The primary focus of the Children’s Health media relations team is the safety and privacy of the staff, patients and families we serve, adhering to the guidelines of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). With that in mind, media should be aware of the following guidelines when pursuing stories or interviews with Children’s Health, including patients, families, medical personnel or staff:
- Media Contact: All contact by the media must be made through the Children’s Health media relations department. The media relations team will set up interviews with patient families, doctors and/or any Children’s Health staff when possible.
- On-Campus Media: Per hospital policy, any member of the media (including reporters, photographers and videographers) must be escorted by a Children’s Health media relations representative at all times while on property.
- Interviews with Staff or Physicians: A media relations representative must be present during any media interviews with Children’s Health staff or physicians, whether in person or by phone.
- Live Shots/Exterior Filming: Media wanting to film outside the hospital or any other facility must make the media relations team aware so they can notify Children’s Health security. When shooting the exterior of the hospital, media should avoid filming any patients or families who may be walking in or out.
- Patient Photography/Interviews: Written permission is required from the patients’ parents or legal guardians prior to any media interviews or photos/videos, including those taken during hospital events. All requests for patient interviews or photography must be authorized by the Children’s Health media relations team, who will obtain the necessary consents and make the media aware of who can and cannot be interviewed or filmed.
- Condition Reports: Per HIPAA, Children’s Health cannot share any information about a hospitalized child unless his/her parent or guardian has given prior written permission to release this information.
- Any media calling for a condition update must be able to provide the patient’s full name and age before the media relations team can request an update. Then, it is up to the parent or guardian to decide whether any information will be released.
- If a patient’s parent or guardian lists him or her as a “no-information patient,” Children’s Health cannot confirm or deny that the child is located at our facility, nor can we provide condition reports.
- When a condition report is permitted, it will be limited to one of the following descriptions:
- Good: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are good or excellent.
- Fair: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
- Serious: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. the patient is acutely ill, and indicators are questionable. The patient may or may not be conscious.
- Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Major complications involved. The patient may or may not be conscious; death may be imminent.
- Treated and Released: The patient was here but has been released.
Style for Journalists
Children’s Medical Center has evolved as a health system to become Children’s Health℠, which includes our hospitals in Dallas and Plano and the primary care practices and specialty centers throughout Texas.
Children’s Health℠ refers to the system as a whole and is appropriate for general and broad use in media.
Please note: Please avoid abbreviations or generic names which are not endorsed by Children’s Health, including: Children’s Hospital, Children’s, CMCD, CH or Children’s Dallas.
Please use Children’s Medical Center Foundation when referencing any affiliations, activities or donations to the development arm of Children’s Health.
Preferred styles for use in external communications
Preferred Children’s Health Style
- The system has unified all offerings under Children’s Health℠.
- The preferred style for the system on first reference for any external communication is: Children’s Health℠. The use of the “℠” is not needed on subsequent references.
- On second reference and thereafter, Children’s Health is the preferred proper name.
When to use Children’s Medical Center
- When referring to a specific hospital either in Dallas or Plano, the preferred proper name is: Children’s Medical Center Dallas or Children’s Medical Center Plano.
- On second reference and thereafter, Children’s Medical Center is the preferred proper name.
When to use Children’s Health℠ Pediatric Group (formerly known as MyChildren’s)
- When referring to the physician offices, the preferred proper name is: Children’s Health℠ Pediatric Group or Children’s Health℠ Pediatric Group Bachman (or insert other geographic location).
- On second reference and thereafter, Children’s Health Pediatric Group is the preferred proper name or simply Children’s Health.
When to use Children’s Health℠ Specialty Center
- When referring to the specialty centers, the preferred proper name is: Children’s Health℠ Specialty Center or Children’s Health℠ Specialty Center Plano (or insert other geographic location).
- On second reference and thereafter, Children’s Health Specialty Center is the preferred proper name or simply Children’s Health.
When referring to a doctor, nurse or other professional
- Please use the appropriate professional designation after their name, which may include M.D., D.D.S., D.O., Ph.D., RN, etc. – example: John Smith, M.D., Children’s Health℠ Pediatric Group.
- On second reference and thereafter, please use Dr. Smith.
- If the professional is also affiliated with UT Southwestern, please include their title with UT Southwestern as well.