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Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023

Campaign Averts Next Health Crisis

The California Hospital Association launched its “Care Can’t Wait” public service campaign late last month to fight a growing stigma around hospital visits during the pandemic. Hospital administrations, including those in the San Fernando Valley, are worried that a “secondary health care crisis” might spring up from people delaying care until a chronic condition is in a serious, late stage of development. According to a recent Harris Poll, one in four people said they would stay home in the event of a heart attack or stroke. The National Cancer Institute predicted that there will be 10,000 more deaths in the U.S. in the next 10 years — all because of pandemic-related delays in care. The number of vaccinations for children in the state dropped by nearly half compared to last year, CHA said, because parents were opting to avoid the doctor’s office starting in April. “The fact that so many people are hesitant to seek necessary medical care is very alarming — and points to a secondary health care crisis in the making,” Carmela Coyle, chief executive of the California Hospital Association, said in a statement. “Not only are we in the midst of the pandemic, but we face an even greater disease burden resulting from undiagnosed or untreated illnesses, and missed preventative health opportunities.” The statewide campaign echoes others mounted by hospital systems to increase traffic. For example, six hospital systems started the “Better Together Health” initiative in June to assure people — through billboards, television spots and print advertisements — that it’s safe to come to a clinic or hospital. Participants include Providence, UCLA Health, Keck Medicine of USC, Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, and Cedars-Sinai. The initiative was formed by Dr. Rhonda Weiss, a national health care consultant and chair for the American Medical Association Executive Summit. The California Hospital Association’s campaign consists of a 30-second animated video distributed among television and radio stations across the state and a “dynamic” social media aspect, the trade group said. Content will touch on enhanced virus-inhibiting procedures at hospitals for patients, employees and visitors, including screening and temperature checks; a separate section for COVID triage; deep cleanings such as UV disinfecting; and proper personal protective equipment wearing.

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