Healthcare group in PA taps H&K for image protection

PHILADELPHIA: The Delaware Valley Healthcare Council (DVHC) has turned to PR following the declaration of bankruptcy by the Allegheny Health Education and Research Foundation (AHERF), hiring Hill & Knowlton to safeguard the perception of its area hospitals.

PHILADELPHIA: The Delaware Valley Healthcare Council (DVHC) has turned to PR following the declaration of bankruptcy by the Allegheny Health Education and Research Foundation (AHERF), hiring Hill & Knowlton to safeguard the perception of its area hospitals.

PHILADELPHIA: The Delaware Valley Healthcare Council (DVHC) has

turned to PR following the declaration of bankruptcy by the Allegheny

Health Education and Research Foundation (AHERF), hiring Hill & Knowlton

to safeguard the perception of its area hospitals.



The DVHC, a trade association representing 150 hospitals and other

healthcare organizations, has been left reeling by AHERF’s bankruptcy -

’the largest non-profit healthcare system failure in history’ according

to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. A barrage of news reports

detailing the difficulties suffered by patients and employees who were

part of the system immediately followed the bankruptcy announcement,

which, in turn, led to other stories about fraud and abuse in the

healthcare system as a whole.



’In the public’s eye, it was not just Allegheny,’ said H&K VP of public

information and government relations, Len Karp. ’By extension, people

viewed the entire healthcare community as responsible.’ The DVHC’s board

took a proactive approach, immediately turning to PR to regain the

public’s trust.



Karp emphasized that PR alone cannot undo all the damage. ’It’s not

going to make a difference unless there is a total commitment to

lessening the gap between how we perceive ourselves and how the public

perceives us.’



H&K’s goal is to make hospitals more ’user-friendly’ through seemingly

insignificant changes, such as improving the signs in hospitals.

Similarly, a self-assessment tool has been provided to the group’s

member organizations, allowing them to view the shortfalls in their

current service to the public.



Karp also hopes to make the DVHC’s hospitals more aware of the

importance of boosting employee morale. Too many patients feel that they

lack an advocate in hospitals, he noted.



Other possible plans include a DVHC-sponsored health information

database on the Web; holding monthly news conferences; and using

employees as public ’ambassadors’ for their hospital or organization.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.