Columbia/HCA’s Reorganization Shifts Power to Local PR

Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. is in the throes of a sweeping reorganization that could ultimately mean its local PR will call the shots on shaping the corporate image of the troubled-but-thriving hospital giant. The corporate strategy, which calls for Columbia to shed one-third of its 340 hospitals, is intended to transform the chain into a network of community-based hospitals. But from a local PR standpoint, the facelift mission will require aggressive community damage control and educational efforts focused on making the transition as smooth as possible.