Release of Patient Information
Franciscan Health System complies with the strict patient-privacy guidelines established
by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996,
which governs the type and amount of patient information that may be legally provided.
Conditions of adult patients can be provided only when:
- The person making the inquiry about a patient provides the patient’s first and last
- The patient is listed in the hospital directory (patients may choose not to be listed
in the hospital directory)
- The patient is at least 18 years old (no information is provided about patients
under 18 without the written permission of the patient’s parent or guardian)
If the requirements provided above are met, then the patient condition classifications
below will be used and have the following meanings:
- the patient is awaiting a physician and medical assessment
Treated and released
- the patient has been treated by the hospital and released; generally this indicates
the patient’s condition was satisfactory upon release
Stabilized and transferred
- the patient was stabilized at the hospital and transferred to another facility
for further care; we do not disclose where the patient was transferred
- vital signs such as heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure and temperature are stable
and within normal limits; the patient is conscious and comfortable; indicators are
- vital signs such as heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure and temperature are not
within normal limits; the patient is acutely ill; indicators are questionable
- vital signs such as heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, and temperature are
unstable and not within normal limits; the patient may be unconscious; there is
some doubt that the patient will recover; death could be imminent
- the death of a patient can be disclosed to the public and news media only after
the next-of-kin has been notified and the patient’s body is still in the hospital
- if an adult patient has been released from the hospital and we receive a proper
inquiry about the patient by name, we confirm that the patient is no longer in our
hospital but we do not give the release date, admission date, length of stay or
Additional information about patients beyond these condition descriptions can be
provided only if the patient provides written consent to the hospital.
Patient’s location in hospital
We may provide general information regarding an adult patient’s location in the
hospital (emergency department, intensive care unit, etc.), but we do not provide
the patient’s specific room or floor number.
Patients under 18 years of age
No information is provided about the health status of patients under 18 years old
without the written permission of the patients’ parents or guardians.
Mental health patients
Our hospitals do not provide any information to the public or the news media regarding
patients who are receiving mental health therapies.
Photography, videotaping and interviews with patients
Reporters and photographers may be granted permission to photograph, videotape and/or
interview patients inside the hospital only after receiving permission from Gale
Robinette, Franciscan Health System media relations manager (pager: 253-416-0781).
Arrangements will be made only if the patient is willing and his or her medical
Members of the news media should not enter patient-care areas without the hospital’s
To obtain a copy of the Guide of Cooperation used by hospitals and news media in
Washington state, click here for a PDF. You may also contact the Washington
Newspaper Publishers Association at 206-634-3838, or the Washington State Hospital
Association at 206-281-7211.