To the Editor:
I'm glad that somebody has finally questioned The Memorial Hospital's (TMH) advertising and marketing expenditures. I've been wondering about the full page and half page color ads for some time now. Based on the figures published in the Daily Press for last year's TMH advertising expenditures through November, I would estimate that the annual advertising budget is in the neighborhood of $161,000 per year.
A good question is why. Why should a nonprofit government entity market itself and pay for advertising? To keep from losing patients and to educate the citizens of Moffat county on health issues?
What if the school district started diverting $161,000 per year away from classroom instruction? What if they spent that amount on advertising instead; using the reasoning that the district was educating parents regarding education matters and to keep more parents from choosing home schooling? I just don't see the public buying that logic.
Should the library start to market itself with paid advertising in order to attract more patrons? I just don't think that it's a proper function of any government entity to promote itself with paid advertising.
I can understand the loss of patients and the reduction in childbirths at TMH. All three of our children were born at TMH, so we have had some experience. Each time we were discharged from the hospital, we were told to go by the business office in order to take care of the bill. Each time, I left TMH with the thought that I had just been forced to pay for my child before we could leave. Talk about a downer! For more than 20 years, I have felt like the hospital treated us each time like deadbeats at the time of discharge. And we didn't know any better; until we went through experiences at Children's Hospital in Denver and St. Mary's in Grand Junction.
When we went through the discharge process at those two hospitals, we would ask (based on our TMH visits) if we needed to swing by the business office on the way out. Invariably the nurses would just get quizzical expressions on their faces and ask, "Why? Why would you need to do that? Just go home and get better. The hospital will bill you." Wow, what a difference in how we were treated. Treated with respect.
Even during the admission process, several times over the years, I have felt that I was treated like an untrustworthy person at our local hospital. Paying "up front" or at the time of service can be a real issue here. It was never an issue at Children's Hospital or St. Mary's. Why?
You can connect the dots for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Here's what I think that I see. Run patients off with your business practices and then buy advertising to try and build goodwill and get them back. Hmmmm.