Because it is the Public Information Department's responsibility to answer questions for the local media, all inquiries made during normal business hours should be directed to a media relations representative at 704-355-3141. After hours, should someone need more than routine information, as in instances of breaking news, a designated representative is always available and may be reached nights, weekends and holidays by calling 704-355-2000 and asking that Public Information be paged.
Outside of regular business hours, other officials aid the Public Information Department by providing such non-confidential information as listed condition unless the patient or family has requested that it be withheld. A patient has the option to expressly forbid release of any information, including confirmation of his or her presence in the facility. No information about a patient can be given if a request does not include a specific patient’s name. In instances of disaster or involving mass casualties, when release of information would help to dispel public anxiety, general information may be shared such as the number of patients who have been brought to the facility, including gender or age group.
Patient Condition Reports:
("Stable" should never be used, alone or in conjunction with any category listed above.)
This concerns wrecks, fires and other police cases which are matters of public record. Between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekdays, direct any questions about these patients to Scott White or Nancy Ryan in Public Information (704-355-3141). After hours, call the appropriate number on the attached list.
General Information to be Released: The media may be told only the one-word patient condition. Information about a patient’s death may be released only after next-of-kin have been notified.
General Information Withheld: A patient's name will never be released. Patients' right to privacy demands that no statement be made as to diagnosis, whether a person was intoxicated, poisoned, or whether the injuries were because of sexual assault, attempted suicide or suicide. By N.C. law, we will also keep confidential all information including acknowledgement that an individual is a patient at a psychiatric or substance abuse treatment facility.
Releasing the cause of death in a case under the Medical Examiner's jurisdiction will be the responsibility of the Medical Examiner, not the hospital. Hospitals are prohibited from sharing information with the media on the specifics about sudden, violent or accidental deaths as well as deaths from natural causes without the permission of the decedent’s next-of-kin or other legal representative.
The media must not contact patients directly. Requests for interviews or photographs must be directed to Public Information. To protect the privacy of our patients, and to avoid unnecessary distractions of the medical staff, Public Information will obtain consents and make arrangements for the media to take pictures and conduct interviews, if authorized. To allow interviews or photographs without consent would be a privacy law violation. Photographs, video and audio tapes, live transmission from hospital grounds and patient interviews must be coordinated by a representative from Public Information.
Public Information can save the media and the attending physician time when it comes to requests for interviews. Public Information will ask the physician if he or she will talk to the media and when.
The birth of a baby is public record and the hospital handles questions in the same way as for any other patient.
After hours, information about patient conditions may be accessed at these CHS facilities via the following numbers:
All others, call 704-355-2000 and ask for the Public Information representative on-call.