Release of Patient Information to the Media

It is the policy of Tallahassee Memorial to provide information to the public and news media in a manner that does not violate our patient’s right to privacy. All media requests for patient information should be made during business hours (8:30 am - 5 pm) by calling the Marketing & Communications office at 850-431-5875. Media requests for patient information after normal working hours, on weekends and holidays should be directed to the main number by calling 850-431-1155. The operator will notify the Nursing Supervisor, who will handle the request.

Patients Who Opt-In To The Hospital Directory

If a patient has agreed to be listed in the hospital directory, Tallahassee Memorial spokespersons may give the following information to the news media.

General Condition: Tallahassee Memorial uses the one-word patient conditions recommended by the American Hospital Association. Definitions of patient conditions are as follows:

  • Undetermined – Patient is awaiting physician and/or 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 may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
  • Critical – Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.

Death of Patient – HIPAA privacy regulations allow the use of “Deceased” as a patient condition to release for patients who were listed in the hospital directory and whose family members have been notified. Release of information regarding the date, time or cause of death of a patient requires authorization (signed consent) from a personal representative of the deceased.

Location - Media access to information regarding patient location may be denied if physicians determine that the presence of photographers or reporters would aggravate the patient’s condition or interfere with patient care.

Labor and Delivery Patients – The hospital may not release that a patient is in labor or has been released from labor and delivery without individual authorization.

Discharged Patients: It is permissible to tell the media that a patient has been discharged, providing the media has the patient’s full name, and providing the patient had agreed to be listed in the hospital directory. It is not permissible to release information regarding the date of release or where the patient went upon release.

Patients Not Listed In The Hospital Directory

Patients Who Cannot Express a Preference – In situations where a patient’s medical condition prevents hospital staff from obtaining the preference of a patient, or the patient’s guardian or personal representative, regarding being listed in the hospital directory, a patient condition will not be released. The hospital spokesperson will state that the hospital does not have any information about that person in the directory.

Patients Who Opt-Out of Hospital Directory – The HIPAA medical privacy rule strictly prohibits release of any information on any patient who has opted-out of the hospital directory. Any patient, or their guardian or personal representative, may choose to opt-in or opt-out of the hospital directory at any time during their stay at the hospital. The hospital spokesperson will state that the hospital does not have any information about that person in the directory.