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Hospitals woo patients with free parking, other perks

Marketing key as more take role in picking provider

WASHINGTON - Credit card companies, airlines, and hotels all have customer loyalty programs. Maybe it was only a matter of time before hospitals got in on the act.

A growing number of hospitals are seeking to attract new patients and keep existing ones by offering them an array of perks, including free parking, gift shop discounts, wellness seminars, and health screenings. Some of the most popular programs are social mixers that have nothing to do with health care - such as trips to casinos.

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