Monika O'Clair, Senior Director of
Communication & Community Relations
On Weekends and After-hours:
Call 603.569.7500 and ask for the "Administrator On-Call.”
Release of Patient Information to the News Media:
- Authorization is required for videotaping, photographing, and/or interviewing patients in the hospital. The Senior Director of Communication & Community Relations will work with the media to obtain permission on a case-by-case basis.
- A member of Administration must escort the media while on campus at all times.
- To protect our patients’ privacy, Huggins Hospital adheres to the regulations set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the New Hampshire Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (NHMIA) for the release of patient-identifiable information and/or patient medical information.
- Under HIPAA and the NHMIA, information about the condition of a patient may be released only if the inquiry contains the patient’s name.
- If the patient has not requested that information be withheld, a one word condition may be released to the media who requests the information by the name of the patient.
- If information other than condition is requested by the news media, an authorization must be signed by the patient or guardian prior to disclosing such additional information.
- The following are standard definitions used to describe a patient’s general condition:
- 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 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 HIPAA privacy protections continue to apply to a patient’s medical information even after the patient’s death. That is, no information may be released unless the inquiry contains the patient’s name. The death of a patient is considered to be a “patient condition” and may be disclosed using this one-word description. A patient’s death is not routinely announced by the hospital, but rather by the patient’s physician or the coroner.