Q&A: Members of the media and patient privacy

January 11, 2018
Medicare Web

Q. If a news crew is reporting on an event or a notable individual who is a patient and they have a film crew stationed outside the hospital, are we responsible under HIPAA for stopping them? If ambulances and patients are visible in the background, is that a HIPAA violation? Can we go off of our property to ask them to move or remove their cameras?

A. Your organization’s media relations staff should be involved in handling these situations. If the news media is filming ambulances and people from a public street, that is acceptable. They should not be permitted to film on hospital premises without the consent of patients or their family members. It’s a good idea for the hospital’s media relations staff to get this consent in writing to protect the hospital.

Editor's note: This question was answered by Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS. Brandt is a healthcare consultant specializing in healthcare regulatory compliance and operations improvement. She is also an advisory board member for BOH. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent HCPro or ACDIS. Email your HIPAA questions to Editor Nicole Votta at nvotta@hcpro.com.

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Ask the Expert, HIPAA