Media information

Adventist Health’s communication department is available to answer news media questions about our services, locate an expert spokesperson or provide more information about a news release or event.

Public Information Officer

Phone: 559-707-5147

E-mail: CorpComm@ah.org

Information for the media

About Adventist Health

At Adventist Health, we value media and have a team dedicated to helping members of the media gather information and interviews to enhance their stories.

To protect patient privacy and confidentiality (see HIPAA guidelines, below) and to accommodate requests for interviews and information in a timely and accurate manner, we ask members of the media to follow these guidelines:

  • All requests for patient conditions must go through the communication department.
  • While on hospital property, all media representatives must be accompanied by a communication representative at all times.
  • Anyone entering the hospital with a camera (still or video) must be accompanied by a communication representative.
  • All requests for filming of any type must be made in advance by calling the communication department.
  • All patients who agree to be interviewed, photographed or filmed on hospital property for any reason must provide written consent to the communication department. Only patients who give this consent may be interviewed, photographed or filmed.

Interview requests and expert spokespersons

To schedule an interview with an Adventist Health physician, administrator or patient, please contact a member of the communication team at 559-707-5147 or send an email to CorpComm@ah.org. Please provide us with your deadline so we can do our best to accommodate your request in a timely manner.

HIPAA guidelines for releasing information on the condition of patients

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets standards that all healthcare institutions follow to safeguard patient privacy and confidentiality.

In general, information about a patient may be released if it is included in the hospital's directory and if the patient has not specified that no information be released.

More specifically, Adventist Health uses the following American Hospital Association guidelines for release of patient information to the public and the media:

Inquiries must identify the patient by name — Information about the patient's general condition and location of an inpatient, outpatient or emergency department patient may be released only if the inquiry specifically identifies the patient by name. No information may be given if a request does not include a specific patient's name or if the patient requests the information not be released. This includes inquiries from the media.

Release of patient's general condition and location — As long as the patient has not requested information be withheld, the communication department may release the patient's one-word condition and location to individuals who inquire about the patient by name, without obtaining prior patient authorization. This includes inquiries from the media.

Patient condition information — The communication department releases official patient information to media. In keeping with the guidelines of the American Hospital Association, we provide a one-word patient condition — undetermined, good, fair, serious or critical — unless otherwise instructed by the patient. Patient conditions are defined in accordance with the following AHA standards:

  • 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 is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
  • Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.

If a patient has not specified that no information may be released, a hospital may disclose that a patient was treated and released. However, without patient authorization, we may not release information to the media regarding the date of release or where the patient went upon release.

In summary, Adventist Health may release patient condition and location information only if:

  • The inquiry includes the patient’s full name
  • The patient has not stated he or she does not want information released, including information confirming his or her presence in the hospital
  • In the hospital's professional judgment, releasing such information would be in the patient's best interest

Death of a patient — The death of a patient may be reported to the authorities by Adventist Health, as required by law. Under HIPAA, hospitals cannot share information with the media on the specifics about deaths without the permission of the decedent's next of kin or other legal representative. A hospital also may not disclose information regarding the date, time or cause of death to the media. Law enforcement officials oftentimes are a better source for this type of information.