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Ian Petty

Confronting the New COVID-19 Surge: 5 Communications Considerations for Healthcare Leaders

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With the holidays upon us, healthcare leaders and workers are facing a nightmare scenario: Already high COVID infections will surge to new heights in the wake of holidays gatherings.

Healthcare workers who are already exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally will be left to care for patients who did not heed the warnings of public health officials. And healthcare leaders face a daunting array of high-stakes communications challenges that must be thoughtfully navigated.

We are focusing our attention on five areas where communications can help your organization confront the COVID-19 surge and prepare for other imminent milestones:

  • Workforce resiliency and support. Healthcare workers are drained. To make matters worse, many people continue to ignore public health recommendations that would help limit the spread of the virus. That leaves already-exhausted healthcare workers to deal with the consequences – potentially even including rationing of care. Healthcare leaders need to make sure their employees have access to mental health resources. We are helping organizations take stock of their employees and provide them with much needed support. Our new volume of The Art of Change addresses this critical issue, with both high-level context and practical insights. (We will continue to add to this volume over the course of the next month as we evaluate the pandemic’s ongoing toll on our employees.)
  • Prepare communications for the most likely COVID scenarios. It’s a bit of déjà vu for healthcare leaders: needing to prepare communications for suspending services, limiting visitation, staffing shortages, calling in COVID-19-positive but asymptomatic caregivers to work, capacity issues, facility closures, remote work and even the possibility of rationing care. We can help you prepare for these scenarios and others by proactively developing talking points, FAQs, memos, media materials and more.
  • Share your safety message. Patients need to feel safe so that life-saving care is not delayed. We are helping healthcare organizations develop and share their safety message by highlighting tactics like mask requirements, isolation of COVID patients, enhanced cleaning procedures, etc. Patients need to continue hearing these messages.
  • Be the healthcare voice of authority in your community. With the election over and COVID infections surging, the media is again focusing on the virus. Use media interest to your advantage. We are working with clients to provide regular media and community leaders briefings. This will rightly position your organization as the community healthcare expert and will give you the ability to lay the groundwork for strategic issues like public health, your caregivers’ commitment and additional government funding.
  • Develop a communications strategy for the next hot button issues: vaccine distribution and the January 1 CMS price transparency rule. In a matter of weeks your organization will be tasked with sharing information about these issues. We are working with clients to develop messages for internal and external audiences, communications toolkits with talking points, FAQs memos, media statement and communications cadences.

We know the challenges you face are daunting, and we are here to help.

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Safe to Return: Behavioral Health and Pandemic Anxiety

A magazine with an up-close image of a face wearing a mask with text that reads "Safe to Return"

We are living in a pivotal moment for healthcare organizations as they face an unprecedented, existential threat.

Today’s healthcare leaders – from clinicians to executives – face a vexing challenge: how to successfully lead their organizations, patients and communities through a global pandemic. There is great opportunity in making changes to fulfill their missions and provide care and support to patients, the public and employees. A new approach to influencing and driving change is needed – an approach built from established clinical principles combined with effective communications practices.

Since behavioral health clinicians work daily to reduce patients’ anxiety and help them feel comfortable in specific situations, we turned to this field for insight. In addition to asking for ways to address pandemic-inspired anxiety and fear, we have captured their actionable advice on how healthcare leaders can most effectively guide their organizations today.

Read the white paper

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Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock Joins The Chartis Group

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Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, Inc., a Nashville-based strategic communications and change management firm serving the healthcare industry, announced today that it had been acquired by The Chartis Group, a leading healthcare advisory and analytics firm.

Founded in 2006, award-winning Jarrard Inc. ranks among the top 10 healthcare communications firms in the nation. Specializing in areas such as issue navigation, transformation adoption, change management, strategic positioning and M&A, Jarrard has served more than 500 healthcare provider clients.

Jarrard joins Chartis at a time of great promise and challenge in the nation’s healthcare delivery landscape. US hospitals, health systems and other providers are confronted with dynamic operational, clinical and financial challenges while simultaneously being presented with unlimited opportunities for disruption and innovation. In both cases, organizations are facing the need to evolve and continue to grow and transform – which requires not only new strategic, clinical, digital and operating models – but also the ability to ensure their effective implementation and adoption. To that end, Jarrard brings great complementary strengths to Chartis.

“The power of what our two organizations can do together to help clients fully achieve their strategic and operational objectives could not be greater,” said Ken Graboys, CEO of The Chartis Group. “We believe successful, sustainable transformation requires effective change management and communications. By partnering with Jarrard, we can more effectively deliver results for our clients and the healthcare industry at large.”

“We are combining the power of effective communications with the exceptional strategic, financial, technological and operational expertise of Chartis,” said David Jarrard, CEO of Jarrard Inc. “We are bringing together the art and the science of change to a rapidly-evolving industry and in service to a mission – shared by both organizations – to make healthcare better.”

The acquisition of Jarrard furthers Chartis’ commitment to providing US healthcare providers best-in-class advisory capabilities. Under the partnership, like other sister companies, Jarrard retains its brand, culture, leadership and approach to client service, while being augmented by the expertise and resources of Chartis. The acquisition of Jarrard follows Chartis’ acquisition of The Greeley Company in 2019 and Oncology Solutions in 2018.

PALAZZO served as exclusive financial advisor to Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock Inc. in this transaction.

About Jarrard Inc. 
With offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Chicago, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, Inc. is a U.S. top 10 strategic communications consulting firm for the nation’s leading healthcare providers experiencing significant change, challenge or opportunity. Founded in 2006, the firm has worked with more than 500 clients in 45 states and has led communications and political strategy for $60 billion in announced M&A and partnership transactions. The firm specializes in M&A, change management, issue navigation and strategic positioning, and has recently worked alongside 75-plus healthcare organizations navigating the impact of COVID-19. For more information, visit

About The Chartis Group
The Chartis Group® (Chartis) provides comprehensive advisory services and analytics to the healthcare industry. With an unparalleled depth of expertise in strategic planning, performance excellence, informatics and technology, digital and emerging technologies, and health analytics, Chartis helps leading academic medical centers, integrated delivery networks, children’s hospitals and healthcare service organizations achieve transformative results. Chartis has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis and San Francisco. For more information, visit

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