Mount Nittany Health is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our patients and our patients’ medical information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandated regulations that govern privacy standards for healthcare information.
As per the law, information about a patient’s general condition may be released to the media only if the inquiry specifically identifies the patient by name and only if the patient has not requested that information be withheld. No information may be given if a request does not include a specific patient name.
Please note: A patient may “opt out” of information release altogether – including confirmation of his or her presence in the facility. If a patient has chosen to opt out of the patient directory, no information can be released on the patient including an acknowledgement that the patient is even in the hospital.
General condition: we can provide a one-word condition report and confirmation if the patient was or is hospitalized based upon the categories listed below:
- Unavailable: Patient is awaiting physician 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.
- Unconscious: The hospital may release information that the patient was unconscious when brought to the hospital.
- Deceased: The death of a patient is presumed to be a matter of public record and may be reported by the hospital after the next-of-kin has been notified or after a reasonable time has passed. Information regarding the cause of death must come from a patient’s physician and release of that information must be approved by a member of the patient’s immediate family (when available).
We do not report “stable” as a condition, and it should not be used in combination with the above condition reports. By definition, the conditions above indicate the stability of a patient.