Mercy Media Relations Press Policy

Mercy’s Media Relations office is responsible for providing news and other information to print and broadcast media outlets, internet, trade publications, news services, etc., locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Media Relations oversees elements of the Mercy website, specifically the “Mercy in the News” section of the homepage, as well as the Media Relations domain (for media use). Media Relations also oversees media training of staff when appropriate.

The Media Relations office oversees all aspects of media relations with Mercy Health Services’ subsidiaries, working with public relations representatives at Stella Maris, Mercy Ridge and with physicians and administrators affiliated with Mercy community health center satellites including, but not limited to, Mercy Personal Physicians at Lutherville, Reisterstown, Overlea and Glen Burnie.

It is the responsibility of the Mercy Media Relations office to represent Mercy in the best light possible, balancing the needs and requests for interviews and information from the press with safeguarding the privacy and well-being of patients and the needs of physicians, nurses, clinical and administrative staff.

For the protection of both staff and patients, all requests for interviews and/or photography, wherever received, shall be referred to Media Relations or to Administration; in the absence of a public relations or administrative representative, to the Nursing Supervisor on duty.

Mercy employees should never contact the media on their own. Employees who believe they have a story worth sharing with the media are instructed to contact the Mercy Media Relations office at ext. 9714 or the Marketing Department at ext. 9239.

Mercy will grant permission to do interviews only with the approval of the patient or the patient’s guardian or representative, and the patient’s attending physician (both verbal and written).

If  the patient’s physician deems it appropriate for the patient to be interviewed, Media Relations or a designated member of Administration or the Nursing Supervisor on duty will personally contact the patient (or, if necessary, a member of the patient’s family) to obtain written approval for the interview and/or photography request.

A signed consent form, available through Media Relations, must be obtained from the patient. The form will become part of the patient’s permanent record, with one additional copy kept on file by Media Relations.

A Media Relations representative may be present throughout the interview. Only a medical professional may permit bed adjustments for the convenience of the patient and/or the interviewer photographer.

Following completion of the assignment, the member(s) of the media will be escorted to the lobby.

A reporter, photographer, or other media representative shall NOT be admitted to a patient’s room without permission of the clinical staff and patient. If a member of the media appears on a nursing floor unannounced, he or she shall be asked to remain in the waiting room on that floor while Media Relations, Administration, or the Nursing Supervisor on duty is notified.

Should a member of the media or any accompanying individual create a disturbance, Security will be notified and that individual will be escorted to the lobby. Firm enforcement of hospital rules is necessary at all times.

In matters of medical practice, the wishes of the physician are always paramount regarding use of his/her name or direct quotation. A physician may give information to reporters when requested by Media Relations in the following circumstances:

  • In case of emergency or accident, whether or not it is a matter of public record, the physician may provide the nature of the injury and degree of seriousness ONLY with both verbal and written permission from the patient. A patient’s presence at Mercy cannot be confirmed or denied without the patient’s expressed permission, both verbal and written, even if media supplies the patient’s name. No information about the patient can be released without both the patient and patient’s attending physician’s verbal and written consent.
  • In the case of illness of a person who is an acknowledged public figure, no information can be released without both the patient and the physician’s verbal and written consent.
  • In cases of unusual illness, injury or treatment which has news value, the physician may provide scientific information that will lead to a better understanding of the progress of medical science, provided written permission from the patient is provided.

With the exception of media photographic/video coverage of public events (a public event defined as any event open for the general public, i.e. exhibitions, expositions, fairs, festivals, entertainment, cause-related, fundraising, leisure events, etc.), Mercy employees must be made aware that they may appear on camera pursuant to the development of a story for print, broadcast or online media platforms and be given the opportunity to decline participation. No employee will be so photographed/videotaped without his/her consent, to be provided verbally and, as circumstances warrant (i.e. employee’s request), via signed consent form.

Contact: Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations, 410-332-9714, dcollins@mdmercy.com; Mercy Marketing Office, 410-332-9239.

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