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From cnnbrk@twitter

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is in serious condition after a car accident in Mississippi, according to hospital officials.

EDIT: So wait, what the smeg is the hospital doing releasing privileged patient information to the public???


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
Here are the Missouri Hospital Association's Guidelines For Releasing Patient Information To The Media:

"Privacy regulations issued by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) govern the use and release of a patient's personal health information (PHI). In the event state law or hospital policy is more restrictive than the HIPAA privacy standards, the more restrictive law or policy will apply.

HIPAA privacy standards have specific provisions for the release of limited "directory" information without the patient's consent or authorization. However, the patient must be told about the use of the information and must be given the opportunity to object to or restrict the use or release of the information. Unless a patient objects, the following information may be placed in a directory:

the patient’s name
the patient’s location in the health care provider’s facility
the patient’s condition, described in general terms that do not communicate specific information about the individual
the patient’s religious affiliation

Disclosure of this information for directory purposes may be made to members of the clergy or, except for religious affiliation, to other persons who ask for the individual by name.

HIPAA privacy regulations establish a minimum acceptable threshold for the use and release of PHI. State and federal law (see the following topic "Confidential Information"), as well as hospital policies, may establish stricter standards. For example, hospitals should be very cautious about releasing PHI about any patient associated with the commission of a crime or where the safety and security of both patients and hospital personnel may be jeopardized.
Patient Condition Reports and Information

Patient condition may be provided consistent with the limitations imposed by HIPAA privacy standards. If these standards are met, general condition information may be provided that does not communicate specific information about the individual. The American Hospital Association has suggested the following one-word descriptions of a patient's condition.

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 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.

Treated and Released — received treatment but not admitted


FMI: click here. Most hospitals have similar guidelines. You can request them from the media relations or public information office.

Edited at 2008-08-05 12:15 am (UTC)
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