For the Media

Van Wert Health welcomes inquiries from media outlets. Someone is always available to take your calls. We ask that all journalists call us before contacting a physician, an employee, a patient or volunteer at any Van Wert Health facility.

Ellen Rager
Director of Marketing, Communications, & Community Relations
419-238-8623 (direct phone line)

Release of Patient Information for Media

Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we are limited in the information we may provide about patients. Essentially, HIPAA regulations require that the hospital release patient information only when the media request includes the patient's name and only if the patient has agreed to the release of such information.

Once it has been established that information can be released, that information is limited to a one-word condition (see below) and a general hospital location (see below).

One-word Conditions

  • Undetermined: Patient is awaiting physician and/or 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
  • Deceased: This may only be reported after next-of-kin has been notified

Hospital Locations

  • Patient is in the Emergency department
  • Patient is in the Intensive Care Unit
  • Patient has been admitted, but is not in intensive care (i.e. patient is in a regular inpatient room)

If the patient has been released, we may disclose that he or she has been:

  • Treated and released, or
  • Treated and transferred to another healthcare facility

Some patients sign a form preventing the release of any information, including whether they are in the hospital. In those instances, or when the person you are seeking is not actually in the hospital, we will tell you that we have no information on a patient by the name you provided.

For more on HIPAA and media disclosure, please refer to these guidelines.