St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan closed the doors for good on May 1st after over 160 years of service. The closure was attributed to their focus on mission – taking care of the poor no matter of ability to pay. But I believe that the hospital could have been saved by marketing.
Marketing can bring in the high-incidence high-contribution clinical intake that leads to long-term financial sustainability.
Those of us in healthcare that hold their nose at the idea of targeting patients with great payers for specific DRG’s, should read about St. V in Manhattan. St. V cannot continue to perform their vital mission because of a failure in marketing disguised as a heart for charity.
I have seen this all over the country: those of us that got into healthcare for the mission but now bristle at the idea of using marketing and business methodologies to upgrade the payer mix and create financial efficiencies.
But I have also seen and had the pleasure of working with urban hospitals and amazing FQHC’s that deal exclusively with the poor while providing first-class services and operating profitably. How? Because they focus on financial sustainability… including great targeted marketing.
I call hospital marketing a holy mission because we can only accomplish our healthcare mission by being shrewd marketers. Those that aspire to be the most charitable among us need to also become the most savvy marketers.