Releasing Patient Information to the Media
Boston Medical Center is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our patients and their medical information. Communications office staff members provide a one-word patient condition to the media in accordance with the American Hospital Association guidelines contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
How to Obtain a Patient's Condition
To inquire about a patient at Boston Medical Center, members of the media should contact the media relations staff.
- Media must provide the patient’s full name.
- Staff will only give a one-word description about a patient’s general condition.
- The release of any medical information beyond a one-word condition requires written authorization by the patient or the patient’s legal representative.
- We will acknowledge the death of a patient only after next-of-kin have been notified.
- In the event of a large scale disaster, we will attempt to provide aggregate information about patients brought to the hospital.
Patient Condition Definitions
Undetermined – Patient is 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 in 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 – Vitals are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
Please note, "stable" is not a recognized condition, according to HIPAA guidelines.