Speechless in Toledo: A Group Medical Practice Ad Compared Its Prices to Those of Local Hospitals. But Suddenly, Nobody Seems Willing to Talk About It.

September 28, 2015

Notable Health Care Advertising

// By Peter Hochstein //

Peter HochsteinEarly this year, a group medical practice called the Toledo Clinic in Toledo, Ohio, got what must have seemed like a bright marketing idea.

With the help of a mom-and-pop advertising agency called Modern TECHnique in Avon, Ohio, the clinic ran a full-page ad in the daily Toledo Blade. The ads compared the rates that The Toledo Clinic charges for radiology and laboratory procedures with those of two local hospital systems, ProMedica and Mercy Health Partners.

Or so I have to believe, after reading two news stories that ran in the Blade in April, and an opinion piece in the same newspaper by a local retired surgeon who now works as a Blade columnist.

Small problem. Suddenly, nobody who is connected to the ad or who is one of its fans appears willing to discuss it. Or to show me the ad.

But let me back up a bit. I stumbled across this state of affairs in early July, while searching for stories about strong institutional health care advertising that seems to be working. It was hard to overlook this headline from the April 5, 2015 Blade:

“Medical fees shrouded in mystery. Toledo-area hospitals object to talk of price comparisons.”

The story reported that the Toledo Clinic “has angered many local health providers by advertising a comparison for a selected group of medical procedures to the list price of those same services at local hospitals.”

The story next reported that “the seemingly common practice of advertising competitors’ prices has broken a long held tradition in health care in the Toledo area.”


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