At a glance Growing interest in medicine and science has greatly increased media
coverage of health issues. For accurate information, journalists frequently
call the public relations department at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson,
Mississippi. In agreeing to an interview, Methodist physicians and staff help
reporters inform people about health, medicine and science, and contribute to
the public’s understanding of research.
Media Relations Methodist Rehabilitation Center physicians and staff are always willing
to help reporters inform the public about health and medical research.
The public relations department is responsible for release of information
about Methodist Rehabilitation Center to local and national press, including
print and broadcast media. All media requests should be directed to the department
at 601-364-3334. A staff member will obtain the information needed and arrange
interviews with appropriate persons.
Understanding deadline pressures, every effort is taken to respond quickly
to all requests. If Methodist personnel are unable to comment on an issue, PR
staff members will try to direct the reporter to other local sources.
The PR department is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Staff
members are on call at all times when the office is not open. To reach a staff
member after working hours, call 601-364-3334 and listen to their voice mail
message. The message will give their mobile phone number. Staff members are
not available to assist with feature stories on weekends, holidays or after
Condition Reports Methodist Rehabilitation Center is responsible for protecting the privacy
and confidentiality of its patients and patient information. The Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandates regulations that
govern privacy standards for healthcare information.
Patient condition reports are available only through the hospital’s
PR department. Reporters or editors calling for a condition report must know
the patient’s name so that staff members can locate the patient in the
As required by federal law, Methodist Rehabilitation Center asks all patients
if they want to be included in the hospital’s patient directory. If a
patient chooses to opt out of the directory, the PR department cannot provide
a patient condition report nor confirm the patient’s presence in the
If a patient chooses not to opt out of the directory, we can provide a one-word
description of the patients condition (see descriptions below) after the patient’s
correct first and last name, including exact spelling, are provided by the
journalist requesting the report.
Release of any medical information beyond the one-word condition, including
interviews and photographs with the patient or medical staff, requires written
authorization by the patient or patient's legal representative.
Below are the one-word conditions approved by the American Hospital
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—A patient’s death cannot be reported
or confirmed until efforts have been made by the medical team to notify the
patient’s next-of-kin. At that time, and unless the deceased’s
legal representative requests that the information be withheld, Public Relations
staff may report that the patient is deceased and the date and time of death.
Additional information (such cause of death) cannot be released unless Public
Relations, or a Methodist staff person designated by Public Relations, obtains
permission from the deceased’s legal representative and uses a patient
PR staffers must always accompany members of the media through all Methodist
buildings and get signed consent forms from all patients appearing in video
or photographs and from those who agree to the release of information about
their medical history.
Meeting in the Lobby
Because of Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s size, it is often easier
for reporters and PR staffers to meet in the hospital’s main lobby before
going to the location of the interview. Methodist Specialty Care Center,
Methodist Spine and Joint Center, Methodist Pain Management Center, Methodist
Orthotics and Prosthetics and Methodist Outpatient Therapy Center are all located
on the hospital’s east campus in Flowood. Reporters may be asked to meet
a PR staff member on that campus if the story being covered is about a patient
or staff member at any of those facilities.
Titles and Supers
The staff member you are working with will provide you with the name and title
of the person you are scheduled to interview. Please identify each person’s
affiliation with the hospital (Methodist Rehabilitation Center Administrator,
Methodist Physician, Methodist Rehab Patient, etc.).
Mail, E-mail and Fax List
The public relations department frequently sends out news releases to Mississippi
radio and television stations, newspapers and magazines about patients, accident
and injury prevention and new procedures and technology. Call (800) 223-6672
(ext. 3334) or 601-364-3334 if you would like to be added to Methodist’s
mail, E-mail or fax list for news releases or media advisories. You may also
sign-up for E-mailed news release on this Web site.
Localizing National Stories
Many national news stories about advancements in medicine, scientific studies
and other health issues can be localized at Methodist. PR staffers, when appropriate,
can identify physicians, administrators and other staff members and can set
up interviews to determine photo/B-roll possibilities.
The more information they can obtain (wire reports, etc.) from journalists
about a national story, the more they can help in locating the proper person
to speak about a specific issue or report in the news.
Realizing that TV reports seek ou visual images, PR staffers are always n the
look-out for good locations and B-roll opprotunities. Every effort is made
toprovide an interesting backdrop for on-camera interviews and, when possible,
identify B-roll opportunites.
The PR deaprtment maintains a video log of all stories about Methodist aired
on Mississippi television stations or on network newscasts. The log lists station,
date and time all reports aired and the reporter's name. It can be of help
if you are searching stations archives for medical B-roll for use in a Methodist
Staff members are available toassist local television stations with live remote
broadcasts from campus. Physicians and others are usually available to talk
about medical ews, health screenings and medical and health issues in the national
Live On-set Interviews
Ofetn physicians and other Methodist experts are available to appear live on-set
at television stations for interviews about a variety of topics. Reporters
interested in live, on-set interviews should call the PR department as early
Again, understanding deadline pressure, staff members do their best to
quickly identify sources for reporters. If a face-to-face meeting isn’t
possible, phone interviews usually are. The PR staff realize that many publications
seek charts, graphics or photographs to accompany stories. If possible, they
will make them available to reporters.
Because Methodist treats patients from all 82 counties in Mississippi and from
other states, the Methodist PR department receives frequent requests from daily
and weekly newspapers for patient features about local residents. Staff members
are always willing to try and identify a patient from a specific community
so that a local paper can follow the patient’s progress. The subject of these
local patient features can vary. Often a reporter or editor is interested in
a feature about a patient who’s suffered a spinal cord or brain injury,
stroke or other neurological and orthopedic disorder.
The PR department frequently sends out photo cutlines featuring patients, employees
or groups to local newspapers statewide. All cutlines include the names and hometowns
of each person photographed and a contact number at Methodist.
Physicians, researchers and staff at Methodist are usually willing to
talk about medical breakthroughs and other health issues making news. They are
available for phone interviews or can appear live in-studio when their schedules
Public Service Announcements
PR staffers fax or mail various public service announcements about a variety
of free screenings and support group meetings at Methodist. All PSAs are clearly
identified and include a contact name and phone number.
Christensen Methodist Rehabilitation Center
1350 East Woodrow Wilson
Jackson, MS 39216-9919
MAIN: (601) 800-223-6672
and Broadcast Media Relations /