Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's a story. It's an ad. It's a story with legs.

A Wall Street Journal story is being brought to local readers by The Roanoke Times -- as a paid advertisement by a group protesting the pricing and regional power of the Carilion Clinic hospital group.

Group reprints story about Carilion -
"A group opposed to Carilion Clinic's transformation into a multispecialty medical practice is reigniting its two-year campaign -- and it is using a story published this week to light the fuse.
"The Coalition for Responsible Healthcare is paying nearly $10,000 for advertisements showcasing its cause today and Sunday in The Roanoke Times, said Dr. Geoff Harter, president of the coalition and a Roanoke ear, nose and throat doctor."
The Times story links to Carilion's response to the Wall Street Journal story and the Coalition for Responsible Healthcare site, which offers a pdf file download of the Journal article/ad.

The original story, Nonprofit hospitals flex pricing power, also hit number five on the Journal's list of "most emailed stories by readers in the past week," which may keep that link available to non-subscribers.

A quick search with turns up follow-up stories on area TV news broadcasts and in publications from Richmond to Australia and the UK. One station's investigative reporter even went to several convenience stores to confirm suspicions that the paper was selling out.

If the original story does disappear behind a subscriber-only firewall, university students should remember their tuition pays for access through their library's Factiva database. Just search for the headline or the name of its author, John Carreyrou. That way they'll also find an earlier article by him on the same theme, headlined "Nonprofit Hospitals, Once For the Poor, Strike It Rich --- With Tax Breaks, They Outperform For-Profit Rivals."

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