Patient Condition Report
For news media inquiries, please call the Communications Department at (207) 662-2196. After hours (nights and weekends), please page the on-call Communications representative at (207) 741-8221.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) medical privacy regulations govern the use and release of a patient's personal health information, also known as “protected health information” (PHI). It establishes a minimum acceptable threshold for the use and release of a patient’s health information. State and federal law and hospital policies may establish stricter standards.
Patient condition may be provided consistent with the limitations imposed by the HIPAA privacy standards. If an inquiry is made using the patient’s name (and proper spelling) general condition information may be provided that does not communicate specific information about the individual. Conditions will be reported, as follows:
Satisfactory: 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.
Treated and Released: Received treatment but not admitted.
Treated and Transferred: Received treatment; transferred to a different facility.
When the media want to interview or photograph a patient, the hospital's authorized spokesperson will check with the appropriate hospital staff to ensure the patient is physically and emotionally capable.
The hospital's authorized spokesperson 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. Media representatives will be accompanied by a hospital public relations professional or other appropriate staff at all times while in the hospital.
There are occasions when local and state law enforcement report information about someone who may be a patient. This does not mean that the hospital can disclose or confirm any information related to that patient.
Public information about a death will be disclosed after efforts have been made to notify the next-of-kin. 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 decedent’s next-of-kin or other legal representative.