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Media Policies

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Interviews at Facilities

Because patient care is our primary mission, it is our responsibility to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of all patients.

  • Patients must give written permission before being interviewed, filmed or photographed.
  • Public Relations staff must accompany a member of the media while in Yale New Haven Health's inpatient or outpatient buildings.

Public Relations can work with you to coordinate requests ahead of time, determine whether an interview is possible, coordinate the arrangements, and meet and accompany the media representative to the interview.

Release of Patient Information

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), patient condition requests must be made using the patient’s first and last name. No information other than a one-word description of the patient’s condition may be provided to the media unless Yale New Haven Health receives written permission from the patient or the patient’s parent or legal guardian.

Patient Conditions and Privacy

Yale New Haven Health follows the American Hospital Association (AHA) guidelines regarding patient privacy issues contained in the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Please note: Yale New Haven Health is not able to provide a patient's name; however, if the member of the media provides the patient's name, we are able to provide a one-word condition update.

Because of HIPAA provisions, there are times when we are unable to provide a condition or even confirm that a specific patient is in our hospital. Examples might include patient who have opted out of our information system; who are hospitalized under an alias; who are psychiatric patients or abuse victims. In those cases, our response is: We do not have a patient listed under that name.

The official AHA one-word patient conditions and their definitions are:
  • Undetermined: Patient is 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 not favorable.
  • Deceased: The death of a patient is presumed to be a matter of public record and may be reported by the hospital after the next of kin has been notified or after a reasonable amount of time has passed. Information regarding the cause of death can only be released by the patient's physician, and its release must be approved by a member of the immediate family (when available). In general, hospitals are permitted to only release the time and date of a patient's death.

Note: The term "vital signs" means indicators such as blood pressure, pulse, temperature and respiration. The one-word descriptions are not medical terms, but are based on a doctor's best judgment of a patient's condition, as relayed to hospital spokespersons.

According to the AHA, "Stable" should not be used as a condition, nor should it be used in combination with other conditions.

  • To find out the condition of a hospitalized patient during business hours, please call the Marketing & Communications office at 203-688-2488.
  • To find out the condition of a hospitalized patient during non-business hours, please call the hospital's page operator at 203-688-3111 and ask to speak with the off-shift executive who is handling media calls.