Hospitals Competing for Patients
Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., started issuing free “Very Important Patient” cards in 2010. The program got its start as a referral service to link potential patients with Botsford doctors. The cards entitle VIP members to free parking and a 10 percent discount on nonprescription drugs at the outpatient pharmacy and the gift shop, says Lynn Anderson, marketing and public relations manager at the 330-bed hospital in the Detroit suburb. VIP members can also get discounts at restaurants and service establishments such as an oil-change garage.
The program, which has more than 900 members, is open to anyone in the community. In addition to financial perks, it offers regular health education seminars on such topics as hip replacements, back problems and acid-reflux disease, says Anderson.