Cities Collaborate to Build Healthcare Corridors

Doug Desjardins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2011

Even though the recession is officially over, unemployment remains high and consumer confidence is still low, two factors that continue to tamp down in- patient volume at hospitals. And though competition remains fierce among healthcare providers, some are teaming up in collaborative efforts with city officials to market themselves as a collective.

The concept of using public and private funds to market an area of a city as a "healthcare corridor" is catching on and being tested in several cities around the country. One of the newest efforts is underway just outside of Phoenix, where the cities of Gilbert and Mesa are working on a strategy to brand and market an area bordering the two cities as a destination for healthcare.

The mayors of both cities envision a marketing campaign that promotes a collection of hospitals, medical centers, and outpatient facilities that recently opened or are on their way. They include Cardon Children's Hospital, Banner Gateway Medical Center, Banner Heart Hospital, Banner Baywood Medical Center and Mountain Vista Medical Center. Soon to be in the mix is the new 76-bed M.D. Anderson Cancer Center due to open in late 2011, an affiliate of the prestigious M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.

Mountain Vista Medical Center CEO Tony Marinello said he looks forward to taking part in a program that would help the area's healthcare industry and believes other providers are also anxious to get on board.

"Even though we're all competitors, it still makes sense to collaborate because every facility has its specialty and all of them fill a need for our local community," said Marinello, who has headed the 178-bed medical center in Mesa since it opened in 2007. "This was a high-growth area before the recession and it's starting to grow again, so there's a lot of interest in promoting the concept of healthcare corridor."

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