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Guidelines for Release of Information

Inquires must contain the patient’s first and last name, unless the inquiry comes from clergy.

As long as the patient has not requested that information be withheld, MHP will release the patient’s one-word condition and location without obtaining prior patient authorization.

For the one-word condition, the terms “undetermined,” “good,” “fair,” “serious” or critical” will be used.

Definitions of Patient Conditions

Undetermined: Patient awaiting physician and 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.

The term "stable" will not be used as a condition. 

Inquires from clergy are an exception as long as the patient has not told MHP not to release the information.

Matters of public record

  • While laws and/or regulations require healthcare facilities to provide a variety of information to public authorities, it is not the responsibility of facilities to provide that information in response to calls or other inquiries from the media or other parties, including law enforcement officials. Instead, such calls should be directed to the appropriate public authority.
  • The fact that a hospital has an obligation to report certain confidential information to a governmental agency does not make that information public and available to the media.
  • Media questions will be referred to the public entity (such as the coroner’s office, police, fire or health department) that receives such reports.

When MHP will not release any information

  • Patients can “opt out” of providing information altogether.
  • MHP does not release information on patients in Emergency Services.
  • MHP does not release information that could embarrass or endanger patients.
  • Federal laws prohibit hospitals from releasing any information regarding a patient being treated for alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Judgment, by a MHP employee, will be used in situations where patients can’t express a preference.