Health care organizations produce so many stories of patients progressing through hospitals, networks or systems to identify and treat their conditions that they all start to sound alike. When one grabs you and keeps you reading through to the end, you want to figure out what made it stand out. That’s what won the Health Care Service Corporation first place in the “Article” category of Ragan’s 2018 Health Care PR and Marketing Awards.
“The Cost of Care: One Woman’s Journey,” is the story of Jenetha Piecz, a Crohn’s disease patient. It never seeks to play on emotions. Instead, writer Alan Van Zelfden lets the story speak for itself.
Van Zelfden interviewed Piecz and her doctor several times in order to find the narrative thread. He writes in the third person but clearly from the patient’s perspective, helping the reader feel her frustration, not just with the disease but also with its costs.
“Her return to health comes at a price—each infusion costs thousands of dollars,” Van Zelfden writes. “In 2016, for example, Jenetha’s doctor visits and Remicade infusions accounted for about $21,000 in billings in a single year.”
Although Piecz’s health has improved dramatically, there is not a happy ending in terms of costs; the article—written for the insurer’s magazine—bares the brutal truth of the balance between health and cost, an impressive feat of transparency. The article struck a note with the public, too, earning social media shares and 3,500 views.
Congratulations to Health Care Service Corporation communicators Alan Van Zelfden, Laura Squires and Gregg Blesch.