Practices & Policies

Embargoed materials: Journalists who agree to withhold information until a predicated publication date will be provided advance access to relevant materials for the purpose of preparing stories. The reporter’s consent must be received before a token to the protected content is provided.

Patient conditions: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules laws mandate that reporters provide a patient’s name in order to receive a one-word patient condition (“satisfactory,” “serious” or “critical”). Without a name, we can neither release a condition nor confirm whether the person is a patient. Additionally, if a patient has requested not to be listed in the hospital’s census, we can provide no information at all. Find additional HIPAA context for reporters.  

If a patient signs the Publicity Authorization (UW1874, PDF), more information such as age and specific injury/condition may be disclosed by medical providers.

Guidelines for media at medical centers: Because of the potential to violate patients’ federally guaranteed right to privacy, no filming inside or outside medical and health sciences facilities may take place without an escort or previously arranged authorization from a UW Medicine & UW Health Sciences media representative. Any patient who will prospectively be filmed or photographed must have signed the Publicity Authorization (UW1874).

Topic expertise: We frequently receive media requests for comment from UW faculty who have established expertise in fields of research, education and clinical care. We try to answer all such requests as quickly as possible.