Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. blitzed local and national media the past two weeks, trumpeting what will be an annual day dedicated to the Nashville, Tenn.-based company's community-benefit activities.
Called "Columbia Community Day," Columbia employees, hospitals and healthcare properties across the country were volunteering time on Sept. 28 to local organizations in their markets. Columbia said the endeavor also is designed to create relationships with local leaders and organizations.
The project comes as the company is conducting a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to create a national brand name.
Executives said they didn't know how much money their efforts would be worth or whether they would be able to track the day's community-benefit activity.
"We will probably track what we can to benchmark for the following year, but it's not about tracking money," Columbia spokesman Jeff Prescott said. "You can't really track things like people donating to food banks."
Columbia hospitals and health systems last week sent a blizzard of faxes regarding "Community Day" to MODERN HEALTHCARE. Executives said the endeavor was highly publicized at least a week earlier in Columbia's regions across the country.
Executives said every hospital has a plan for "community day" that had been in the works for the past two to three months.
"It's an opportunity for our 285,000 employees to positively affect people in their daily lives," said Richard Scott, Columbia's top executive, in a statement. "The Columbia Community Day is our way of showing that we care about people in their daily lives as well as when they are in need of healthcare."
In Dade County, Fla., six Columbia hospitals held a "family-oriented event" at a local park for abused and underprivileged children.
"The general public hasn't known much about this until recently because it's only Columbia employees and physicians who are volunteering time to participate," said Roxana Fernandez of the Imagen Creative Group, a Miami public relations agency hired to work with Columbia's Dade County division to publicize the inaugural endeavor.