Children’s Health’s Football Stadium Sponsorship Under Fire

The ribbon-cutting of Children’s Health Stadium at Prosper ISD on August 17 was supposed to be a celebrated affair that further established the pediatric provider into a new community where they will soon have another hospital. But The Dallas Morning News‘ business columnist Mitchell Schnurman took Children’s Health to task for both where and how they spent their money.

The column said Children Health’s credibility will take a hit for paying $2.5 million to sponsor the $53 million, 12,000-seat stadium. The health system is expanding into Prosper, a wealthy and highly insured community north of Frisco, in the coming years, so it makes business sense to advertise there, Schnurman writes. But a children’s hospital tying its name to high school football is not a good look, with evidence of the damage concussions do mounting. He writes:

By putting its stellar brand on Children’s Health Stadium at Prosper, it’s formally endorsing a sport whose long-term dangers are becoming increasingly evident. Children’s seal of approval may signal that it’s safe for kids to play tackle football. Experts say it’s not.

His second qualm is about how Children’s Health is spending its money. The nonprofit provider is throwing around millions while Texas has the worst uninsured rate in the nation and many can’t afford care. Texas consistently ranks in the bottom when it comes to the health of its state’s children as well. A stadium sponsorship may help Children’s Health do more business that could fund its charitable care, but it is hard to measure the impact.

The columnist didn’t get many answers from Children’s Health, but did talk to Arthur Caplan, a bioethics expert at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City. Schnurman writes about his exchange with Caplan:

It’s “sad” that a kids nonprofit hospital jumped into sports naming rights, he added: “But the move to replace medical ethics with business ethics is past shock in American health care.”

Read the entire column here.

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