Media guidelines

The Marketing and Communications department at Children's Wisconsin handles all media inquiries. Calls to other areas of the organization will be directed back to our department because our team is most familiar with the needs and deadlines of the news media. We coordinate hundreds of news stories each year for regional, national and international print, broadcast, and electronic media outlets. Whatever your needs, we will work to provide interviews and information on deadline, while respecting our patients and their families.

Who do I contact after hours?
A public relations staff member is on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to assist the news media. After 5 p.m. weekdays or on weekends and holidays call (414) 266-2000 Please ask the operator to have the on-call Media Relations specialist paged.

How do I arrange for in-person interviews and/or photography at Children's Wisconsin?
To protect our patients' privacy, hospital policy requires that all members of the media, photographers, and videographers must be escorted by a member of the Marketing and Communications Department. Security Services will ask all unescorted media to leave the premises. Please contact Children's Wisconsin and Health System Public Relations to make arrangements.

Do I have to call Media Relations if the family says it's OK to visit?
Yes. All arrangements must be made through Marketing and Communications. This ensures the privacy and safety of all our patients. If the child is a confidential admission, members of the media are not allowed to gain access to the hospital even with the parent's OK. Interviews must take place at locations outside of Children's property. Hospital security strictly forbids members of the media inside the hospital at any time without a Media Relations escort.

How do I obtain a patient condition?
To receive patient conditions, you must have the patient's first and last name spelled correctly when you call. The Media Relations specialist also may ask for the patient's age and circumstances surrounding the admission to further identify the correct patient. Children's staff must gain consent from the child's legal guardian before releasing any information. In cases involving victims of crime or suspected crime, the hospital cannot release any patient information (confidential admissions).

What are the patient conditions and what do they mean?
Patient condition categories have been established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and are as follows:

  • Undetermined. Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment.
  • Good. Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are favorable.
  • 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 be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
Why is the patient confidential?

If a child is the victim of a crime or suspected crime (violent crime, child abuse, shaken baby syndrome are examples), the hospital will list the child with confidential status. This means the hospital cannot release any information -- even that the child is a patient, and even with parental consent. This is to protect the child, the family, and our staff while that patient is in the hospital. A family also can choose to keep their child's admission status private for a variety of reasons.