Leveraging smart strategic partnerships is critical to establishing a thriving future for any leading healthcare provider. In these moments, the political power and trust of your own people and your community will either work for or against you.
Having led communications and political strategy for more than $60 billion in announced healthcare M&A and partnership transactions, you can count on our expertise to steer through the most complicated collaborations and to ensure a successful outcome.
Organizations that align quickly are better able to achieve the operational, clinical and financial goals that ignited the partnership in the first place. Our unique combination of deep provider knowledge, sharp political thinking and experience implementing proven best practices leads to successful transactions that:
- Advance your mission
- Protect your reputation
- Prepare for integration
- Close on time
Insight into industry trends, healthcare venture capital news and communications best practices. Written from the perspective of our advisers, who work with healthcare leaders making high-stakes decisions every day.
M&A Case Studies
Leaders of a financially-fit, three-hospital system in rural Pennsylvania sought a partner to deliver on population health and invest in the troubled local economy. While confident in the out-of-state, investor-owned partner, they knew physician, political, regulatory and union challenges could stymie the deal. They were, after all, the region’s economic engine. They needed a smart internal and external communications campaign to ensure a successful transaction.
We immediately assembled a campaign team of leaders, board members and deal counsel to define goals and roles. Objectives were: Rally the troops around the system’s vision for the future, neutralize opposition, complete the transaction and launch the new foundation.
First step in the campaign was to broadly share the board’s vision and why partnership was the right path. We took a unique approach to neutralize each possible group of detractors. Two months later, we announced the selected partner, and focused on clearing regulatory hurdles and getting stakeholders comfortable with the partner.
Throughout the process, the merging systems presented a united front with leadership from both organizations attending most engagements. This joint approach provided consistent messaging for employees, physicians, the media and the local community as they scrutinized the new partnership.
We also developed a “pressure valve” of constructive ways for audiences to express concerns and ask questions.
On the partnership announcement day, the communications cascade generated relief, excitement and celebration by internal and external audiences. Leadership dubbed the partnership as an investment of “big-town medicine in small-town America.” which led to similar headlines.
Media coverage was balanced and fair. Unions never challenged. The team neatly navigated regulatory requirements to convert from a non-profit, closing within six months of the LOI announcement. The transaction’s $100 million foundation was viewed a stunning benefit for the region.
Two prized regional health systems wanted to partner to tackle major health issues in their home state –
and to ward off out-of-state competitors eager to snap them up. But influential state lawmakers were skeptical of this merger of equals. Meanwhile, staffs and physicians were already grappling with change fatigue, since both systems had launched separate major initiatives independent of the merger.
Cognizant that both systems were partnering from positions of strength, we worked closely with leaders to create a broad understanding of “the why” behind the merger. We had to demonstrate clearly that they weren’t growing just to grow, but had made a strategic decision to improve access, service and long-term stability. Together, they could ward off encroachment from larger systems in neighboring states and focus efforts on a state-based solution to healthcare. Conjoined, the erstwhile rivals would enjoy blended leadership with existing CEOs sharing at the helm.
Our team worked simultaneously on the merger and integration, convening legal and government relations, leadership from both systems and transaction advisers. After crafting, we delivered our cohesive story in a deliberate, highly cadenced drumbeat that engaged internal audiences, regional media and state and federal regulators. We intentionally overcommunicated. Even a dedicated website helped explain the partnership. We supported respective internal teams, aligned leadership and worked together to navigate the political dynamics.
Potential roadblocks cleared, our clients successfully completed the deal ahead of schedule. The unified, mission-driven organization is highly-regarded and operating virtually statewide to improve care.
Two market-leading health systems – a powerhouse academic medical center and an esteemed community hospital – decided to unite to provide the 360-degree care required to survive today’s healthcare environment. The systems had distinct cultures, stories, reimbursement and compensation strategies and philosophies of care. They needed to find common ground, then communicate their shared vision to employees, the media and local stakeholders.
The intensive project required deep understanding of academic medical centers – plus the ability to develop integration plans in tandem with M&A work.
We aligned the systems’ Communications, Legal, HR, Operations teams and consultants working on merger communications to build the merger’s shared message platform and campaign, then curated the communications.
To deploy, we trained and armed C-Suite members and facility CEOs with vision messaging for internal and external audiences, strategies for government hearings and a robust media plan.
After celebrating deal close, integration work took center stage. Leveraging cultural assessments of the legacy organizations, we built a new structure and strategic plan for the massive communications team. We also created:
- A comprehensive communications integration platform to establish a single system voice, differentiate the client and reaffirm position as industry leader
- A roadmap to build the new, shared culture through engagement and empowerment
- Metrics to show effectiveness of communications and engagement
The systems merged and integrated successfully – a complete M&A win. Two years later, we helped them with another strategic partnership that launched the state’s largest academic health system.
System leaders kept employees engaged throughout the formidable change and earned positive media coverage reflecting the positive external positioning.
The communications infrastructure for the new system aligned and retained all original communications and marketing personnel.