How do I contact the UMHS media relations team for more information
about a press release or to request help?
editors may call the UMHS media relations staff at (734) 764-2220,
8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also e-mail UMHSmedia@med.umich.edu
to reach the entire media team at once.
or after hours, call the UMHS operators at (734) 936-4000 and
ask to page the Public Relations team member on-call. (A UMHS PR
team member is on-call from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. 7 days a week).
can also e-mail our media coordinators individually:
Clinical research and care, administrative news, noteworthy patients, contact Kara Gavin at email@example.com, Katie Gazella at firstname.lastname@example.org or Krista Hopson at email@example.com.
Minute coordination and planning, various media inquiries, contact
Andi McDonnell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comprehensive Cancer Center, including all cancer-related research and care, contact Nicole Fawcett, email@example.com.
genetics, cell biology and biomedical research, contact Sally
Pobojewski at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at (734) 615-6912.
School Communications, including media relations, contact Mary
Beth Reilly at email@example.com.
awards and miscellaneous stories,
contact Jessica Soulliere, firstname.lastname@example.org (734) 764-2220.
and inquiries, contact Sam Jessie at email@example.com.
of Public Relations, contact Kallie Bila Michels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
do I arrange to do a story at UMHS or to interview a U-M doctor
Media Team provides assistance to news reporters, photographers
and video crews who wish to arrange phone interviews or in-person
sessions with UMHS physicians, scientists, staff and patients.
We find that
our assistance, whether in arranging a simple phone conversation
or an elaborate video shoot, makes the interaction go much more
smoothly for all involved. And, our assistance and presence is REQUIRED
for any visits by members of the media to UMHS facilities, in order
to protect patient confidentiality.
who will be interviewed on video or photographed within a UMHS facility
must sign a release form, available from our department. Please
call us at (734) 764-2220 or e-mail UMHSmedia@med.umich.edu
to arrange interviews, visits or patient interactions
do I get a condition report on a UMHS patient?
Due to patient
confidentiality requirements, the UMHS Media Team is available to
provide the media with a one-word condition reports on current patients
involved in accidents, fires, etc. Additional information on those
patients, and any information on other patients, is only released
as permitted by patients and their families. For a condition
on a UMHS patient, call (734)764-2220 Monday through Friday 8 a.m.
- 5 p.m.
For a patient
condition after hours or on weekends, call the UMHS operators
at (734) 936-4000 and ask to page the Public Relations team member
on-call. (A UMHS PR team member is on-call from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
seven days a week).
Services offered by the UMHS media relations team
The UMHS Media
Relations staff is available to field journalists' inquiries about
cutting-edge medical research, advances in patient care and general
health and fitness news.
releases and tipsheets via fax, mail and e-mail. To receive
UMHS releases and tipsheets, contact Kara
Gavin or Krista Hopson.
identifying and scheduling interviews
with expert sources from the U-M Medical School, M-CARE and U-M
hospitals and health centers. Complete logistical support for
broadcast or photography shoots is available; please give as much
notice as possible.
as field producers for video or radio interviews, including conducting
interviews when producers cannot accompany their crew.
with UMHS faculty and staff via our in-house broadcast-quality
ISDN line or the U-M satellite TV facility.
monthly package of sound bites and B-roll (called the U-M
Health Minute) which TV stations can use to produce consumer-oriented
health reports. Press releases on the same topics are available
to all media via fax or e-mail. Contact Andi
McDonnell for more information.
- Weekly radio
reports on health and medicine. Stations can call to tape
the professionally produced report or a selection of sound bites
they can use to build their own story. For more information, contact
- B-roll and
photographs, as available.
with the U-M News
& Information Services office on news and news issues.
the media team works with regard to the Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Michigan Health and Hospital
These guidelines were created by the Michigan Health and Hospital
Association and were adapted and approved by the University of
Michigan Health System.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acts
medical privacy regulations govern the use and release of a patient's
personal health information, also known as protected health
information. In the event state law or hospital policy is
more restrictive than the HIPAA privacy regulations, the more
restrictive law or policy will apply.
HIPAA privacy regulations, patients must be informed about how
their PHI will be used and given the opportunity to object to
or restrict the use or release of their information. Hospitals
may use and disclose PHI without a patients consent for
purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations. In
addition, the HIPAA privacy regulations have specific provisions
for the release of limited information about the patient without
the patient's authorization when someone specifically asks about
the patient by name. Unless a patient objects, the following
information may be placed in a hospital directory:
- the patient's
- the patient's
location in the health care provider's facility
- the patient's
condition, described in general terms that do not communicate
specific information about the individual
- the patient's
religious affiliation (may only be released to clergy clergy
do not have to inquire about a patient by name)
of this information for directory purposes may be made to members
of the clergy or, except for religious affiliation, to other persons
who ask for the individual by name.
privacy regulations establish a minimum acceptable threshold for
the use and release of a patients health information. State
and federal law, and hospital policies may establish stricter
Condition Reports and Information
Patient condition may be provided consistent with the limitations
imposed by the HIPAA privacy standards. If an inquiry is made
using the patients name, general condition information may
be provided that does not communicate specific information about
the individual. The American Hospital Association has suggested
the following one-word descriptions of a patient's general condition.
Patient awaiting physician assessment.
Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious
and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious
but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient
is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient
may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
and Released: Received treatment but not admitted.
and Transferred: Received treatment. Transferred to a different
HIPAA guidelines are meant to preserve current state laws regarding
minors. Generally, minor children (under the age of 18) may have
information released with the consent of a parent or legal guardian,
in accordance with the preceding guidelines.
The covered health care provider must provide patients with the
opportunity to object to the use and disclosure of directory information,
when feasible. The privacy regulations address situations where
the opportunity to object to or restrict the use or disclosure
of a patients health information in the hospitals
directory cannot be practicably provided because of an individual's
incapacity or emergency treatment circumstance. In such cases,
a covered health care provider may use or disclose an individual's
information in the hospitals directory if the use or disclosure
is (1) consistent with a prior expressed preference of the individual,
if any, that is known to the covered health care provider; and
(2) in the individual's best interest as determined by the covered
health care provider, in the exercise of professional judgment.
Both conditions must be true for a provider to release patient
information contained in the hospitals directory under HIPAA.
In addition to the limitations on release of a patients
health information imposed by the HIPAA privacy standards, state
and federal law also may impose specific limitations.For example,
some states have restrictions in place that do not allow the release
of any information concerning the HIV/AIDS status of a patient.
State laws may also specify that, for example, patients who are
involved in an alcohol or drug-treatment program are entitled
to complete confidentiality, including whether they are in fact
participating in the program or not.
Access to Patients
When the media want to interview or photograph a patient, a member
U-M Health System media team within the Department of Public Relations
and Marketing Communications will check with the appropriate
hospital staff to ensure the patient is physically and emotionally
capable. The Public Relations representative must obtain the patient's
permission. If the patient is a minor, permission must be obtained
from the parent or legal guardian.
If the patient
is under arrest, permission also must be obtained from the law
enforcement officer in charge of the patient's custody.
will be accompanied by a hospital
public relations professional at all times while in the hospital.
Hospitals or other covered entities, pursuant to the HIPAA privacy
regulations, may disclose information regarding a patients
health to a public or private entity authorized by law to assist
in disaster relief efforts. Information may also be released to
these types of organizations for the purpose of coordinating with
such entities in contacting a family member, personal representative,
or person directly responsible for a patient's care.
The hospital should report the death of a patient to the authorities
as required by law. Typically, public information about a death
will be disclosed after efforts have been made to notify the next-of-kin.
Information about the cause of death must come from the patient's
physician, and a legal representative of the deceased must approve
its release. This means that hospitals cannot share information
with the media on the specifics about sudden, violent or accidental
deaths, or deaths from natural causes, without the permission
of the decedents next-of-kin or other legal representative.
Police reports and other information about hospital patients are
often obtained by members of the media. Health care providers
are required to observe the general prohibitions against releasing
health information about patients that are found in the HIPAA
privacy standards, state statutes or regulations, and the common
law, regardless of what information is in the hands of public
agencies or the public in general.
Emergency Medical Services
EMS units or ambulance services that provide health care services
to patients and bill for those services electronically are considered
covered entities under HIPAA and are subject to the same restrictions
on use and disclosure of a patients information.
Members of the clergy frequently request access to names and locations
of patients in a hospital to determine if members of their congregations
have been admitted. Patient names, location, general condition
and religious affiliation may be released to members of the clergy
if a patient has not opted out of the hospitals directory.
A patient may ask that the hospital not include his or her name
and information in a hospital directory. A patient also may request
that religious affiliation not be included in the directory. If
the patient objects to inclusion of his or her name, clergy may
not be told that person is in the hospital. If the patient does
not object, clergy may receive the directory information without
asking for the patient by name.
For more information on HIPAA, go to the University of Michigan's
web site at www.med.umich.edu/hipaa/
or the Department of Health and Human Services web site at www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.