The Office of Public Affairs provides support and assistance to members of the News Media and community organizations:
Communicating with the Public and other stakeholders about how we provide exceptional healthcare to Veterans is vital to the work we do. Towards that end, we make every attempt to assist News Media in their newsgathering, to provide access to our facilities, and to make expert resources available. Our top priority, however, is protecting the privacy and security of the patients we serve.
Please contact the Public Affairs Officer if you are interested in locating a VA official or subject matter expert for a story. Patients, in particular, must agree to be interviewed and photographed and must sign a consent form.
We strictly adhere to federal guidelines regarding patient privacy as outlined by the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). To protect our patients' privacy, we require all reporters and photographers visiting our facilities to be escorted by a Public Affairs staff member. Media access may be limited or denied to any area of a facility at the discretion of the healthcare system director, the patients' healthcare team or individual physicians.
We are responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our patients and patient information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) governs privacy standards for healthcare information. If a patient has agreed to be listed in our hospital directory, we can provide a one-word condition after the patient's correct first and last name, including exact spelling, are provided. If a patient has opted out of our directory or chooses not to have a condition released, staff will not be able to provide a condition update or even acknowledge that the individual is a patient. Our response will be "I have no information available for a person by that name."
We can confirm if we are or are not receiving victims of a particular incident or accident. In the case of disasters, we will provide the number of patients, the nature of injuries as we know them at the time, gender and range of ages. Once the patients have arrived and are being treated in the emergency department, we will not have additional information to provide until the