Frequently Asked Questions and Best Practices for Members of the Media
Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Marketing and Communications partners with media across the state, region and, on occasion, nationally to share compelling stories and information about our organization, patients, skilled providers, 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.
How do I contact Marketing and Communications?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you allowing any reporters on campus?
Yes, with prior approval. Our providers have very busy schedules and often have greater flexibility when they can do an interview by video. In this instance, we are often able to assist with video footage and photos for you to use for B-roll in news coverage.
Should I call before I arrive?
Yes. It is important for any member of the media to be escorted by a member of the MARCOM team to smoothly facilitate coordination with other staff members and ensure patient and visitor confidentiality at all times, so please arrange your interview in advance.
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.
May I contact a staff member or patient directly?
It is our pleasure to help you coordinate interviews with our patients and staff. We are here to make your job easier by working with patients and their care teams and finding you the best subject matter experts available. We try to ensure the time for the discussion works well for everyone so we can facilitate smooth, coordinated discussions.
Where do I find Marketing and Communications when I arrive for an interview?
In most cases, a member of the Marketing and Communications team 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 the Marketing and Communications team 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 a time to rest.We ask that staff and visitors contribute to a quiet environment to promote healing at all times. We may ask that you move interviews to conference rooms and offices to ensure patients nearby can rest. 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 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 Marketing and Communications 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 for the release of information.
- “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.
Am I able to do a live video from a Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center facility?
We ask that you work with our team to schedule a live video feed, and we will provide an escort during the entirety of filming on any of our campuses. This helps ensure patient and visitor safety and confidentiality.
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 by video or phone call. We require patients and family members who are at the Medical Center and want to appear in media stories to sign a written consent. We work together with the patient’s caregiver to find a time that works well for everyone.
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 Marketing and Communications team will do their best to keep an eye out for these areas to avoid, we ask everyone to 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 our patients with compromised immune systems, please consider wearing a mask if you have any respiratory symptoms and rescheduling if you are ill. Please clean your hands using hand sanitizer before entering any patient care areas.
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:
MEDIA LINE: 207-973-9530
MEDIA EMAIL: email@example.com.
Amy Kenney, Director
Kris Currier, Senior Communication Specialist
Derek Hurder, Senior Communication Specialist
Traci Hosmer, Communication Specialist