SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Office of Communications & Marketing
Director, Media & Public Relations
Office of Communications and Marketing
Advance notice for interviews is necessary to allow staff to line-up experts, arrange for locations, obtain consents, and make any necessary parking and security arrangements.
To protect the privacy of patients and families, Media Relations must accompany all reporters, film crews, and photographers while on the Downstate campus.
Downstate complies with HIPAA guidelines. No patient condition information (other than a one-word description) is released to the media until Media Relations receives written consent from the patient to do so. In the case of a child, a parent or guardian must give written consent.
HIPAA Guidelines and Patient Condition Information
Downstate’s media policy is guided by federal patient privacy guidelines. No information can be released to the media if a patient has asked that information be withheld.
However, the Office of Communications & Marketing may release a one-word condition update, as determined appropriate by the treating physician, if patients choose to be listed in the hospital directory.
If a patient signs an authorization form, the Office of Communications & Marketing is allowed to release additional patient information for publicity purposes. If members of the media do not have the patient’s name, no information will be given out.
The standard definitions of the one-word descriptions, as approved by the American Hospital Association, are as follows:
The patient is awaiting physician assessment.
Vital signs, such as pulse, temperature, and blood pressure are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Outlook for recovery is good or excellent.
Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious. Patient is uncomfortable and may have minor complications. Favorable outlook.
Acutely ill with questionable outlook. Vital signs may be unstable or not within normal.
Questionable outlook. Vital signs are unstable or not within normal limits. There are serious complications; death may be imminent.