A smoking gun

Inside the registration packet at this week’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement annual conference on healthcare quality was a flier advertising the 4th Annual National Forum for Improving Children’s Health Care, sponsored by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality. This event is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 2, 2005, at the tony Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego.

How ironic it is for a healthcare organization—one dedicated to the health of children—to hold a conference at a Loews property. Loews Hotels is owned by Loews Corp. (NYSE: LTR), a publicly traded conglomerate that also owns Lorillard Tobacco Co., the third-largest cigarette maker in America.

This is not to single out NICHQ. Many other healthcare organizations have scheduled events at Loews hotels. Quorum Health Resources is planning its Foundations for the Future conference for Feb. 3-5, 2005, at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza, Nashville, Tenn., a place where Vanderbilt University Medical Center has held numerous conferences.

In September, the National Association of Healthcare Quality held its annual conference at the Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Universal, in Orlando, Fla.

If only these organizations had known of the Loews Hotels connection to Big Tobacco. Now they will.

By the way, Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. has no affiliation with Loews Corp., so feel free to enjoy movies at Loews Theatres and Cineplex Odeon cinemas without patronizing the tobacco industry.