As a UPMC Health Insurance subscriber, I receive an inordinate amount of expensive mail. At great expense, UPMC ships not one but TWO enormous medical plan books to my home every year. They seem to be unaware that my spouse with the same address and last name also lives here. Secondly, we receive a never-ending deluge of letters, post cards, flyers and other printed material that boasts of UPMC’s continuing assurance of their compassionate care, almost always with an extra piece of paper in foreign languages. This morning I received a Christmas present from UPMC containing a rubber ball with the UPMC for Life logo proudly stamped on it. Their advertising headline was, “Is holiday stress getting you down?” I’m glad they asked, for this is the very same day that UPMC Bedford shuttered its maternity unit forever. And UPMC sends me a rubber ball.
Now, I know a thing or two about advertising. In order to create, write, produce, label and ship this enormous quantity of propaganda to my home and thousands of others in Bedford County, UPMC hired an advertising/marketing agency who in turn retained a mail order house and charged the hospital company hundreds of thousands of dollars for retainers, creative fees, print production, account services, full color printing, media placement and a dozen other services to deliver all of this to me in Bedford.
This does not include the ads in the Bedford Gazette and the radio commercials that are currently running on the Bedford & Everett radio stations. For what they’ve spent on these mailings and media placement in the past year, UPMC Bedford could have retained and improved the maternity services at Bedford Memorial Hospital for another five years! Instead, they’ve abandoned the mothers and the unborn children of Bedford County so I can have a rubber ball. A friend of mine suggested that UPMC Bedford is practicing a form of discrimination against women. That’s an interesting observation. What if any other business around here which provides a service as critical as baby delivery told the women of Bedford County, “Sorry lady, too bad. Instead of using our service locally, we demand you make a 70 mile round trip to our other place on the opposite side of the mountain, no matter the weather or road conditions. This whole local service thing cuts into our profits. Here’s a rubber ball to relieve your stress!”
Lloyd Bankson Roach