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Welcome to the Newsroom at Samaritan Health Services

For members of the media, you’ll find background information on Samaritan, our media relations policy and department contact information. We also encourage you to follow us on our social channels.

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Media Relations Policy

To effectively welcome the media to Samaritan Health Services, the Marketing & Communications department has established the following guidelines for arranging interviews, videotape sessions or photo opportunities.

  • Please call Marketing & Communications to arrange all interviews or background conversations with any member of Samaritan Health Services’ staff. Marketing & Communications tracks all inquiries from the media, and when appropriate, can provide additional or more appropriate sources for your story. 
  • Reporters must identify Samaritan Health Services’ staff by their professional title in stories related to the staff member’s work or role at Samaritan.
  • Reporters are asked to use the complete name of the institution – Samaritan Health Services - when referring to it in a print or broadcast story. If referring to another affiliated entity of Samaritan Health Services, please verify appropriate doing business as name by using Samaritan’s online location directory.
  • Advance notice of on-site interviews is necessary so Marketing & Communications staff can arrange interview location, notify the patient care areas involved and obtain authorization from any patients, family members or staff for your story.
  • To protect the privacy of all other Samaritan patients and families, Marketing & Communications must accompany all reporters, film crews and photographers at any Samaritan-affiliated campus or location. No patient-identifying information, including patient faces, can be recorded without consent (even if their faces or information will be ‘blurred’ by media personnel later).
  • In general, a patient’s authorization is required in order for Samaritan Health Services to provide identifiable patient information to members of the media. Samaritan Health Services may provide members of the media with a one-word condition report (e.g. ‘good,’ ‘fair,’ or ‘critical’) without first obtaining the patient’s authorization when the media representative asks for an update on the patient’s status by name, and the patient does not object.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, along with other state and federal laws and regulations, provide privacy protections to Samaritan Health Services patients and members. Among other things, these rules and regulations govern what information Samaritan can share with the media, and in what circumstances. Below are the guidelines Samaritan follows in responding to media requests about its patients, when appropriate:

When Media Asks About a Patient by Name

When a reporter asks about a Samaritan hospital patient, Samaritan may share the patient’s general condition ONLY if:

  1. The media representative specifically requests the patient by name, and the patient (or their legal guardian on the patient’s behalf) has not opted out of Samaritan’s facility directory or otherwise objected to information being shared with the media.
  2. If the patient is unconscious or incapable of making their own health care decisions, Samaritan will provide a condition report to the media ONLY if Samaritan determines that the disclosure to the media would be in the patient’s best interest.

Patients can find more information about Samaritan’s facility directory, including how to opt out of this process, in the Notice of Privacy Practices.

Condition Definitions

The following are the one-word condition updates Samaritan may provide when the media requests an update on a patient by name (and the patient has not opted out of this process as described above):

  • Undetermined—Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment.
  • 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. 
If a reporter provides a minor patient’s name and requests a one-word condition report on the patient, Samaritan will only provide that information if the patient’s parent or legal guardian has not opted the minor patient out of Samaritan’s facility directory as described above. If the minor patient is able to consent to care under state law, the minor patient may decide on their own whether or not to be listed in the facility directory. 

Public figures and celebrities are not subject to different standards than other patients with respect to the privacy of that person’s information. There is no public information exception to HIPAA, so even if information on a public figure or celebrity’s care becomes known publicly, either by the patient directly or from others, Samaritan will not disclose any information to the media without authorization or, if the patient did not object to being listed in Samaritan’s facility directory, a one-word condition report.

Samaritan may report the death of a patient to the appropriate authorities, as required by law. However, Samaritan will not disclose a patient’s cause of death, date of death or time of death to the media, even if that information becomes publicly known. 

The following activities require written authorization from the patient: 

  • Drafting a detailed statement (i.e., anything beyond the one-word condition) for approval by the patient or the patient’s legal representative.
  • Taking photographs of patients.
  • Interviewing patients.

If reporters are invited into a hospital by a patient or the patient’s family, the media must contact the hospital’s Marketing & Communications representative to make arrangements before entering the hospital.

Marketing & Communications staff will always accompany reporters to ensure the privacy of other hospital patients.

Samaritan will deny the media access to the patient if it is determined that the presence of photographers or reporters will aggravate the patient’s condition or interfere with patient care.

If the patient is a minor, permission for any of these activities generally must be obtained from a parent or legal guardian, unless the minor is able to consent for care on their own under state law. 

Matters of public record refer to situations that are reportable by law to public authorities, such as law enforcement agencies, the coroner, or public health officers.

Patients who are involved in matters of public record have the same privacy rights as all other patients. While laws and/or regulations require health care facilities to report a variety of information to public authorities, Samaritan still may not share that information with others, including the media, unless permitted or required by law. 

Staff in the department of Marketing & Communications are available to assist local, regional, national and international news media in answering questions about Samaritan Health Services and its affiliated-entities, locating an expert spokesperson or obtaining more information about a news release or event.

Members of the media who require assistance after hours, on the weekends or holidays should contact Marketing & Communications by sending an email to samaritanhealthservices@samhealth.org.

Please see Media Policy for further information.

Department Contact Information

Phone: 541-768-4752

Email: samaritanhealthservices@samhealth.org

Public Relations Staff 

Julie Manning, vice president
541-768-5172
email: juliem@samhealth.org  

Evonne Walls, director of Marketing & Communications
541-768-4241
email: ewalls@samhealth.org  

Albany & Lebanon
Erin Crain, public information officer
Albany: 541-812-4638
Lebanon: 541-451-7161
email: ecausey@samhealth.org  

Corvallis
Ian Rollins, public information officer
541-768-5090
email: irollins@samhealth.org  

Lincoln City & Newport
Mary Jo Kerlin, public information officer
Lincoln City: 541-557-6208
Newport: 541-574-4898
email: mkerlin@samhealth.org

 
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