public Relations Department, and in the event of an interview, photograph or video request, obtaining the appropriate patient consents and a signed Media Release form
  4. Information about the condition of an inpatient, outpatient or emergency department patient may be released only if the media inquiry specifically contains the patient’s name and as long as the patient has not requested that the information be withheld (under HIPAA regulations). If these criteria are met, a patient condition (noted below) may be released without obtaining prior patient authorization.

The following patient condition responses will be provided by Kent Hospital (and the condition defined as indicated):

Undergoing Evaluation: The patient is being assessed by the physician(s).

Good: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. The 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.

Transferred: Patient was treated at Kent Hospital and has been transferred to another facility.

Treated and Released: Patient received treatment but was not admitted.

Deceased: The death of a patient is a matter of public record, but this information is released by the hospital only after a next of kin has been notified. A time of death will be provided.

Obstetric patient conditions will be typically reported as “good” or “fair”. No further information, including whether a baby has been delivered, the general or condition of the baby, can be released without patient consent.

Media Contacts
During weekday business hours, contact the Marketing & Public Relations Department at 401-737-7010, ext. 1395.

After hours, weekends or nights, a Kent PR representative is always available to respond to media working on time-sensitive stories. Dial 401-737-7000 and ask the Operator to page the public relations representative on call:

  • Jim Beardsworth, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
    Click here to e-mail Jim Beardsworth
  • Rebecca M. Lukowicz, Public Relations Specialist
    Click here to e-mail Rebecca M. Lukowicz
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