Six Los Angeles County Health Systems Team Up to Tackle the Silent Epidemic (Hint: It’s Not COVID-19)

August 17, 2020

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //

jane weber brubakerLos Angeles is home to many world-class health care organizations, and they compete vigorously for the same patients. But even in a competitive market, joining together for the greater good may be the best way to get an important message across to the community.

“It became apparent early on that people were not accessing health care when needed,” says Rhoda Weiss, PhD, president and founder of Rhoda Weiss Consulting Group, Inc. “Everyone was talking about safety, and I thought, God, we have this silent epidemic. Too many kids aren’t getting immunized; too many people aren’t going to the ER for heart attacks or strokes or infected gallbladders or conditions demanding immediate treatment and timely life-saving screenings. And I thought, we have to do something.”

Rhoda Weiss, PhD, president and founder, Rhoda Weiss Consulting Group, Inc.

Rhoda Weiss, PhD, president and founder, Rhoda Weiss Consulting Group, Inc.

Weiss convenes the AMA Executive Leadership Summit, a group of more than 75 health care strategy, marketing, and communications executives from the nation’s largest health systems that meets twice a year in person — under normal circumstances. Once the coronavirus started spreading, Weiss put in-person meetings on hold and the group shifted to meeting via conference call twice a week to compare notes and share best practices.

To begin to address this silent epidemic of patients avoiding needed care, Weiss reached out to members of the group from within her own community, CMOs, CCOs, presidents, and CEOs from six major health systems in Los Angeles — Cedars-Sinai, Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Keck Medicine of USC, Providence, and UCLA Health — and convinced them to pool their marketing resources together for a community-wide campaign. “We realized if we were going to do it quickly, we needed to do it among systems that knew each other well,” she says. “In almost all cases, within 24 hours or less, everyone said ‘I’m in.’”

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