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King v. Burwell: Your 5 minute study guide

death spiral

UPDATE: The Supreme Court has upheld ACA subsidies

With just three decision days left in this Supreme Court Term (today, Friday, and Monday), we’ll soon know the outcome of King v. Burwell.  If you’re like 70% of Americans you may have never even heard of this case, but it has major implications for health care in America.  Now is your time to study up – and if you are in the business of health care, it’s time to plan for the implications if the Court rules in favor of the plaintiff.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Subsidies to purchase health insurance on the federal exchange are at risk – with an impact to millions of Americans who may once again join the uninsured.

In a phenomenon referred to as the “death spiral” (which sounds like it is straight out of Star Wars), premiums may rise to an unaffordable level, causing the healthiest consumers (who balance out the risk of the sickest) to leave the marketplace, and ultimately resulting in even higher prices and less choice as insurers cease participation in the federal exchange.

Wait – Death Spiral?!? WHAT?

One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare” and…


Health News Roundup

Health is a topic that pervades our news stories and our lives on a daily basis. Whether watching the TODAY Show during your morning routine, flipping through HealthDay while at work or chatting with your friends about ways to get your body ready for summer, health and wellness is constantly on our minds – especially if you are in healthcare PR. Here’s a roundup of the top 5 health conversation from this week:

  • The Quintuplets are Headed Home: The first two of the Budby family’s all-girl quintuplets, the first ever born in the U.S., have been released from Texas Children’s Hospital and the remaining three are expected to be home by the end of next week. I’d say that household is about to get much busier! Quintuplets
  • Popular Heartburn Meds Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Attack: Using a non-traditional research method that analyzed medical records of 300,000 U.S. adults, the study found an association between risk of heart disease and use of proton pump inhibitors, a group of acid-suppressing drugs often used to treat heartburn. It’s important to note that the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, does not prove a…
  • Healthcare

    #SummerTime #HealthyLiving

    Summer is finally here! We can all take a deep breath, venture outside and enjoy the sun. It’s the start of vacations, cookouts, festivals, beaches and so many more outdoor activities. And, as we all know, with so many opportunities to get outdoors it’s the perfect time to focus on our health. Below are a few tips to get your summer started right!

    Wear sunscreen

    The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter and the UV rays are getting harsher. According to the American Melanoma Foundation dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater. If you are fair-skinned and sunburn easily, you may want to consider a sunscreen with a higher SPF.  sunscreen_bottles

    Get out!

    In other words… GET OUTSIDE and smell that fresh cut grass. Getting outside has many benefits including reducing your level of stress, increasing your fitness levels, improving your outlook and helping you focus. Take a nice walk around the block or invite some friends over for a BBQ in the backyard. You’ll feel better, it’s science!

    Bring the outdoors, indoors

    We all love summer for the fresh fruits, veggies and…


    A Checkup for Health Communicators

    15-PCRT-Health-Academy-Infographic-ruleThis week, a number of our health practice team members are attending the PRSA Health Academy Conference in Cleveland, OH. As the presenting sponsor, in advance of the event, we surveyed the health care communications experts attending to get a deeper understanding of the topics that are most relevant to this year’s conference participants. We found our strategies are healthy overall, but some pain points could use further evaluation. Here are some of the most surprising findings:

    • The top health care concern is communicating value to key stakeholders.
    • The top communications concern is social media strategy.
    • Twitter is the most popular social media platform, but respondents reported that Facebook is the most effective.
    • Instagram is clearly growing in popularity, with 36% of respondents reporting that their organizations use the platform.
    • Nearly half of respondents are not using social media advertising though Facebook organic reach has dropped from 16% to less than 2% in the past two years, according to the International Business Times, and the platform is now heavily pay-for-play.
    • 1 in 4 respondents do not have a crisis plan.

    To see all the survey results, check out the…


    #PRSAHealth Preview

    HCAHPSNext week I have the honor of speaking at the PRSA Health Academy Conference with one of our clients, Cynthia Schmidt, the chief of marketing at VCU Health System. I’ve never spoken at a conference, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m a tad terrified. But, the good news is this topic is something I’m SO passionate about – the patient experience. In one of my recent posts, you learned about my own patient experience navigating the health care system. In this presentation, Cynthia and I will examine this topic from the role of a health care communicator. How can we help our institutions improve the experience for their patients and ultimately improve their HCAHPS scores? If you are attending PRSA Health Academy, I hope you’ll stop by our breakout session, “More Than a Score: How Employee Engagement Makes HCAHPS Matter.” If you aren’t, here are some of the high level thoughts:

    • To truly engage your staff in service improvements and drive action, they have to see HCAHPS as more than a score that simply affects reimbursement. For some, that may be enough of a reason…
    Digital Marketing

    Coming up at #PRSAHealth

    During the second week of May, health care communicators from across the country will gather in Cleveland at the 2015 PRSA Health Academy Conference. Experts from national health systems, associations and agencies will discuss some of the biggest trends and challenges facing the industry.

    PadillaCRT is the presenting sponsor of the event, and as a member of the health team, I’m looking forward to joining the conversation. Two of the programs, especially, have caught my eye.


    1. Think Like a Scientist, Communicate Like a Storyteller, presented by Spectrum.  As a media relations specialist, this is a big one for me. Yes, we know that human interest stories are often the quickest way to capture someone’s attention, but what lies beneath the emotion? Data. Without research and insights, you’re only telling half the story. A solid foundation based in data is critical for a good healthcare story, and I’m looking forward to hearing what the Spectrum team has to share.

    2. Making Cause-Related Marketing Social, presented by New York–Presbyterian. Everyone knows that NYP does social well – they engage with influencers every day. Just recently, they dedicated…


    Being the CEO of Your Life

    The TrustThis week, I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST 2015 Forum in Minneapolis. Save for the snow in April, it was a fabulous event designed to celebrate female leaders in health care. The room was full of outstanding and accomplished women who have made a significant difference through their work in the industry. They were inspiring and fabulous all at the same time and I was in awe.

    Aside from seeing PadillaCRT’s own Janet Stacey onstage presenting as the current president of the TRUST, the highlight of the evening was a keynote address from Cynthia Lesher. Though she is the former president and CEO of Northern States Power Company, she must have been a standup comedian in another life. The 900+ women in the room collectively went to snap a photo with their phones when the slide with Cynthia’s 9 facts of life appeared. These were my favorites:

    1. LET GO of guilt

    If only it were that easy right? While debriefing with my colleagues, this was the take away that resonated with the majority of us. In a client service industry, we expect excellence and often…


    Keepin’ it mobile: Health and fitness apps take over

    iphone large

    Health care mobile applications are emerging everywhere. We can’t get away from them. Run if you can, but the Nike+ Running app will be tracking how fast and where you go.

    Jokes aside, the health mobile app space is becoming more and more crowded. Just this week, more than 13 new health care apps were introduced to sync with the new Apple Watch. Others are introducing new capabilities to sync with Apple’s HealthKit. And more are sure to follow.

    So, with the continuous influx of health apps, how are marketers making sure their apps are seen and downloaded? Here are a few quick examples:


    Ancient Diseases – The Answer to Today’s Healthcare Challenges?


    It’s been said that you should look to the future, with an eye on the past. In healthcare, especially in the past week, it seems that people have taken this advice to heart.

    We look to researchers to innovate to develop more effective treatments for the greatest healthcare concerns like cancer, but it turns out that innovation often starts with a look back.  Way back.  Here’s a glimpse at some of the most recent studies that are leveraging ancient diseases and treatments:

    2,000+ years old:

    An Egyptian stele dated as old as 1580 B.C. depicts a man with polio, indicating that the virus has existed for thousands of years.  Today, researchers at Duke University are using the virus to help treat glioblastoma brain tumors, which have had a low five-year survival rate of less than 5 percent.  The re-engineered virus kills glioblastoma cells while sparing healthy tissue, and prompts the immune system to continue to attack the cancer cells after the virus clears the body.

    In an interview with 60 Minutes, Duke molecular biologist Matthias Gromeier explained, “All human cancers, they develop…protective measures that make them invisible to the immune system and this is precisely what we try to…