Federal law (HIPAA) and regulations regarding the release of patient information by hospitals and health providers are followed stringently at Rutland Regional. These regulations specify how information may be released to the media.
The hospital is responsible for asking a patient for consent to release general condition information (directory information) and to whom that information will be disclosed. Patients have the option of stating that they do not want information released at all, including confirmation of their presence in the facility. If the patient requests that no information be released, the hospital must honor that request.
No information on a patient's condition may be released unless the name of the patient is provided by the requester. A hospital may not release the names of patients.
Under HIPAA regulations, matters of public record (those situations that are by law reportable to public authorities such as police, coroner, or public health officials) and victims of accidents have the same privacy rights as all other patients. Media calls requesting patient information will be answered with a patient status condition as outlined below.
Unless the patient has expressed otherwise and opted out of releasing any information, only the following conditions will be released:
Good — Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious and comfortable (indicators are excellent).
Fair — Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable (indicators are favorable).
Poor — Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. (Indicators are questionable.)
Critical — Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. The 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.