Stroger Hospital launches ad campaign

August 11, 2011 2:45:10 PM PDT
Stroger Hospital is doing something it has never done before. The county-run hospital has launched an advertising campaign to try to lure patients away from other health care facilities.

Little Jaylin is just 1-day-old. His mom, Sierra Grier, had a choice of hospitals, and she chose Stroger Hospital, reluctantly at first.

"Visiting every two weeks as it got closer, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. They took really good care of me," said Grier.

Obstetrics and pediatrics are two areas where Stroger Hospital is making a push for more patients. In 2004, doctors at Stroger Hospital delivered nearly 6,000 babies. The next year, former Governor Rod Blagojevich launched the state's All Kids insurance program, which guarantees coverage for expectant moms and their children. It had the effect of giving poor patients choice.

These days, the number of babies born at Stroger is down to 900 a year. Since the hospital is guaranteed to get reimbursed for delivering babies and treating kids, that's money lost.

"Just like any other hospital or health facility, if there's no margin, there's no mission, and those services where we have the opportunity to contribute to the good of the whole cause of the system, we need to highlight," said Carol Schneider, Cook County Health and Hospitals COO.

To turn the tide, a new ad campaign intends to change people's perception.

"People thought we were still at the old building. People thought we were dirty. People thought our doctors were inadequate. People thought we were still run by politicians," said Lucio Guerrero. "We're trying to show people we have one of the newest facilities in the Illinois Medical District and, chances are, your doctor trained at our hospital."

It's true, several hour waits in the ER and elsewhere remain common, but upstairs, babies have been identified as profit centers.

And moms like Sierra Grier say Stroger is on par with many private hospitals.

"It's just a wonderful hospital," said Grier. "I had a great experience at Stroger."

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