Media Policy

Gwinnett Medical Center values positive relationships with the news media. Staff will always try to meet your needs as it relates to news coverage; although a hospital media relations representative will assess each media request individually. Consideration will be given to timing (including physician availability) and if the presence of photographers or reporters would aggravate the patient's condition or interfere with overall patient care. For after-hours assistance, please call 770-362-5428 to reach the on-call media relations representative who is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Media may access any of our facilities with prior permission from the Marketing and Communications Office. All media visiting a GMC facility must be accompanied for the duration of their visit. Please call the representative so we can make arrangements to meet you.

Media Requirements
Federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations state that hospitals can release patient condition information if the caller has the patient's name. Then, we can release only the patient's condition. Further, we will not release any information or allow photography or videotaping to occur without patient’s prior written consent. For more information on HIPPA, visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/.

Patient Condition and Definitions
We have a duty to protect the confidentiality and privacy of our patients, and we adhere to federal HIPAA regulations. HIPAA sets standards that hospitals must follow with regard to the release of patient information. HIPAA regulations state that hospitals can release patient condition information if the caller has the patient's name, and if the patient has given us permission to do so. Then, we can release only the patient's condition and his/her general location within the hospital, unless the location would indicate the type of care the patient is receiving. Patient conditions are defined as the following:

  • 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.
  • Undetermined: Physician has not had ample time to diagnose the patient's problems/condition and arrive at a diagnosis and prognosis.
  • Deceased: Next of kin must first be notified. Information regarding the cause of death must come from the patient's physician and a legal representative of the deceased must approve its release.
  • No Information Available: Patients have the right to request that no information be released, in which case we will inform media representatives that the person is either not a patient or has requested that no information be provided.

No Information Patients
According to federal HIPAA regulations, a “no information” patient has designated that he or she does not want any information available to the public and as extension, the media. This designation requires that the hospital staff not acknowledge the patient's presence in the hospital. Please do not ask us to make exceptions. This is designed to provide the greatest security and privacy for the patient.