From 1998 to 2001, Spartanburg, S.C.-based Hedrick Smith Productions, headed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith, produced two PBS programs examining managed care and other major health care issues. They also conducted an outreach campaign in connection with the programs.
Almost 300 PBS stations carried the program, and some 5.3 million viewers watched all or part of it, according to Nielsen Media Research.
To augment the documentary, Hedrick Smith Productions and South Carolina Educational Television conducted an educational outreach campaign, which included:
Smith also hosted a live webcast symposium on health care issues at the National Press Club two days before the Critical Condition broadcast.
A one-hour companion program, Dr. Solomon's Dilemma, focused on the ethical challenges facing physicians trying to balance the competing demands of cost control and providing appropriate care under managed care; it aired as part of the Frontline series on April 9, 2000, and was repeated the night after Critical Condition appeared.