Guidelines for Working with BJC Media Contacts

BJC Corporate Media Contacts

BJC Facility Media Contacts and News Releases

BJC HealthCare's reputation as a leader in nonprofit health care -- and its affiliation with Washington University School of Medicine -- attracts considerable attention from the media. BJC HealthCare staffs handle hundreds of media inquiries each year from local, national and international media outlets, seeking information ranging from medical breakthroughs and research discoveries to opinions regarding health care market trends.

Media Relations Policies and Procedures

  • Contact a BJC staff member to arrange interviews with any BJC personnel; BJC tracks all media inquiries -- and when appropriate -- can provide additional or more appropriate sources for your story
  • To assure that readers and viewers understand where featured services, programs or treatments are available, reporters are expected to identify BJC staff by their BJC title
  • Advance notice of on-site interviews is necessary so staff can arrange for a room for media interviews or shoots, notify the patient care areas involved, and line up the appropriate patients, families and staff for your story
  • To protect the privacy of all other patients and families, BJC staff must accompany all reporters, video crews and photographers on all BJC campuses and buildings
  • No information other than a one-word condition is made available to any member of the media until BJC staff receives consent from a patient or patient's family
  • To obtain a condition of a patient, a reporter must have the patient's name; in the case of a breaking story such as a motor vehicle accident, fire or other trauma, identifying information such as the location or address of the accident is necessary in place of a name to confirm proper identification; hospitals do not release patient names -- reporters should contact public authorities
  • If a patient's situation is not a matter of public record, we require family permission to release any information, including condition

Special Cases

  • Hospital spokespersons cannot make comments about alleged abuse cases; if the reporter has the patient's name from a police report, a condition may be released
  • The victims of an assault or other crimes are listed under "protective status" conditions for the protection of the patient and others in the hospital; information pertaining to the patient's condition may be released only if the reporter agrees not to reveal the name of the hospital; the "protective status" also applies to visuals -- therefore, live shots and stand-ups where the hospital can be identified are not permitted
  • Public figures -- BJC staff defers to the wishes of the family or other spokesperson
  • BJC staff members are prohibited by law from releasing any information to the news media about psychiatric or substance abuse patients; no statement may be made pertaining to whether a patient has a sexually transmitted or communicable disease, or is a victim of domestic violence or child abuse

Patient Condition Definitions
BJC HealthCare follows the definitions of conditions approved by the American Hospital Association:
Undetermined -- Patient awaiting physician assessment
Good -- Vital signs are stable and within normal limits; patient is conscious and comfortable; indicators are excellent.
Fair -- Vital signs are stable and within normal limits; patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable; indicators are favorable
Serious -- Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits; patient is acutely ill; indicators are questionable
Critical -- Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits; patient may not be conscious; indicators are unfavorable
Treated and Released -- Received treatment but not admitted

Note: The term "stable" should not be used as a condition. Nor should it be used in combination with other conditions, which by definition, often indicate a patient is unstable. With written consent from the patient, a more detailed statement regarding a patient's condition and injuries or illness can be drafted and approved by the patient or legal representative.