WellStar Public Relations
The WellStar Public Relations Department is committed to working with the media and prides itself on responding to requests in a timely manner. If you are a member of the news media and have an urgent request, you can reach a WellStar representative 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week on WellStar Public Relations Department’s media smart phone.
WellStar Patient Information
The privacy of all WellStar patients and their families is of utmost importance. All media representatives are required to be escourted by a member of the WellStar Public Relations Department at all times while on WellStar property. Requests for all staff and patient interviews must also be coordinated through a public relations representative.
Releasing Information about WellStar Patients
WellStar follows the American Hospital Association’s guidelines for releasing information on the condition of patients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandated regulations that govern privacy standards for healthcare information. HIPAA regulations specify the purposes for which information may and may not be released without authorization from the patient.
All inquiries must contain the patient’s name. Information about the condition and location of an inpatient, outpatient or Emergency Department patient may be released only if the inquiry specifically contains the patient's name. No information will be given if a request does not include a specific patient’s name.
There are times when a patient and/or their family wish to not have WellStar disclose the patient condition or presence at one of our facilities. They become a “No Info” patient within WellStar’s medical record system. In these instances, the on-call media relations representative will not provide any information to the news media even if they have the patient’s name.
Definitions of Patient Conditions
*Source: American Hospital Association and Georgia Hospital Association
Patient awaiting physician and assessment.
Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
The death of a patient is presumed to be a matter of record and may be reported after the next of kin and other appropriate family members (grandparents, divorced parents, etc.) have been notified. If the patient’s next of kin cannot be notified, no information will be released. Once the patient's next-of-kin is notified, place and time of death will be released. Information regarding the cause of death must come from the patient’s physician, and its release must be approved by a member of the immediate family.