Monday, July 25, 2005

How Low Can You Go?

From Crain's Detroit

St. Joseph Mercy of Oakland plans to up the ante in emergency-room wait-times, the latest battlefront in hospital marketing.

The Pontiac hospital owned by Trinity Health plans to roll out a 20-minute emergency-room guarantee Aug. 1 in a series of billboards and radio ads.

Five years ago, Dearborn-based Oakwood Healthcare System sparked the trend by promising emergency-room patients a pair of movie tickets if they were not seen by a physician within 30 minutes. Detroit Medical Center followed in 2004 with a 29-minute guarantee and St. Joseph Mercy of Macomb, also owned by Trinity, instituted a 30-minute guarantee during February of the same year.

“The time a patient waits to see a physician is precious time lost,” said Jack Weiner, CEO of St. Joseph Mercy of Oakland and former CEO of the Macomb location, in an e-mailed statement. “We do believe that we will see more volume as a result; however, it is more than just a numbers game. This new process allows us to provide better access to patients that need care.”


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