Two marketing societies of the American Hospital Association merged last week, creating the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development.
The merger was approved by 94% of members of the American Society of Health Care Marketing and Public Relations and the Society for Healthcare Planning and Marketing, the AHA said.
Lauren Barnett, executive director of the marketing and public relations society since 1980, leads the new 5,500-member group.
The executive director of the Society for Healthcare Planning and Marketing, Marcia MacInnis, will become director of marketing and business planning at St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Ill. MacInnis started at the AHA in October 1994.
"Certainly, I was supportive of the merger process and intend to stay actively involved in the new society," MacInnis said.
In anticipation of the merger, the societies reduced staff to seven from 14, Barnett said.
Annual dues are now $185, compared with $130 previously to belong to one group or $234 for joint membership. Special $50 section memberships in managed care, physician integration and sales, which were offered by the planning and marketing society, have been eliminated.
Barnett said the society intends to create cutting-edge services for members.
Most members are from hospitals, but the societies have attracted more marketers for managed-care organizations, physician groups, subacute and home-care groups in recent years.
"People are being asked to assume more broad-based responsibilities. They need to be cross-functional," Barnett said.
The society's first conference will be Sept. 27-30 in Atlanta.