How Providence Los Angeles Physician Groups Grow Patient Volume by Combining Brand and Retail Strategies to Market Medicare Advantage

April 11, 2024

Providence’s marketing model uses a combination of digital technology and direct mail to boost enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans, build patient volume, and increase customer loyalty.

// By Susan Dubuque //

Susan Dubuque, a strategist and writer specializing in health care and behavior change, was a cofounder and principal of Two Tango (formerly NDP Agency).On June 7, 1858, the sisters of Providence opened St. Joseph Hospital, the first permanent hospital in the Northwest. Today, Providence has grown to become the third-largest nonprofit health system in the country — with 51 hospitals; 117,000 team members; and 1,000 clinics across seven states. Grounded in the healing ministry of Jesus, Providence is widely recognized for innovative, advanced medical care and world-renowned physicians.

Robert Lehner, director of marketing, LA Medical Foundations, Providence

Robert Lehner, director of marketing, LA Medical Foundations, Providence

Like most health systems across the country, Providence faces considerable pressure. Bob Lehner, director of marketing, was charged with growing his organization’s patient base in the hotly competitive Los Angeles market. “For years, we relied on traditional marketing tactics to attract patients to the health system and grassroots efforts to promote enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans, and the results were less than stellar,” explains Lehner. “But we changed our approach five years ago based on new research findings.”

Fortified by a newly forged alliance with online insurance marketplace eHealth, and with guidance and support from trusted agency partner J-U Carter, Lehner formulated a new marketing direction — a dual strategy that combines building the brand with retail marketing of Medicare Advantage plans.

Donna Carter, President, J-U Carter, Inc.

Donna Carter, President, J-U Carter, Inc.

“Consumers select health care providers based on confidence in the hospital and the physicians,” notes Donna Carter, president of J-U Carter. “However, the selection of a Medicare Advantage plan is determined by other factors — primarily price.”

By responding to both motivations, Lehner and his team have crafted a robust marketing process that has produced measurable results.

Continue reading to learn more about this dual approach to new-patient acquisition.

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