UAMS ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDE

NUMBER: 14.1.01
DATE: 04/05/96
REVISION:

SECTION: HOSPITAL SERVICES
AREA: HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATION
SUBJECT: MEDIA RELATIONS

POLICY

It is the policy of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) that the UAMS Office of Communications and Marketing oversees all publicity, advertising and communications regarding clinical as well as all other areas of campus. All requests for publicity or interviews should be channeled through the Office of Communications and Marketing.

PROCEDURE

  1. Newspaper and television photographers, reporters or other members of the working press are not permitted in the Emergency Room, on patient floors in the hospital, in outpatient areas or in any clinical areas on the UAMS campus unless their visits are first cleared with the Office of Communications and Marketing. This applies to all clinical areas including the Hospital, the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, the Outpatient Center, the Community Women's Center and the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute and the Myeloma Institute. All members of the media must also be accompanied by a representative of the Office of Communications and Marketing while on UAMS property.

  2. Because many members of the UAMS medical and professional staffs have well-established reputations for expertise in their areas of interest, they may receive calls from the press to obtain information for articles. If these requests involve their work as members of the faculty or staff at UAMS, these requests should be referred to and coordinated by the Office of Communications and Marketing. A representative of the Office of Communications & Marketing should be present at any interviews which take place. If there are any questions or concerns regarding UAMS policies or procedures in providing information, they should be referred to the Office of Communications and Marketing. Other employees should refrain from acting in a spokesman's capacity unless requested to do so.

  3. Any non-routine request for information from the media concerning the Hospital or clinical programs received by either Hospital Administration or Nursing Administration must immediately be shared with the Office of Communications and Marketing.

  4. To protect a patient's privacy rights, and to ensure the accuracy of any information provided to the media, only designated individuals in the Office of Communications and Marketing, Hospital Administration and Nursing Administration are authorized to release to the press any information concerning patients and their conditions. Patient information, including acknowledgment of a patient's presence at UAMS, will not be provided to the media unless the patient has chosen not to opt out of any part of the patient directory. If the patient has not opted out of any part of the patient directory, and the media ask for the patient by name, only a one-word description of the patient's condition may be released, unless the patient has otherwise asked us not to release such information or the Office of Communications and Marketing, Hospital Administration or Nursing Administration elect not to release any information. In the event of a patient's death, no information regarding the death of a patient will be released to the news media prior to the notification of next-of-kin or other legal representative.

  5. Any additional release of information regarding the patient, beyond the one-word statement of condition, requires written authorization from the patient or the patient's legal representative. If such authorization is obtained, a designated UAMS representative may release information authorized in writing by the patient; however, the information released shall be confined to that of a general nature. A copy of the patient's signed authorization must be kept on file with Hospital Administration, and the signed authorization must meet the requirements for a valid authorization as set forth in the HIPAA regulations. The UAMS Authorization for Release of Information to the Media form must be utilized.

  6. Wallet-sized cards detailing simple guidelines for dealing with the media are available by contacting the Office of Communications and Marketing. It is also recommended that each physician and department head undergo a short training course for dealing with the media. This can be scheduled through the Office of Communications and Marketing at 686-8990.

  7. Requests to all employees, medical staff and house staff for information from media representatives should be referred to the area listed below, depending on when the request is received:

    1. Weekdays - Requests received on a weekday (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) should be referred to the Office of Communications and Marketing, 686-8998 or pager 395-5989.
    2. Evenings, Nights and Weekends - Requests received during evenings, nights and weekends should be referred to the Assistant Director of Nursing on duty, at (501) 686-7000 or to the Office of Communications and Marketing at pager 395-5989. Whichever one receives the notification should inform the other of the media request.
    3. If a request for information cannot be referred to either Communications & Marketing or the Assistant Nursing Director on duty, the Administrator on call should be contacted.

  8. Any non-routine request for information received by either Communications & Marketing, Hospital Administration, or Nursing Administration should be shared immediately with the other three offices.