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Community RelationsHIPS: Building Reputation and Credibility in Your Community


Title: The American Healthstyles Author: Ed Maibach Last modified by: Spencer Sauter Created Date: 3/14/1997 5:59:46 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Community RelationsHIPS: Building Reputation and Credibility in Your Community

Community RelationsHIPS Building Reputation and
Credibility in Your Community
  • Wisconsin HPRMS Conference
  • Sept. 13, 1007
  • Kathleen L. Lewton
  • Principal, Lewton,SeekinsTrester

Lets look forward, by first looking back . . .
. .
  • To the good old days when
  • Money flowed in
  • Regulators were benevolent (who remembers HILL
  • Patients were docile
  • Physicians were happy
  • And neither HCR nor HRC had ever been heard of

Looking back . . . .
  • And even though all the players had different
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Hospitals
  • Rx
  • Vendors . . .
  • Everyone managed to get along

Looking back . . . . .
  • Insurers paid (albeit slowly)
  • Medicare paid
  • Legislators were uninvolved
  • And Payers ------ just paid (and gave away
    free health benefits)

But then . . . .
  • Someone at General Motors looked at the benefits
    line item and said Whats THIS????
  • Someone at HCFA turned DRGs into a payment
  • And the world changed, in an instant

The system began to writhe
  • Mergers and mega-mergers -- with corporate
    sounding names
  • Whole new categories of companies -- PHOs, HSOs,
    MSOs, PPMs (and the concept of owning a doctor)
  • And, of course, managed care -- as a cost
    management model rather than a health management

Available resources cant keep up with new tech
and treatments . . .
  • And the players believe they can only succeed at
    the expense of a competitor or another category
  • Its Us vs. THEM

Everyone has had a turn . .
  • In the bad guy role
  • Rx prices
  • Greedy doctors
  • Cost-cutting, nurse-laying-off hospitals
  • HMOs and insurers
  • And today . . .
  • Back to Rx prices
  • And everyones a bad guy

Everyone is telling their story
  • MAJOR boon for advertising sales people
  • Hospitals alone cluttering the airwaves
  • Cutting-edge, state-designated, best doctors in
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery and more jargon
  • NCQA accredited
  • Healthgrades, US News ratings, JD Power Awards,
    Magnets and more
  • A total blare of noise

What else does the public see?
  • The AMA becoming lobbyists
  • Physicians writing prescriptions in return for
    pizza (or being incentivized by HMOs)
  • JCAHO promoting its seal of approval
  • Drug companies selling as fast as they can
  • Hospitals dumping patients
  • Miracle cures . . . . . debunked

11 confusion
  • At a time when they have more access to
    information than ever before . . . .
  • Theres no trusted source
  • Every web site seems to say something different
    (how drug X killed my dad)
  • Sponsorship of websites often cleverly hidden

All of this is played out . . .
  • In the glare of the media spotlight -- with more
    minutes and inches of coverage than ever before
  • Reporters (fewer and fewer with HC or medical
    expertise) hop on any hot story
  • Highlight the studies that are contradictory
  • Red wine will a) kill, b) heal, c)who knows

And THEN there are the legislators
  • Who see a great opportunity look like saviors by
    fixing the system
  • And here we are in the middle of a multi-year
    presidential campaign with dozens of candidates
    who all have a solution

And so today . . . .
  • All health care, all the time
  • Every sector is seen as a villain or potential
  • And we all provide enough fodder to make the
    concerns realistic
  • The transition from white hat to black hat is
    nearly complete
  • And the public doesnt know who or what to trust

Without trust . . .
  • The bond that is essential for human service
    organizations is broken
  • The impact is massive
  • From clinical outcomes
  • To philanthropic support
  • To overregulation
  • To patients not trusting caregivers

Lets take a closer look at what HCOs can do to
rebuild trust
Its back to our roots
  • Hospitals exist with the tacit permission of the
    communities they serve
  • And the only force that ever stopped the WalMart
    juggernaut was organized community opposition
  • So its time for total immersion in the
    community, building trust by being there, being
    credible and demonstrating caring

Back to the very basics
  • Relationships are HIP
  • We put a face on the organization, we personalize
  • Its harder to dislike organizations where you
    know the people

CR 101begins with the basics
  • Advisory Boards are foundational strategy
  • IF you use them effectively
  • Have a role and goal
  • Cast a broad net
  • Create a solid structure
  • Listen and then respond
  • Make them insiders
  • Use them as loyal advocates

And the old stand-bys still work!
  • The Speakers Bureau
  • Give it a jazzy name, a logo, a brochure, a
    champion and youve got SB for a new decade
  • HCOs have what consumers want nice smart people
    who know a lot about health care
  • And community organizations have what HCOs want -
    podium, audiences

The all new SB
  • The SB must be carefully managed
  • Seek out platforms that match marketing strategy
  • Prep and train speakers, send out with HCOs core
  • Evaluate and monitor
  • Seize the day breaking news

And tours are still hot
  • HCOs especially hospitals fascinate the
    public, especially young people
  • And all those kids have parents who will read the
    stuff you send home
  • And there are other ways to get the consumers
    into you facility

Tours 2007
  • Offer free meeting space and tack on a
    mini-tour to one of your hot service lines
  • For target audiences, supplement the (well
    trained and monitored) tour guide with a
    physician in a hot specialty

Tours Upgraded Make Influential Outsiders
  • Invite the right people -- create a powerful
  • Yes, the usual suspects (mayor, council, biz
    CEOs) BUT go further
  • Look at ALL segments of your community
    (education, arts, social services, labor unions,
    minority groups, etc.) and do the research to
    find the leaders

Tours Upgraded Make Influential Outsiders
  • THEN do one more scan who are people who can
    influence several hundred other people
  • Clergy, activists, Junior League president, etc.
  • Map out the spheres of influence and mixmatch on
    your invitation list

Make the Influencers Insiders
  • Treat influentials like the special people they
  • Private, first-class dinner hosted by CEO,
    chairman of the Board
  • Exciting presentation by compelling physician on
    a hot or timely topic

Make the Influencers Insiders
  • After the partys over . . . . . the work has
    just begun
  • That was the first date now comes the courtship
  • Frequent personal updates from CEO (letters,
    one-on-ones, etc.)
  • Insider status they hear the news FIRST
  • Find ways to involve them based on their needs

Next up Taking Insiders Out
  • Community liaisons can be the best communications
    channel ever!
  • Takes time and careful management, but pays huge
  • Find the people in your HCO who know the people
    out in the community

Insiders Out Liaisons
  • Begin with audit of whos involved in what and
    dont just ask management
  • Grid it out
  • Invite participation, outline role clearly,
    provide incentives
  • Most important incentive is feeling of
  • Ambassador title and a plaque also help!

Insiders Out Liaisons
  • Liaisons primary role LISTEN
  • Early warning system for emerging issues or
    anti-HCO sentiment
  • Need easy mechanism for getting info and feedback
    to PR
  • When needed, liaisons can also deliver messages
    but must be done without compromising their
    status in the group

Insiders Out Liaisons
  • The true value of this program becomes evident
    when you have a crisis and need to get truth to
    the community
  • OR when you have an issue and need to build
    grassroots support

Insiders Out Mobilize employees to meet a
community need
  • Pick a project -- or several and challenge
    every employee to participate
  • Let employees nominate projects they value and
  • Employee committee can select finalists/winners

Next up Partnerships, not SPONSORSHIPS
  • Sponsorships -- in return for a logo (one
    among many) on a 5K Walk T-shirt
  • ROI negligible
  • Partnerships long-term side-by-side commitment
    that builds trust and relationships

The Partnership Paradigm Hard Work
  • Mission goes real-time
  • Begin with the communitys need (not the HCOs
  • You may need to lead the community needs
    assessment (which is a great position)
  • ID problems which can be solved at local level
  • Focus on healthy communities

Partnership principles
  • Pick the problems that you are most suited to
  • Find one or more appropriate partners (generally
    local, but other sources can support with funding
    i.e., RX companies)
  • Media outlets can be great partners just be
  • Manage the partnership like a business
    measurable objectives, biz plan, monitoring and

Partnership principles
  • The HCO can provide brains, or brawn or bucks
    or all three
  • Finding ways to create a new community dental
    service, and/or hands-on projects like housing
    rehab (lead-free paint impacts childrens health
    and health care utilization)

Partnership benefits
  • Youre OUT THERE, being visible and credible
  • Your people work side by side with other
    community leaders
  • The ultimate win/win

The partnership menu
  • Immunizations
  • Parent education
  • Drug hotlines
  • The list is endless, two key criteria
  • Must meet an IDENTIFIED community need
  • Must be a long-term commitment

And make sure the Board is involved, too
  • Board members are from and of the community
    built-in crediblity
  • Board CR Committee should take the lead
  • Opinion leader visits, briefing
  • All Board members should have briefing cards and
    info updated regularly

The Last Word(s)
  • CR should be seen as a primary PR function NOT
    as an add on to someone elses job
  • Not budget intensive when compared to other
    functions, but it does take staffing
  • Takes commitment from senior management
    personal time commitment

The Last Word(s)
  • The ROI in terms of credibility, trust, the gut
    feelings is significant
  • And it can be measured
  • Influentials attitudes before and after
    relationship building
  • Consumer awareness and opinions
  • And measure HCO participant satisfaction, too
    (the extra bonus)

Bonus Points Legislative Relations as an
Extension of CR
Ongoing Legislative Relations Programs
  • Make it a priority
  • Designate a member of the management team to be
    responsible for running the program (with
    responsibilities ranging from ongoing legislative
    contacts to internal briefings/training and
    legislative databases)
  • Translate the hospitals legislative position on
    national issues for local press and editorial
  • Make a government relations report a standing
    agenda item at Board and management staff

Ongoing Legislative Relations Programs
  • Make it a priority
  • Involve trustees and management staff in regular
    legislator and staff briefings
  • Take trustees and key managers on legislative
    visits to the state and national capitols
  • Regularly brief all members of the HCO family
    employees, volunteers, vendors/suppliers,
    patients, etc. Dont wait until theyre needed
    to write letters or make calls

Ongoing Legislative Relations Programs
  • Building real relationships with legislators and
  • Know who the health care organizations
    legislators are federal, state, and local
  • Identify who knows whom which people within
    the HCO have personal relationships with
    legislators and can serve as intermediaries and

Ongoing Legislative Relations Programs
  • Building relationships
  • Set up ROUTINE meetings with the CEO and the
    health care organizations legislators and city
  • Get to know the legislators staff members
    field reps at their local offices and
    administrative assistants in the statehouse and
    federal offices

Ongoing Legislative Relations Programs
  • Building relationships
  • Be helpful offer the chance to address the
    health care organizations employees, medical
    staff members, board members, or other large,
    influential gatherings
  • Make sure your trade association keeps you posted
    on the key issues and positions of your state and
    federal representatives
  • Consider establishing key contact programs,
    modeled after those used by corporations

Ongoing Legislative Relations Programs
  • Continue the relationship
  • Conduct briefings for legislators at the health
    care organization at least yearly and make your
    schedule fit theirs. Update them on changes and
    achievements, and share your position on any
    pending or potential issues
  • Involve political leaders in your health care
    organizations board.
  • Take the lead in getting health care
    organizations to work together on key issues

Ongoing Legislative Relations Programs
  • Always focus the health care organizations
    message on people
  • Pre-qualify potential partners and advocates
  • Through issues management function, identify
  • Build relationships before theyre needed
    through CR 101