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Marketing Works ‘Better Together’

Health care organizations have seen a drop in people coming in for non-COVID health conditions, a sign that patients are delaying care to avoid coming to a hospital during a pandemic. In response, six hospital systems started the “Better Together Health” initiative 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. It’s increasingly called the “silent sub-epidemic” among medical professionals — people coming in with serious ailments that could have been avoided with prior medical care, or those that have put off needed surgery. “We know many patients who in the past dialed 911 for life-threatening emergencies are now not accessing these vital services quickly,” said Julie Sprengel, president of Dignity Health Hospitals’ Southwest Division. Dignity is a subsidiary of CommonSpirit Health in Chicago. “We are instead seeing patients that delayed, postponed or cancelled care coming to emergency departments with serious conditions that should have been treated far earlier.” “We know that seeking immediate care for heart attacks and strokes can be life-saving and may minimize long-term effects,” added Tom Jackiewicz, chief executive of Keck Medicine of USC. “Our hospitals and health care providers are ready and open to serve your needs.” In addition to surgeries and addressing ongoing health concerns, the initiative reminds consumers that scheduled vaccinations for children are essential too. “It is critically important for children to stay on schedule for vaccinations for the protection of their health and others as well, including the measles and whooping cough vaccines,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Health Plan and Hospitals. “These highly contagious diseases could become a public health issue if not addressed. Immunizations help protect children and those around them from diseases caused by bacteria or viruses.”

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