Regarding the recent article on a name change involving two hospital members of the Northwestern Healthcare Network of Chicago ("2 Ill. hospitals start a marketing blitz," Oct. 6, p. 44), I feel great liberty was taken with my comments. While my quoted statements are accurate, I believe the editorializing that surrounds those quotes is misleading.
It's a fact that the Chicago market has not moved in the direction that we anticipated when the Northwestern Healthcare Network was founded five years ago. Managed-care organizations have chosen to contract with local hospital and physician organizations, not networks. Our member hospitals have responded to the market with a variety of initiatives, some of which were done collaboratively and some of which were done unilaterally.
In the case of our new identity, we chose to integrate the Northwestern Healthcare name into the Evanston name in order to better position our hospitals and doctors in the marketplace. This was done in consultation with the management of Northwestern Healthcare and with approval of its board. While other member hospitals have not taken this step, our marketing initiative was done consistent with our relationship with Northwestern Healthcare, not to spite it, as the article implies.
In Chicago, the "customer" simply isn't buying large regional networks yet. As a consequence, health systems are finding it essential to market their hospitals and physician groups locally. This is as true for other networks and the Catholic hospitals as it is for Northwestern Healthcare hospitals. Your readers shouldn't read more into it than that.
David C. Loveland
Senior vice president, corporate relations
Evanston Northwestern Healthcare