About Mercy

HIPAA and the Media


The release of information about a patient and his/her physical condition and care is regulated by Iowa and Federal Laws. Additionally, Iowa law prohibits the release of any information about patients receiving behavioral care services.

The Federal Health Insurance Portability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) prohibits the release of any Personal Health Information (PHI) without patient consent, including:

  • Name
  • Medical condition
  • Photographic image

Depending on a patient’s medical condition, acquiring such a consent may not be immediately possible. The nature of a patient’s injuries, or medical treatment being provided, can impact a patient’s decision-making capability and delay the release of information. If the patient is a minor, or unable to make an informed decision about his/her PHI, a family member, designated individual or member of medical staff can make that decision. No information will be released about patients who are unable to make informed decisions until a family member or designated individual arrives to make that decision on behalf of the patient.

A HIPAA consent can be revoked at any time by the patient, family member or designated individual acting for the patient.

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