Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which has blitzed the hospital industry this year with a rush of mergers and acquisitions, won the bid to be the official healthcare provider for the 29th annual Super Bowl in January.
As more than 100,000 visitors and 2,500 news reporters flock to Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami for the Jan. 29 game, Columbia/HCA will be able to show off its brand of healthcare and heighten its name recognition among consumers.
The Louisville, Ky.-based hospital chain has a strong hospital network in south Florida. "We're used to working as an integrated network. This is old hat to us," said Tonua Fedusenko, spokeswoman for the south Florida division of Columbia/HCA. If its merger with Healthtrust goes through, Columbia/HCA will own one-fourth of the hospitals in Florida. It operates 12 hospitals in the three-county Miami area.
Columbia/HCA executives also hope the distinction of being the "healthcare provider of record" for the Super Bowl won't be a one-time shot. Ms. Fedusenko said the company plans to vie for the title at future Super Bowls.
Columbia/HCA executives plan to tell Super Bowl officials, "The next market you go into may have a Columbia presence as well," she said.
Columbia/HCA beat out at least two other healthcare systems to win the business, Ms. Fedusenko said. She declined to say how much Columbia/HCA will pay for the distinction.
In exchange, Columbia/HCA will be the exclusive provider of healthcare services at a string of Super Bowl-sanctioned events and will staff a toll-free hotline offered to the estimated 100,000 visitors, 2,500 news reporters, NFL teams, personnel and families expected to attend the event. Through the hotline, visitors can receive information about Columbia/HCA hospitals, physicians and other medical services.
The hotline number will be the same one Columbia/HCA uses for its new Holiday Gift Certificate program in south Florida. The program is marketing healthcare certificates to consumers, such as a mammogram for $50, a day of care for a sick child for $25, or two cholesterol tests for $15.