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Take Care, New York

Kandace McLaughlin Doyle, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2009

Click to watch video.Reaching your target audience is difficult enough. But when your target audience includes all of the residents of New York City—who speak more than 88 different languages, difficult is an understatement.

New York City's Health & Hospitals Corporation (HHC) had challenging business goals that seemed, at first, at odds: To create a campaign that could reach out to the increasing at-risk, multi-cultural, New York City population and also lower the costs of bad debt, caring for the uninsured, and providing charity care.

Working with its agency, Princeton Partners Health in Princeton, NJ, the team started by integrating two of HHC's major healthcare plans: the Child Health Plan and the Family Health Plus plan.

"We really wanted to support the health and well-being of New York residents," says Gabrielle DeTora, vice president of health strategy for Princeton Partners. "So we worked with clinical and administrative leadership at HHC as well as plan leadership to tweak and make something that would really be useful, powerful, and applicable."

The result was the start of HHC's campaign and program: Take Care New York. "They really wanted to take care of their own," says DeTora, "they wanted to take care of New Yorkers regardless of their citizenship or their ability to pay . . . that's really where this idea was born."

The program enrolled uninsured patients into the integrated plans at low or no cost to the patient or their families. The plan also included comprehensive wellness health screenings to allow HHC to capture market share of the uninsured population as well as to catch health issues in the early stages.

The campaign used TV, radio, print, and local events at HHC facilities. To be sure word reached the target audiences, marketing pieces were produced in 23 of New York's most frequently spoken languages. NYC's "big apple" image appeared on each of the marketing pieces to establish continuity between the various elements and increase recognition.

Overall, 65,000 New Yorkers responded to the screenings. More than 12% required follow up care. HHC had also enrolled thousands into its health plans, which provided it with a 2–1 return on its investment.

Though meeting both business goals was an important part of the campaign, equally important was the way the campaign's execution allowed each resident, no matter their language or cultural background, to be informed of their health options and feel included.


Kandace McLaughlin Doyle is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at kdoyle@healthleadersmedia.com If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.

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