First published in the Oct. 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Five of Los Angeles County’s largest nonprofit health systems with hospitals, clinics and facilities region wide recently announced the newest campaign for their “BetterTogether” coalition.
The mission is to convince Angelenos to put health first and access care when needed. The new public service educational campaign features everyday “patient heroes” with the theme: “Get back to your doctor. Your health. Your joy. Because we love a healthy L.A.”
UCLA Health, Providence, Keck Medicine of USC, Dignity Health and Cedars-Sinai pivoted from last year’s campaign of pandemic-induced empty beaches, freeways and landmarks to painting an authentic, intimate mosaic of 11 Angelenos who overcame health challenges as a result of timely access to preventive care.
“From athletes, entertainers and entrepreneurs to a mom of newborn triplets, an artist and a priest, their moving stories are everyday symbols of strength, inspiration and hope,” the campaign professes, highlighting the lives of these “courageous heroes” who overcame challenges of serious disease.
Among issues driving the new campaign are ongoing concerns among healthcare professionals who see people not seeking timely, preventive and life-saving services, health screenings and medical assistance when critical to do so. “Unfortunately, too often the results are late-stage cancers, advanced heart disease, debilitating strokes and other serious medical conditions,” the coalition said.
The five health systems — with hundreds of health care locations throughout Los Angeles County — remain committed and available to serving the community’s healthcare needs, including emergency, primary, specialty and urgent care.
Rather than each health system individually addressing what medical professionals call a “silent sub-pandemic” of those requiring but avoiding timely medical services, they remain committed to tackle head-on what has increasingly become a new public health crisis.
These leading health systems united for this purpose since March 2020.
“We are confident these efforts make a positive difference in community health. This collaboration of health systems is not only extraordinary, it provides critical information in meeting a challenge beyond anything any of us ever experienced,” said Kevin Manemann, CEO of Providence Southern California.
The “BetterTogether” public service effort includes messages on multi-language TV and radio, billboards, buses, malls, newspapers, magazines, digital, social media and more.
“The health of our Los Angeles community is our top priority. We are here to ensure everyone has access to the preventive healthcare and medical treatment they need to live to their full potential,” said Johnese Spisso, UCLA Health president and UCLA Health System CEO.
Patient health and safety are top priorities for every health care provider.
“As people return to work, school and family gatherings we are still concerned that they have not returned to their annual screenings or health interventions. We must continue to engage our communities to put their health and well-being first,” says Julie Sprengel, President, Southern California Division, Dignity Health Hospitals.
Emergencies don’t stop and neither do hospitals providing emergency care 24/7. Getting to a hospital quickly for heart attacks and strokes is critical and saves lives. Those exhibiting serious symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness in one side of the body or severe headache should seek medical care immediately.
“There’s concern that patients with serious conditions are putting off critical treatment. We know that seeking immediate care for heart attacks and strokes can be life-saving and may minimize long-term effects. Our hospitals and health providers are ready and open to serve your needs,” said Rodney Hanners, CEO, Keck Medicine of USC.
It is also critically important for children to stay on schedule for vaccinations for protection of their health and others as well, including measles and whooping cough vaccines. These highly contagious diseases could become a public health issue if not addressed. Immunizations protect children and those around them from diseases caused by bacteria or viruses.
“Receiving timely treatment by skilled medical professionals is essential to helping achieve for our patients and communities the best possible outcomes. Please do not delay getting your healthcare. We encourage you to call a trusted healthcare provider, your doctor’s office, hospital or urgent care center,” said Tom Priselac, president/CEO, Cedars-Sinai.
To learn more and see the stories of 11 “healthcare heroes,” visit the website bettertogether.health.