Emergency Codes

Google Maps

Conemaugh Health System is moving away from color codes – like Code Red or Code Blue – to signal emergencies, and instead will use plain language codes: a short description of the emergency and location. Experts say standardizing codes is a national trend, though Maryland is the only state with rules on uniform health care emergency codes. 

Be it “code red” or “code blue,” hospitals across the country use codes to identify emergencies. In Pennsylvania these codes vary from facility to facility, according to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.

“You could go to one facility and they could call, say a ‘code 99,’ and at one hospital it could mean a fire, and then if you go to another institution, a ‘code 99’ might be a medical emergency for an adult,” said Susan Wallace, patient safety analyst at the authority.