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Michigan Hospital Looks for Patients North of the Border

Doug Desjardins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 19, 2011

"The marketing effort focuses mainly on image diagnostic testing and joint surgery," said Sheleney. "The diagnostic testing is important because people who are waiting for a test to determine if they might have cancer usually want to know right away."

Port Huron's focus on joint surgery is also a good match, given the wait times for most Canadians who need that type of procedure. According to a recent study in Health Affairs, the average wait time for a 65-year-old man in Canada needing a hip replacement is more than six months, far longer than any wait in the U.S.

Another local hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, is keeping a close eye on Port Huron Hospital's marketing effort as it considers launching one of its own. Many Michigan hospitals are looking to attract more patients and generate revenue in a state with an unemployment rate of 12.4%, the second-highest in the U.S.

Brian Peters, executive vice president of operations at the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, said he expects more hospitals in border communities to step up efforts to market their services across the border.

"If you look at the reimbursement environment (in the U.S.), Medicare and Medicaid payments haven't grown," Peters told the Port Huron Times Herald. "Growth of uninsured populations puts added pressure on hospitals and gives them a real incentive to draw patients from outside the community."

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2 comments on "Michigan Hospital Looks for Patients North of the Border"


Bill Lindsay (1/20/2011 at 4:11 PM)
What Port Huron Hospital is doing to increase access to care for its neighbors to the north is a great way to drive business. In addition to the traditional marketing tactics the hospital has undertaken, the hospital would be wise to utilize social media channels, too. Driving awareness of these special operations or procedures, and the benefit of having them readily available at Port Huron, could be effectively highlighted through Facebook and/or Twitter. Port Huron Hospital could even place Facebook ads targeting Canadian residents and drive clicks to its fan page, where it could then host timely info on its diagnostic and orthopedic services and short wait times. Just a thought!

Todd (1/19/2011 at 1:17 PM)
Brian Peters just articulated why health insurance premiums continue to increase so significantly. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have not grown but reimbursements paid by commercial insurance companies and employers sure have. I hope Kathleen Sebelius reads this article.