News Monitor

Marketing Campaigns Prunes on Prime Time Benefit Breast Cancer Awareness Targeting baby boomers and their efforts to eat right, work out more and preserve their youthful good looks, a pair of new TV commercials from the California Prune Board (San Francisco) focus on how energy-packed prunes enhance a healthy lifestyle regimen. Launched on Sept. 29, the ads emphasize prunes' fruitful goodness and coincide with CPB's "Prune the Risk" effort, a cause-related program benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (SKBCF). The animated ads feature the voice of talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell who donated her entire voice-over fee to breast cancer research. And each package of California Prunes sold in the U.S. from February through April 1998 will yield a donation to the SKBCF (the nation's largest private funder of breast cancer research). The ad campaign, aired on NBC and the Lifetime Network, is worth $6 million in network advertising time and marks the first time in nearly 30 years that prunes have gone prime time and the first time that baby boomers have been targeted, according to Bart Minor, CPB's director of marketing. The commercials will air on cable through March, 1997 and on network through the first quarter of 1998. (CPB, 510/734-0150) Columbia Women's Hospital is Becoming a Misnomer Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington (D.C.) is becoming more and more misleading as it expands its admissions to include men. The troubled hospital is reaching outside of its obstetrics and gynecology focus to provide men's medical services in an effort to remain independent. After months of unsuccessful negotiations with rival George Washington University and the university's for-profit partner, Universal Health Services Inc., the hospital decided "to look internally and strengthen ourselves internally," said board chairman Daryl A. Chamblee, earlier this week. The hospital has been in a delicate financial situation primarily due to competitive pressures of managed care as well as the aging of the female population, as fewer women of childbearing age need the hospital's core services. In the last few years, the hospital reported losses of an estimated $12 million to $13 million. To bolster its bottom line, the hospital will serve a wider array of patients, including men. However, there are no immediate plans to market itself specifically to men. (Columbia Hospital, 202/293-6500) New System Tracks Chronic Illness Management, Quality Many managed care plans don't make the grade in treating and managing chronic illness, according to a new study, "The State of Managed Care Quality," released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The study, which highlights several gaps in the successful management of chronic illness, found that 80 percent of all U.S. health expenditures are spent in this area of healthcare delivery. To fill in these gaps, HiLife Supported SelfCare, a healthcare systems developer based in Newport Beach, Calif., developed a new multi-program system that manages chronic illness treatment. As a quality improvement marketing tool, LifeMasters (SM) takes a lifestyle approach to disease management, incorporating technology with the needs of physicians, HMOs and patients. The telephone-based system relies on a series of question prompts that patients answer at home. The patients' answers are input into the system and situations requiring action are immediately flagged. The cost of the program is based on patient volume. (HiLife Supported SelfCare, 415/957-1705) Advocacy Initiatives Top Not-For-Profit Healthcare Providers Launch Coalition Highlighting a major industry push for advocacy, research and grassroots public education, representatives of the Coalition for Nonprofit Health Care recently announced a new initiative, earlier this month, at a Washington, D.C., press briefing. Members of the coalition comprise 23 provider members and four organizational members, including not-for-profit hospitals and healthcare systems, integrated delivery systems, HMOs and physician group practices. The core goals of the coalition are to unify the voices of the non-profit healthcare sector, emphasize the benefits of non-profit healthcare providers and preserve the non-profit healthcare delivery system. Other coalition initiatives include: Improving public understanding of the difference in mission between non-profits and for-profits and the broad range of community benefits provided by non-profits.Highlighting public access to critical, but unprofitable services provided by the non-profit sector. Documenting the unique role of nonprofits in developing clinical and educational innovations adopted by the entire healthcare community.Emphasizing the continued tax-exempt status essential to allowing non-profit providers to build needed capital reserves and access tax-exempt bond markets to modernize facilities, develop new clinical approaches and provide access to underserved populations. (Coalition for Nonprofit Health Care, 202/833-8121)

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