Patient Information and the Media

Patient Rights
Patients have specific legal rights that the Harris Health System has an obligation to protect. To comply with state and federal law, Harris Health staff may only provide a one-word condition description of a patient when the person inquiring has provided the patient’s full name.

A member of the news media must have a patient’s full (first and last) name in order to ask for directory information, which is limited to a one-word condition description: Good, Fair, Serious, Critical or Undetermined.

  • Good – vital signs are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious and comfortable (indicators are excellent).
  • Fair – vital signs are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious and comfortable (indicators are favorable).
  • Serious – vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill (indicators are questionable.)
  • Critical – vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. The patient may be unconscious (indicators are unfavorable).
  • Undetermined – status is pending diagnostic results, physician’s examination or outcome of surgery.

No-Information Patients
Patients or their decision-makers have the right to select "no information" status regarding their care. If a patient has so selected this designation, they will not be listed in our patient directory and their presence in our facility may not be acknowledged by staff.

Additionally, patients being treated for psychiatric or mental health concerns, or as a result of sexual assault, attempted suicide, child or domestic abuse will be assigned "no information" status.



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