When it comes to public policy, health care is in the battle of its life. As employers and lawmakers wrestle with how to contain the cost of providing care for employees, the elderly and poor, more and more hospitals, insurers and doctors are coming under scrutiny.
State legislatures and the American Congress alike are often misconceptions of what health-care providers are doing in their communities and how a very complicated patchwork of reimbursement funds health care costs. No longer can providers rely on sheer goodwill as a means of being treated fairly.
A Simple Case Study:
A statewide consortium of hospitals was recently facing a hostile state legislature, which dictated rate-setting and Medicaid funding for providers in the state. As the legislature faced serious budgeting issues, they looked to cutting funds for hospitals as a means contain the state’s costs.
Many legislators knew little, if anything, about the maze of equations and procedures in place to fund hospitals. They had minimal understanding of what the state received in federal funds for health care, what state funds were used, how a hospital tax mechanism brings federal funds into the state treasury, and how each of those funding mechanisms resulted in funds being distributed to hospitals. They had little knowledge about the amount of free care delivered by hospitals and doctors for uninsured patients, and how non-profit organizations provide care to anyone, no matter their ability to pay for it.
What legislators did know was that their constituents and employers in their districts voiced constant and persistent complaints about the cost of health care. National health-care reform had spilled over into state legislatures and cost containment for health care topped many an agenda.
Having mapped out the legislative landscape and having considered several funding scenarios for the next budget, consortium leaders approached StoreyManseau, LLC for counsel and support on how to get the word out about how vital hospitals are in each community and how to impact the negative thinking in the Legislature.
StoreyManseau, LLC began by conducting attitudinal market research in order to identify public perceptions about hospitals, including the areas of strong positives, key concerns and where gaps of knowledge exist. Then, positive messages were created for hospitals for distribution through communications channels, as well as customizable press releases and social media messaging. A new website was developed, which allowed the consortium to post important information about opportunities to meet with legislators, as well as fact sheets and white papers on hospitals’ essential contributions within communities.