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New York Presbyterian Hospital

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John Stossel denounces famed hospital’s ‘customer service’


New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Columbia University complex.

Fox News correspondent John Stossels lays into what he says is terrible customer service, if good medical treatment, at prestigious New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he is being treated for lung cancer.

“{A}s a consumer reporter, I have to say, the hospital’s customer service stinks. Doctors keep me waiting for hours, and no one bothers to call or e-mail to say, ‘I’m running late.’ Few doctors give out their e-mail address. Patients can’t communicate using modern technology.

“I get X-rays, EKG tests, echocardiograms, blood tests. Are all needed? I doubt it. But no one discusses that with me or mentions the cost. Why would they? The patient rarely pays directly. Government or insurance companies pay.

“I fill out long medical history forms by hand and, in the next office, do it again. Same wording: name, address, insurance, etc.”

“Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialist bureaucracies. Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies.

“Whenever there’s a mistake, politicians impose new rules: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act paperwork, patient rights regulations, new layers of bureaucracy…

“Nurses must follow state regulations that stipulate things like, ‘Notwithstanding subparagraph (i) of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, a nurse practitioner, certified under section sixty-nine hundred ten of this article and practicing for more than three thousand six hundred hours may comply with this paragraph in lieu of complying with the requirements of paragraph (a)…’

“Try running a business with rules like that.”

N.Y.-Presbyterian makes patients stars of ad campaign



New York-Presbyterian’s Upper Manhattan West Side campus.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the nation’s largest system, is making its patients, not its physicians, the stars of a major ad campaign as the hospital seeks to connect more with consumers,  many of whom are feeling more  informed these days in  choosing among providers.

David Feinberg,  who runs  marketing for hospital system,  said in an interview with Mashable of the ad campaign:

“All of the words come directly from the patient and really showcase what is meaningful to them. We hope they create a positive impression; we know they are inspiring and helpful to those who see them. People have connected with the ads, often giving themselves the courage to get the medical care they need.”

Mr. Feinberg’s department is measuring  the campaign’s impact by analyzing “types of reputation” across the  system and trying to link marketing  with patient volume and revenue.

Observers have increasingly argued that  patients are more likely to be inspired by marketing emphasizing the human touch of clinicians than by, for example, references to a hospital’s advanced technology or world-renown specialists.


Trying to address overcrowding at a big E.D.


In what might or might not be some useful ideas for other big urban hospitals, two New York officials have released a report on overcrowding in the emergency department of huge and prestigious New York Presbyterian Hospital, in  northern Manhattan.

Federal healthcare regulators said 5 percent of the hospital’s E.D. patients leave before  medical professionals see them — compared with the national average of 2 percent. That might not seem like  much of a difference, but given  the huge population that runs through Presbyterian, it means a lot of untreated and/or irritated customers. Of course, given the location, a lot of these patients have no insurance and chronic illness. They’re heavy duty.

Among the suggested improvements: increased staffing, improved patient privacy, ”better access to urgent-care centers, and inclusive partnerships with community health providers and professionals,” reports WCBS. It should be noted that some politicians pushing these reforms see Presbyterian as an opportunity to create more local jobs, for which the politicians would take credit.

We at CMG have been in that E.D. (or E.R. as we instinctively first call it as pushback to certain commercials on TV)  and so suspect that many, perhaps a majority, of patients there would do better going to urgent-care facilities, including  Federally Qualified Health Centers, if there were enough of them. And most need patient-centered medical homes.




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