Media Guidelines For UC San Diego Health System

FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR PATIENTS AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH HIPAA (HEALTH INSURANCE PRIVACY AND PORTABILITY ACT)

For assistance with UC San Diego health system stories:

Call UC San Diego Health Sciences Communications:

  • During Business Hours:
    • Phone: 619-543-6163
    • Pager: 619-290-2688
  • Evenings/Weekends:
    • For patient condition updates, call 619-543-6737 and ask for the Nursing Supervisor.
    • For other types of requests, or if the Nursing Supervisor is not available, page Health Sciences Communications on pager 619-290-2688.

UC San Diego Health System staff must adhere to the following HIPAA guidelines in responding to requests for patient information:

  • 'No Disclosure' Status -- First, staff must check to determine if the patient has expressed privacy by requesting a "No Disclosure" status. If so, no information will be released to the media (or anyone else).
  • Patient's General Condition -- If the reporter/caller has the patient's name, and a "no disclosure" has not been requested, the patient's general condition can be released to the media. Additional information beyond a one word condition statement can only be released with the patient's specific consent.
  • Legal Guardians / Personal Representatives -- A patient may designate individuals involved in their care who may be given additional information regarding their health status. However, for UC San Diego staff to work with such an individual, the designation should be based on a written authorization from the patient (or the patient’s legal guardian) and/or a physician's note documenting a conversation with the patient.

Condition Statements

Patient conditions listed below are approved by the American Hospital Association:

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 or not within normal limits; Patient is acutely ill; indicators are questionable.
CRITICAL Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits; Patient may be conscious; indicators are unfavorable.
STABLE NOT a condition. May be used as a modifier to clarify a condition (i.e., patient is in critical, but stable condition.)