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News: Patient Condition Request Guidelines
HIPAA regulations govern the amount of information Altoona Regional Health System is able to provide to the media about patient conditions.

While the Marketing and Communications department will continue to provide any information allowed by law, the primary responsibility of Altoona Regional in regard to the communications media is to protect our patients' privacy rights.

Here is the Marketing and Communications department's policy regarding release of patient information:
Marketing and Communications requires that the media representative have the name of the patient(s) when calling for a condition report. Even with a name, federal medical privacy laws only allow staff to provide information from the health system's patient directory. Each patient is permitted the option of being listed in the directory. If the person is listed, staff are permitted to release a general one-word condition report.

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 may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.

Undetermined: Patient awaiting physician and assessment.

If a patient is transferred to a different facility, staff cannot state when, where or how they were transferred.

Cases of public record or cases in the public domain are situations reportable by law or reportable to public authorities, such as law enforcement officials, the coroner, public health officers or a governmental agency. Please note that patients involved in matters of public record have the same privacy rights as all other patients.

Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., all media requests should be directed to the Marketing and Communications department at 889-2271. During nonbusiness hours, call 889-2011 and ask for the nursing supervisor or nursing director in charge.

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