Media Policy

To ensure you have the most accurate information and that you are in contact with the most appropriate spokesperson for your needs, we require that all media inquiries come through the Marketing and Communications Department.

You need to let us know whenever you are planning to come onto any Methodist Healthcare property so that we can facilitate your needs and alert our Security personnel of your visit. In order to ensure our privacy obligation to our patients, a hospital representative must accompany all media while they are on hospital property.

Members of the Communications Department can be reached 24-hours a day via pager. For Methodist inquiries, contact the main hospital operator at 901.516.7000 for assistance and for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital; contact the main hospital operator at 901.287.KIDS (5437) to have a member of the communications staff paged.

Methodist Healthcare prides itself on years of building and maintaining a positive relationship with representatives of the media. Much of that hinges on being responsive to your needs and sensitive to your deadlines. Once you contact the Communications Department, we will quickly process your request and do our best to assist you.

Releasing Patient Information

Under HIPAA regulations, Methodist representatives may release information to the media on patients ONLY if the following circumstances exist:

  • Inquiries identify the patient by name. Information about an inpatient, outpatient or emergency department patient may be released only if the inquiry specifically identifies the patient by name.
  • As long as the patient has not requested that information be withheld, we may release the patient's one-word condition and location to individuals who inquire about the patient by name.

One-Word Conditions

When releasing information about a patient we will give one-word condition reports in compliance with HIPAA regulation.  These are the approved conditions and their definitions:

  • 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.

Matters of Public Record

Patients of public record have the same privacy rights as all other patients. The mode of transportation by which a patient arrives at the hospital will have no bearing on the hospital's approach to releasing information about the patient.

In a case where Methodist is receiving multiple people with injuries, or in a disaster situation where several facilities are treating injuries, Methodist Healthcare may give general information, such as how many people are being treated by gender and age group.

Death of a Patient

The time or date of death will not be released, but the death of a patient may be reported to the news media by the hospital. Typically, public information about a death will be disclosed after efforts have been made to notify the next-of-kin.

Information about the cause of death must come from the patient's physician. A legal representative of the deceased must approve its release. This means Methodist cannot share information about sudden, violent or accidental deaths, or deaths from natural causes without the permission of the decedent's next-of-kin or other legal representative.

Photographs, Videotape, Film

In order to protect the privacy of our patients, no photographs, videotapes or films may be taken of our patients on Methodist Healthcare property without prior permission from the patient. This permission must be obtained through the Marketing and Communications Department.

Methodist Healthcare values the relationships we have established with the media. It is our goal and our responsibility to answer your questions and provide all of the available information within the limits set forth by HIPAA.