Patient Condition Reports
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has established guidelines for what information can be released about a patient. The rules are to protect patient privacy, while still allowing the release of limited information. New Hanover Regional Medical Center follows these guidelines and will work with the media to provide the information allowed. In most cases, this will consist of a one-word condition report: good, fair, serious, or critical. If the patient has died, release of that information will come only after there has been time to notify the family.
Patients have the right under federal privacy rules to "opt out" or block the release of this information. When a patient "opts out," no information can be released about that patient, including confirmation about whether the person is in the hospital.
To receive a patient condition report, contact NHRMC's media relations coordinator Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., at 910-612-7999. After hours and on weekends, contact the main number at NHRMC, 910-667-7000, and ask to speak with the nursing supervisor. If necessary, the media relations coordinator will be contacted.
Reporters must have the patient's first and last name and the correct spelling to obtain a condition report.
NHRMC will release one of the following one-word conditions if the patient has not opted out:
- 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. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable; indicators are favorable.
- Serious: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. The patient is acutely ill; indicators are questionable.
- Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. The patient may be conscious; indicators are not favorable.
- Deceased: The death of a patient may be reported only after it can be confirmed that the next of kin has been notified. The medical examiner or county coroner files the official public record.