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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - May 7, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 19 (download PDF version)

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is planning a closed RFP among its pre-selected group of PR firms to create a campaign touting electronic health records and other forms of health information technology, as well as incentives for healthcare providers.

EHR Incentive Program

The PR effort is called for under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, part of the 2009 stimulus.

Five agencies are pre-qualified to pitch the fed entity’s assignments – Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Ogilvy PR, Porter Novelli and Weber Shandwick – following a review last year.

Ketchum has handled multimillion-dollar PR efforts for the federal entity covering electronic health records. It currently has a pact running through August.

The campaign expected to be out for bids will be primarily aimed to educate healthcare providers eligible for incentives, with a secondary component targeting Medicare and Medicaid consumers about digital health records and how they lower costs and increase quality of care.

The federal agency, known as CMS, runs programs affecting 102M Americans and is being expanded and revamped under the Obama administration’s healthcare overhaul.


Robert Dowling, president of Weber Shandwick's New York operation, has shifted to Fleishman-Hillard to lead the eastern region – New York and Boston – as GM and senior partner in the Big Apple.


F-H/America’s president Jack Modzelewski said the east is having an “outstanding year” so far.

He wants Dowling “to take us to the next level of reputation and successful performance.”

The firm has also promoted senior VP and senior partner Ron Guirguis as deputy GM for New York, where he leads the corporate and public affairs group.

Dowling exits Weber Shandwick after seven years, during which he led its Silicon Valley operation and North American tech practice, as well as New York.

He was previously an executive VP for Ruder Finn and VP for Peppercom and Progressive Strategies.


MDC Partners reported a $24.9M first-quarter loss, up from $7.1M last year, as revenues jumped 9.7 percent to $236M.


CEO Miles Nadal called the performance “solid” and believes the parent of Allison+Partners, Kwittken + Co. and Sloane & Co. is “positioned nicely” to deliver its annual financial projections.

The company collected $50M in new business wins, which is a gain from the $8.2M picked up a year ago. Organic growth rose 5.4 percent.

Nadal said MDC is focused on profitable organic growth, improving margins/cash flows and de-leveraging its balance sheet. The company had $370M in long-term debt vs. $36M in cash on March 31 It faces a “substantial amount of acquisition consideration due coming this year and next,” according to CFO David Doft.

MDC stock trades at $9.79. The 52-week range is $9.40 and $20.99.


Bermuda is reviewing its North American PR account with an open RFP process through May.

Lou Hammond & Associates is the incumbent. The firm won the last review in 2010, regaining the account it handled from 1999-2007 after Corbin & Associates won the business.

Publicasity, London, handles U.K. and Ireland PR for the British colony.

The RFP covers tourism PR for the U.S. and Canada, including business, travel trade and leisure travel. Eighty percent of its travelers come from the U.S.

View the RFP notice:


Ohio kicked off an open review April 26 for its tourism PR account with an RFP process.

The state wants a “creative, results-driven, forward thinking agency partner to take its public relations/media relations efforts to new heights for the 2013/2014 biennium,” reads the RFP, noting current trends point toward value vacations close to home. Key markets are Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan.

Fahlgren Mortine PR is the five-year incumbent on a $300K/year contract through June 30.

Deadline for pitches is May 18. RFP:


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