Not included in the budget are the salaries of the hospital's seven-person, in-house marketing staff. But again, for a hospital Grady's size, that level of staffing is already very lean. Besides, part of the cost is offset by a Georgia Pacific donation of $200,000 worth of advertising space for this year.
The point is Grady's marketing team is spending its 0.2% share of the budget wisely. The coordinated PR, advertising, and rebranding efforts have the potential to financially help the facility expand their payer mix and eventually grow a broader base of business—which will sustain them into the future. Spending on an annual report, a branded ambulance, and promoting its stroke center—one of those aforementioned profitable service lines—are smart choices, too.
Just this month, Grady officials announced its first surplus in about a decade. Their marketing efforts are one more block that helps build upon this momentum.
What's more, patient quality and satisfaction, which had been poor in past years, are now improving. Hospital acquired infections are down, pharmacy waits are down, and MRI waits are down.
This means when the high-value patients come to Grady as a result of the PR and advertising efforts, their experience will match the brand message—which is what all hospitals strive for. Thanks to its so-called "indefensible" marketing expenditures, Grady just may secure itself in the black ink.