Fisher-Titus Medical Center Guidelines for Release of a Patient's General Condition and Location
A patient condition can be provided to the media only if the reporter provides the patient's first and last name and that patient is listed in the Patient Directory. Federal privacy guidelines under HIPAA restrict the amount of information that can be released about a patient to a single word condition and the patient's general location in the hospital (provided it does not reveal prohibited information, such as that the patient is being treated for substance abuse).
Use the terms:
- Undetermined: Patient 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: Vitals 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.
- Treated and Released: Patient received treatment but was not admitted.
- Treated and Transferred: Received treatment. Transferred to a different facility. (Although you may disclose that a patient was treated and released, you may not release information regarding the date of release or where the patient went upon release without patient authorization.) Note: The term "stable" is not an accurate description of a patient's condition and should not be used.
- Death: If a patient has not "opted out" of the hospital's directory and a reporter asks about the patient by name, the hospital may disclose the patient's general condition, including death, only if that information is included in the hospital's directory. Attempts to notify next-of-kin must be made before this happens. A hospital may not disclose information regarding the date, time or cause of death. Information regarding cause of death must come from the patient's physician, and its release must be approved by a legal representative of the deceased.
When a death is investigated by the county coroner, questions about the cause of death should be addressed to that public office.
If a patient is unable to communicate for the purpose of objecting to or restricting the use of directory information, such information can be released only if any past preferences are known and disclosure is in the best interests of the patient, in the professional judgment of the medical services provider. Again, general condition of the patient can be released only if the reporter asks for the patient by name
Minor children: HIPAA Guidelines are meant to preserve state laws regarding minors. Information about minors (under the age of 18) may have information released with the consent of a parent or legal guardian, following the preceding guidelines.
Patient Condition Access – Daytime
For patient condition information during normal business hours, media should call:
- Marketing/Public Relations Specialist 419-660-2696
- Director of Marketing/Public Relations 419-660-2545
Patient Condition Access – After Hours
After normal business hours, or in the absence of Marketing/Public Relations staff, Clinical Coordinators on-duty are authorized to release General Condition and Location information to the media.
If there is any question about release of information after hours, call the Fisher-Titus Medical Center Switchboard and they will call Director of Marketing and Public Relations.