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Release of Patient Information

HIPAA and Idaho law generally prevent the hospital, physicians, and other health care providers from disclosing any “protected health information” about a patient without the patient’s prior consent. “Protected health information” includes any information about a patient’s health, health care or payment, including the patient’s condition, treatment or facts giving rise to the their health care.

  • HIPAA does allow the hospital to disclose to the media certain limited information from the hospital’s directory unless the patient objects. [45 C.F.R. § 164.510(a).] Under this limited exception, the hospital may only disclose the following information if the media representative asks for the patient by first and last name: 
  • Whether the patient is in the hospital. Although the hospital can disclose whether the person is a patient at the hospital, it cannot disclose to the media where the patient is located in the hospital. 

A description of the patient’s general condition, e.g., whether the patient’s condition is “undetermined,” “good,” “critical,” or the patient has been “treated and released.” The hospital may not disclose any specific medical information about the patient. [45 C.F.R. § 164.510(a)(1)(C).] 

The hospital may not provide this information if the patient has objected to such disclosures or if the hospital determines that it is not in the best interests of the patient to disclose the information.