Friday, August 27, 2010

Good News About a Bad Virus

Everybody loves good news, so it should bring a smile to your face when you find out that the World Health Organization has downgraded the H1N1 virus from a pandemic. The H1N1 virus is a new strain of the seasonal flu that grew into a pandemic last year. People rushed to get vaccinated and fears of vaccinations running out frequently made news headlines, but although it is no longer a pandemic, it is still present.

More good news is that most people are now immune to H1N1 which is the reason for the downgrade from pandemic. This year, the H1N1 virus and flu season are fast approaching again and many lessons have been learned from last year’s H1N1 pandemic. They include: receiving vaccinations, staying home when sick, appropriate washing of hands and covering your cough. With these four simple principles applied, last year’s big news story appears for all intensive purposes to be in control for this flu season.

The media and those associated with the dissemination of information regarding H1N1 should be commended. Because of the attention given to this topic as to its causes, symptoms and treatments, a large portion of the population were able to make the proper adjustments and take the appropriate precautions, which has led to a less anxious-driven flu season for this year. The next phase is keeping the topic in people's minds without using scare tactics because despite its demotion from a pandemic, it has not been banished from existence.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Healthcare Facts vs. Healthcare Opinions: Which is winning?

Knowledge is power, right? How much do you know about the new healthcare law? Have you heard that it will cut Medicare benefits for seniors, decrease payments to doctors and ration healthcare?

You may have, but it’s not true. In a recent poll, high percentages of Americans expressed that they believe the above three actions to be true. Even half of those surveyed believed in the death panel myth, the idea that these panels could make end-of-life decisions.

While some would say that these poll results bring to light the influence some members of the media have in presenting opinions as facts, the larger point is that this current method of information dissemination could lead to people not being able to take full advantage of benefits that exist and could help them.

As marketing communications experts, and in an attempt to aid both the general public and those healthcare organizations that want to provide a true list, we would like to do our part in making clear what new benefits exist. More information on these facts can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
  • Young adults who lack coverage can remain on their parents’ plan until they turn 26.
  • Approximately four million small businesses are eligible for tax credits of up to 35 percent off their health insurance costs.
  • People can get tests such as mammograms or colonoscopies without having to pay a share of the cost.
  • People who have pre-existing conditions or are uninsured for at least six months can get high-risk coverage through a state or federal high-risk pool.
We know that an issue this big will never be apolitical (especially in an election year), nor should it necessarily be in a free society. However, as the September triggers approach, it will be to the benefit of healthcare organizations that have knowledge in this arena to lead (not sway) the public through the complexity of this issue.