Media Relations Policy
While on the campus of Children's Hospital, a Public Relations staff member must escort members of the media at all times to ensure the security and privacy of our patients and families. All parents or guardians of patients under 18 must sign a consent form before a patient may be videotaped, photographed or interviewed. Patients at least 18 years of age may provide consent for themselves.
Responding to Media Inquiries, Requests for Interviews
- Staff and Phoenix Children's Hospital-employed physicians shall refer all media calls to the Communication Department. Inquiries about a patient from an external agency should also be directed to the Communication Department.
- The Communication Department maintains a 24-hour on-call pager. This should be the first attempted method of contacting the on-call staff member for inquiries outside of departmental office hours.
- The on-call pager number may be shared directly with media representatives.
- If there is no response to the page, the hospital switchboard maintains backup pager and home phone numbers for all Communications Department staff. If the on-call person cannot be reached by pager or backup numbers, it is permissible for the operator to attempt to contact another staff member to respond to the media inquiry.
Requests for Patient Condition
If the Communications Department receives a media request for a patient condition, they will contact the appropriate Administrative Coordinator (house/unit supervisor) for a condition report, which the Coordinator should secure/provide, citing one of the conditions recognized by the AHA (i.e., critical, fair. Stable is not a condition, but is an indicator in certain conditions.) For subsequent media inquiries, they will cite the same condition for a reasonable length of time, calling for periodic updates (typically early morning, noon and evening) if the media attention continues.
If a patient is NINP or has opted out of the hospital directory, the Admit Coordinator should inform the Communications Department staff member when they call with a condition request.
Adm. Coordinators may not provide patient conditions directly to a representative of the media. If any staff member is contacted directly by a media representative, they should direct the caller to the on-call pager number or transfer them to the hospital switchboard, which has additional contact info.
Requests for Interviews
All interviews of Phoenix Children's Hospital staff and faculty/employed physicians by media, whether by phone, e-mail or in person, require advance authorization from the Communications Department.
Any media interviews that occur on Phoenix Children's Hospital property, including those with private physicians, donors, visitors, etc., must be authorized in advance by a Communications Department staff member.
Communication with the media using Phoenix Children's Hospital stationery, fax machines, telephones or e-mails or in a manner where media might assume the individual is reflecting the views of Phoenix Children's Hospital is prohibited unless approved by a Communication Dept staff member. This includes letters to the editor signed with an indication of an affiliation with Phoenix Children's Hospital. This does not prohibit individual free speech. Employees, physicians and others with Phoenix Children's Hospital affiliation may send letters to media as a concerned citizen, a person employed in the health care industry, or voicing support or opposition to a Phoenix Children's Hospital policy or position. The intent of this policy is to ensure it is clear to the media and to the public when someone is voicing an individual viewpoint as opposed to an organizational viewpoint. Because staff viewpoints are often excellent reflections of the organization's mission and values, letters on behalf of Phoenix Children's Hospital will often be approved so long as clearance has been obtained per this policy.
Handling Media Visits
For on-site visits and interviews, members of the media must be escorted by the Communications Department at all times they are within any Phoenix Children's Hospital facility or care area. This includes inpatient and outpatient facilities, including satellite facilities. Unless otherwise arranged, the media representative should be directed to the hospital lobby to meet the Communications Department representative. No member of the media should be allowed beyond the primary reception check in area (lobby) of any Phoenix Children's Hospital facility without a Communications Department escort.
Communications Department staff will secure the appropriate consent from patients and families for filming/interviews.
Filming and interviews of any patients, visitors, physicians or staff in a Phoenix Children's Hospital facility or care area requires the permission of and escort by the Communication Department. Patient families wishing to invite media to the hospital to photograph or interview them, their child or their child's caregiver should be informed that advance permission from the Communications Department is required.
Any exceptions to this policy will be clearly communicated in advance of the media visit to both Security Operations and the Director(s) of the affected area(s) by a member of the Communication Department.
The following special circumstances allow for Security Services to oversee the presence of media on the campus:
Photographing an incoming patient transport (ground or air ambulance):
a) Security will direct media vehicles and personnel to Media Area A. The media must stay in this area to do their photography.
b) Per the general policy above, the media may not interview any staff member, family member, visitor or patient, nor may they enter any Phoenix Children's Hospital facility beyond the lobby/check-in area without authorization by the Communications Department If anything other than a photograph of the transport is desired, the above policy for handling on-site visits should be applied.
c) Security should alert the on-call Communication staff member via the on-call pager that media are/have been on campus. If it is not possible to do this in advance of the occurrence, it is acceptable as a follow up.
Photographing a live or taped "Standup" report in front of the hospital:
a) Frequently, media wish to do "stand up" reports outside the front entrance of the hospital. (This is typically to report the condition of a child or explain they were transported to PHOENIX CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL.) These are called "standups." For media wishing to do a standup, Security will direct media vehicles and personnel to Media Area B.
b) A standup should involve only the media representative doing a monologue for their camera. Per the general policy, media representatives may not interview any staff member, family member, visitor or patient, nor may they enter any Phoenix Children's Hospital facility beyond the lobby/check-in area without authorization by the Communications Department If anything other than using the Phoenix Children's Hospital sign as a backdrop is desired, the above policy for handling on-site visits should be applied.
c) Security should alert the on-call Communications staff member via pager that media are/have been on campus for a front entry standup. If it is not possible to do this in advance of the occurrence, it is acceptable as a follow up.