SH&S Reviving Hospital’s Image

Wesley Medical Center Distances Itself From Parent Columbia/HCA
CHICAGO-Sullivan Higdon & Sink attempts to resurrect the image of a medical center owned by scandal-plagued Columbia/HCA Health Care Corp. with a multimedia campaign breaking this week.
The Wichita, Kan., agency’s new tagline for the Wesley Medical Center is, “In the hands of people who care.”
In addition to focusing on employees of the system, the advertising attempts to distance Wesley from Nashville, Tenn.-based Columbia/HCA.
Three TV spots set voiceovers from some of the medical center’s employees against scenes of hospital action. “This hospital isn’t about who owns it, or its corporate policy,” a nurse says in one spot.
Wesley, a Wichita institution previously owned by the Methodist church, was purchased by HCA in 1985. That led to a negative backlash in the community that SH&S attempted to counter in a 1987 campaign, said Tammy Allen, an account supervisor at the agency.
HCA subsequently merged with Columbia, which is now the subject of a federal investigation concerning its patient referral services practices.
“In a sense, we’re in the same situation now,” Allen said.
While aimed primarily at healthcare consumers in the Wichita area, the campaign also attempts to boost employee morale, which has been flagging due to news stories claiming the care at Wesley has slipped under Columbia/HCA ownership, Allen said.
“It’s a way for employees to speak back,” Allen said. “They said, “We’re the same people we’ve always been. We still have the same pride in our work.'”
While the one TV spot addresses the ownership question, two other spots focus on the services offered at Wesley. One centers on children, and again uses voiceovers from Wesley employees.
“We’re not about calm. We’re about quiet,” a nurse says. “We’re about kids.”
The third spot touts Wesley’s trauma center capabilities. Companion print work carries the headline, “At least once in your life, you’re gonna have that call in the middle of the night.” Copy reads, “At the worst moment in your life, we’re the best place to be.”
SH&S’ previous tagline for Wesley was, “The science of medicine. The art of care.” ƒ