Legal Matters: How to Work with the Media On-Site Without Violating HIPAA
Q & A with Jennifer Perry, Counsel at Gray Reed & McGraw
// By Lisa D. Ellis //
Next time you get a request for a media interview on-site, or you’re planning a special public relations event, you may want to think twice—or at least make sure you proceed cautiously. Here’s why:
Health care marketers today face many conflicting priorities, such as: Promote your organization widely. Protect patient privacy. Develop strong relationships with the media. Prevent journalists from coming into protected areas. Personalize your service lines. Don’t share patient names and details. Can all of these goals happen simultaneously without violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?
The answer is yes (at least sometimes), according to Jennifer Perry, counsel in the health care practice of Texas-based law firm Gray Reed & McGraw. But she points out that achieving the right balance requires a well-thought-out, formal media policy, along with training for everyone involved on how to follow it properly, and adequate support from your leadership and staff to make this a priority.
Therefore, to help demystify the process for readers, we recently asked Perry to share her legal expertise on what organizations should know about working with the media and having them on-site, as well as when it’s better to play it safe and decline media coverage so you don’t venture into dangerous territory.
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