Release of Patient Information
St. Mary’s is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its patients and patient information. HIPAA mandates regulations that govern privacy standards for healthcare information. HIPAA regulations specify the purposes for which information may and may not be released without authorization from the patient. This page provides you with St. Mary’s policy on the release of patient information.
Inquiries Identifying the Patient by Name
Information about the patient’s general condition will be released only if the inquiry specifically identifies the patient by name and that the patient is listed in the facility directory.* No information will be given if a request does not include a specific patient's name or if the patient requests that the information not be released.
Release of Patient’s General Condition and Location
As long as the patient has not requested that information be withheld, St. Mary’s may release the patient's one-word condition (good, fair, serious or critical) and general location to individuals who inquire about the patient by name or to clergy, without obtaining prior patient authorization.
For the one-word condition, the following terms will be used:
- 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.
- Deceased - St. Mary’s may disclose that a patient is deceased only after all effort has been made to inform the patient’s family. Information regarding the date, time or cause of death will not be shared with the media.
- Treated and released - Patient was treated by St. Mary’s but released. No information will be released regarding the date of the release or where the patient went upon release without patient authorization.
*If you are told the person you are looking for is not listed in our directory, it may mean: They are not a patient at the hospital or they are at the hospital but have asked to be excluded from the patient directory. In any of these cases, the hospital is NOT permitted to release any information, including confirming or denying that the person is a patient at our facility.