Frequently Asked Questions and Best Practices for Members of the Media
Northern Light Easter Maine Medical Center Community Relations partners with media across the state, region and, on occasion, nationally to share compelling stories and information about our organization, patients, and the services and programs we offer. Below is some helpful information to assist reporters and other media representatives about things to keep in mind when covering stories on campus.
How do I contact Community Relations?
Our dedicated media number, (207) 973-9530, is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, excluding major holidays. After hours, if you are looking for a patient condition, you may call the main switchboard at 973-7000. If you have an emergency situation requiring assistance from our team after hours or on weekends you may contact us at any time via email at email@example.com.
Should I call before I arrive?
Yes. It is important for any member of the media to be escorted by a member of Community Relations to smoothly facilitate coordination with other staff members and ensure patient and visitor confidentiality at all times, so please arrange your interview in advance.
Is it OK for me to use the Medical Center's valet parking service when I arrive?
Yes! We want to make your visit easy and as convenient as possible, so please feel free to utilize this service. FREE valet parking at our Main Entrance is available Monday – Friday from 5 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm.
Do I need to check in with Security when I arrive?
It depends on the location and reason for the visit, but usually, yes, we ask that any visitor check in with Security and receive a visitor’s badge.
Why do I need to be escorted?
As you might imagine, patient and visitor confidentiality is critical in any healthcare organization. In fact, we are required by law to follow certain procedures to ensure confidentiality, and not just for patients, but for hospital visitors as well. We are here to make your job easier and coordinate conversations with individuals within the hospital to assist as needed.
Where do I find Community Relations when I arrive for an interview?
In most cases, for an interview at the State Street campus, a member of Community Relations will meet you at the information desk just inside the Main Entrance to the hospital. Visitors may be required to sign in at the security desk before proceeding. For interviews at our other campuses and outpatient practices, a pre-determined meeting area will be designated ahead of the visit.
Are there designated areas for interviews in the hospital?
Members of Community Relations will work with you to find an appropriate place to conduct interviews, which includes areas acceptable to film and photograph. Patients and visitors must not be visible in the background of any video recording or photo.
Are there quiet hours?
Each day between 2 and 3 pm, we designate for a time to rest, however during all times, we ask that staff and visitors contribute to a quiet environment to promote healing. We may ask that you move interviews to conference rooms and offices to ensure other patients nearby can rest. Also, please remember to keep your voice down any time you’re conducting an interview, for the same reason.
When I call for a patient condition, why do I have to wait for a call back?
Before we can release information (if any) about a patient in our care, we need to work with nursing staff to ensure a consent form has been signed by the patient or his/her representative. We must adhere to strict HIPAA laws and regulations to protect patient confidentiality.
Even if a reporter has previously received a condition report on a patient and calls back for an update, we are required to follow the same steps each time. Occasionally a patient or their representative may change their mind to restrict the release of their condition while at the hospital.
What do the patient condition terms mean?
It is hospital policy for members of the Community Relations team to provide a simple, one or two word description regarding patient conditions. Below are guidelines to understanding what the conditions mean, and the conditions under which we must operate to ensure patient confidentiality:
Please note we are not able to clarify which situation applies when reporting “No Information”.
- “NO INFORMATION” – This may be due to a number of factors, including
- The person is not a patient at our Medical Center;
- We do not have a signed consent allowing to the release of information
Am I able to do a “live shot” from a Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center facility?
- “BEING EVALUATED” – Medical personnel have not yet determined the medical needs of a patient and, therefore, cannot provide a current condition.
- “GOOD” – Patient vital signs are stable and within normal limits; patient may be conscious and comfortable.
- “FAIR” – Vital signs are stable and within normal limits; patient may be conscious but uncomfortable.
- “SERIOUS” – Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits; patient is acutely ill.
- “CRITICAL” – Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits; patient may not be conscious and prognosis may not be favorable.
- “DECEASED” – We are only able to verify that a patient is deceased if the next of kin/guardian has been notified. Please note we are not able to report cause of death or whether an autopsy is planned.
- “TREATED & RELEASED” – The patient has been treated and released from the hospital. This is often used with Emergency Department patients who are not formally admitted as a patient.
- “TRANSFERRED” – This patient has been transferred to another medical facility.
- “DISCHARGED” – The person is no longer a patient at our facility.
It depends on the location and camera angle. To ensure patient and visitor safety and confidentiality, no passersby should be within the filming area. The Community Relations member providing your escort will assist in finding a suitable location in these instances.
Can I interview a patient at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center?
We are happy to ask a patient who is feeling well enough if they would like to participate in media stories. We require patient or family member to sign a written consent to appear in media stories while being treated at the Medical Center.
When filming and photographing patients, is there anything I cannot include?
Yes. Potentially sensitive information is all around us. Please avoid patient and family identifiers such as medical bracelets, computer monitors with medical records, dry erase boards in patient rooms, medications, medical charts, and more. Although the Community Relations team will do their best to keep an eye out for these areas to avoid, it is best if everyone can be mindful of protecting patient and family information at all times.
Is there anything I can do to help protect patients when I’m here?
To prevent the spread of infection, and especially to help out our patients with compromised immune systems, consider using hand gel before entering all patient rooms. Clean hands help prevent the spread of germs. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the hospital.
Please remember that Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is a scent-free environment. Please refrain from wearing perfumes, cologne, and scented lotions.
Please consider us a resource and a partner who can help you get the best media story possible. Please reach out at any time for assistance: