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Patient Privacy

All requests for patient information must come through the public relations department. To contact a member of the department, please call the on-call pager at 214-963-1742.

Guidelines for releasing patient information

Hospitals and health systems are responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of their patients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates privacy standards for health care information. HIPAA regulations define the purposes for which information may and may not be released without the patient’s permission.

In keeping with HIPAA regulations, Methodist will release limited patient information according to these guidelines:

* All inquiries must include the patient’s full name. Information about the condition and location of an inpatient, outpatient, or emergency department patient may be released only if the inquiry specifically contains the patient’s full name. Without a full name, no information will be released. If a patient has opted to have no information released, we are not allowed to release any information, not even an acknowledgement as to whether he or she is a patient at our facility.

* If the patient has not asked us to withhold all information, we will release a one-word description of their condition and location without asking the patient’s specific permission. One-word descriptions that will be used are as follows:

  • Undetermined: Patient awaiting physician and 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.

Other considerations

Minors: For patients younger than 18 years of age, we will provide information only after obtaining written permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Public figures and celebrities: Information about celebrities and public figures is subject to the same standards for releasing information to the media as for other patients.

Psychiatric disorders: Methodist will release no information about such patients, nor will we confirm that they are in one of our facilities.

Sexual assault: Methodist will never disclose information that would indicate a patient has been sexually assaulted.

Suicide: Methodist does not release any information on patients who have committed or attempted suicide.

The guidelines included on this page are consistent with the recommendations of the Texas Hospital Association.