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HIPPA & Patient Privacy

On April 14, 2003, a new federal rule called the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” (HIPAA) went into effect. This rule governs the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information. HIPAA privacy standards have changed and limited hospitals’ ability to release information about patients to the media.

In order to get any information of a patient, you must have the patient’s name. The only information that can be released about a patient when the media has the patient’s name, prior to the patient signing a consent form, is general condition information according to the American Hospital Association guidelines. If the patient agrees to do an interview or have further information released about them to the media, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Marketing & Public Relations must get the patient to sign a HIPAA authorization form.

Even if the patient is in the public domain, e.g. police reports, health care providers are prohibited to give out health information about patients outside HIPAA guidelines.

Download Notice of Patient Privacy Practices (PDF)

Patient Interviews

Under NO circumstances should reporters make contact with patients while hospitalized at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial. It would help your efforts to have the Marketing & Public Relations Department request permission for release of information and/or help ease the patient into an interview situation. Patient rights and confidentiality are of the utmost concern. When patient courtesies are respected by the media, it makes cooperation at all levels much more efficient.

Inquiries Regarding Patient Condition

Florida Hospital Fish Memorial's Marketing & Public Relations Department will be happy to verify a patient's name, age and one word condition. This information will not be freely offered. If the patient has “opted out” of being included in the patient directory, the Marketing & Public Relations Department will have no record of the patient’s admission and is prohibited from releasing any patient information.

Nature of the Accident or Injury

It is unlikely that the hospital will discuss the cause and nature of the accident or injury of the patient. This is an effort to protect the privacy of our patients.

Patient Conditions

  • Undetermined: Patient 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 and comfortable. 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 which will not be disclosed.

Deaths and Time of Deaths will not be released by the hospital.