NYC hospital group markets health to multilingual patients

Providing medicine to the insured and uninsured alike, the Health and Hospitals Corporation touts preventative care, promotes transparency and collaborates online with community doctors.

“It’s not necessarily marketing for increasing the bottom line,” says Ana Marengo, senior vice president of corporate communications and marketing at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

“It’s driven by our mission to serve all New Yorkers, regardless of their ability to pay. And so we approach the information that we share through our website very much in that way.”

Consider this: HHC, the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, runs 11 acute care hospitals and served 1.3 million patients in 2009, more than a third of whom are uninsured.

5.3 million clinic visits a year

The $6.3 billion system has a staff of 38,000 who handle more than 5.3 million clinic visits and one million ER visits per year. And a lot of those patients don’t speak English—or Spanish, for that matter.

Each of its individual hospitals and care centers has between one and three public affairs specialists, but a marketing team of nine people manage the online presence and handle media relations and communications for the corporation as a whole. Much of their effort is targeted at prevention, wellness and health education.

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