Media Inquiries

Requests for interviews should be made through Memorial's media relations office.To be able to provide a prompt response to your inquiry and to ensure your needs are met, we ask that you first contact our media center. Contacts to individual departments, employees, patients or physicians are prohibited.

Inquiring about a patient

In compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Memorial maintains strict guidelines for releasing patient information. Patient privacy is of great importance to Virginia Mason Memorial.

As long as the patient has not requested that information be withheld, or the patient is unable to request having information withheld because of incapacity, Memorial may release a one-word description of the patient's condition.

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 name. No information is to be given if the request does not include the patient's name.

Condition classifications:

  • Undetermined - the patient is awaiting a physician and a medical assessment
  • Treated and released - The patient has been treated by Memorial, and has been released. Generally, this indicates the patient's condition was satisfactory upon release. We cannot release the date the patient was released or where the patient went upon release without patient authorization.
  • 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.
  • Deceased - No information will be released until the next-of-kin has been notified and the patient's body is still in the facility.
  • Released - If a patient has been released, and Memorial receives an inquiry about the patient by name, Memorial will confirm that the patient is no longer in the hospital.
  • Transferreded - No information as to where will be given.

Members of the media may have further access to information about patients, including patient interviews and photography, if the patient has signed a media release form. To inquire about the status of a media release form, please contact Memorial's media relations office.

Photographers and reporters must have hospital permission before entering patient-care areas.

Special cases

The victims of an assault or other crimes are listed under "protective status" and their conditions will not be included in Memorial's patient directory, for the protection of the patient and others in the hospital. It is Memorial's policy not to provide any information pertaining to the patient's condition or even confirm they are in the hospital.

In addition, law prohibits Memorial from releasing any information to the news media about psychiatric or substance-abuse patients. Also, no statement may be made pertaining to whether a patient has a sexually transmitted or communicable disease, or is a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.

The guidelines included on this page are consistent with those recommended by the American Hospital Association.

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