"The marketing effort focuses mainly on image diagnostic testing and joint surgery," said Sheleney. "The diagnostic testing is important because people who are waiting for a test to determine if they might have cancer usually want to know right away."
Port Huron's focus on joint surgery is also a good match, given the wait times for most Canadians who need that type of procedure. According to a recent study in Health Affairs, the average wait time for a 65-year-old man in Canada needing a hip replacement is more than six months, far longer than any wait in the U.S.
Another local hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, is keeping a close eye on Port Huron Hospital's marketing effort as it considers launching one of its own. Many Michigan hospitals are looking to attract more patients and generate revenue in a state with an unemployment rate of 12.4%, the second-highest in the U.S.
Brian Peters, executive vice president of operations at the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, said he expects more hospitals in border communities to step up efforts to market their services across the border.
"If you look at the reimbursement environment (in the U.S.), Medicare and Medicaid payments haven't grown," Peters told the Port Huron Times Herald. "Growth of uninsured populations puts added pressure on hospitals and gives them a real incentive to draw patients from outside the community."