At a glance 

Growing interest in medicine and science has greatly increased media coverage of health issues. For accurate information, journalists frequently call our public relations department. In agreeing to an interview, Methodist physicians and staff help reporters inform people about health, medicine and science, and contribute to the public’s understanding of research.

Media Relations

Methodist Rehab physicians and staff are always willing to help reporters inform the public about health and medical research.

The public relations department is responsible for release of information about Methodist Rehab to local and national press, including print and broadcast media. All media requests should be directed to the department at 601-364-3334. A staff member will obtain the information needed and arrange interviews with appropriate persons.

Understanding deadline pressures, every effort is taken to respond quickly to all requests. If Methodist personnel are unable to comment on an issue, PR staff members will try to direct the reporter to other local sources.

The PR department is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Staff members are on call at all times when the office is not open. To reach staff members after working hours, call 601-364-3334 and listen to the voice mail message for a mobile phone number. Staff members are not available to assist with feature stories on weekends, holidays or after hours.

Condition Reports

Methodist Rehab is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its patients and patient information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandates regulations that govern privacy standards for healthcare information.

Patient condition reports are available only through the hospital’s PR department. Reporters or editors calling for a condition report must know the patient’s name so that staff members can locate the patient in the hospital.

As required by federal law, Methodist Rehab asks all patients if they want to be included in the hospital’s patient directory. If a patient chooses to opt out of the directory, the PR department cannot provide a patient condition report nor confirm the patient’s presence in the hospital.

Release of any medical information, including interviews and photographs with the patient or medical staff, requires written authorization by the patient or patient's legal representative.

Escorting Media

PR staffers must always accompany members of the media through all Methodist buildings and get signed consent forms from all patients appearing in video or photographs and from those who agree to the release of information about their medical history.

Meeting in the Lobby

Because of Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s size, it is often easier for reporters and PR staffers to meet in the hospital’s main lobby before going to the location of the interview.  Methodist Specialty Care Center, Methodist Pain and Spine Center, Methodist Orthotics and Prosthetics and Methodist Outpatient Therapy are all located on the hospital’s east campus in Flowood. There is a second Methodist Outpatient Therapy location in Ridgeland. Reporters may be asked to meet a PR staff member on that campus if the story being covered is about a patient or staff member at any of those facilities.

Titles and Supers

The staff member you are working with will provide you with the name and title of the person you are scheduled to interview. Please identify each person’s affiliation with the hospital (Methodist Rehabilitation Center Administrator, Methodist Physician, Methodist Rehab Patient, etc.).

Mail, E-mail and Fax List

The public relations department frequently sends out news releases to Mississippi radio and television stations, newspapers and magazines about patients, accident and injury prevention and new procedures and technology. Call (800) 223-6672 (ext. 3334) or 601-364-3334 if you would like to be added to Methodist’s mail, E-mail or fax list for news releases or media advisories. You may also sign-up for E-mailed news release on this Web site.

Localizing National Stories

Many national news stories about advancements in medicine, scientific studies and other health issues can be localized at Methodist. PR staffers, when appropriate, can identify physicians, administrators and other staff members and set up interviews to determine photo/B-roll possibilities.

The more information they can obtain (wire reports, etc.) from journalists about a national story, the more they can help in locating the proper person to speak about a specific issue or report in the news.

TELEVISION

Realizing that TV reports seek out visual images, PR staffers are always on the look-out for good locations and B-roll opportunities. Every effort is made to provide an interesting backdrop for on-camera interviews and, when possible, identify B-roll opportunites.

Remote Broadcasts

Staff members are available to assist local television stations with live remote broadcasts from campus. Physicians and others are usually available to talk about medical news, health screenings and medical and health issues in the national news.

Live On-set Interviews

Often physicians and other Methodist experts are available to appear live on-set at television stations for interviews about a variety of topics. Reporters interested in live, on-set interviews should call the PR department as early as possible.

PRINT

Again, understanding deadline pressure, staff members do their best to quickly identify sources for reporters. If a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible, phone interviews usually are. The PR staff members realize that many publications seek charts, graphics or photographs to accompany stories. If possible, they will make them available to reporters.

Localized Features

Because Methodist treats patients from all 82 counties in Mississippi and from other states, the Methodist PR department receives frequent requests from daily and weekly newspapers for patient features about local residents. Staff members are always willing to try and identify a patient from a specific community so that a local paper can follow the patient’s progress. The subject of these local patient features can vary. Often a reporter or editor is interested in a feature about a patient who’s suffered a spinal cord or brain injury, stroke or other neurological and orthopedic disorder.

Photo Features

The PR department frequently sends out photo cutlines featuring patients, employees or groups to local newspapers statewide. All cutlines include the names and hometowns of each person photographed and a contact number at Methodist.

RADIO

Physicians, researchers and staff at Methodist are usually willing to talk about medical breakthroughs and other health issues making news. They are available for phone interviews or can appear live in-studio when their schedules permit.

Public Service Announcements

PR staffers fax or mail various public service announcements about a variety of free screenings and support group meetings at Methodist. All PSAs are clearly identified and include a contact name and phone number.

Contact Information

Susan Christensen
Methodist Rehabilitation Center        
1350 East Woodrow Wilson
Jackson, MS 39216-9919
MAIN: 800-223-6672

Print and Broadcast Media Relations / Public Relations

website: www.mmrcrehab.org
phone: 601-364-3334 or 601-364-3311
email: schristens@mmrcrehab.org
mail: Methodist Rehabilitation Center
1350 East Woodrow Wilson, Jackson, MS 39216-9919