Regional Health Systems

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Keeping the Community Alive.

As a community’s trusted custodian of care and vital economic engine –regional health systems shoulder critical loads.

They’re charged with operating a financially stable organization where people choose to come for care. Where physicians choose to practice. Where employees choose to work.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

We understand these distinct needs. Each day, we put our decades of experience working with or serving as executives in regional systems to work for our clients.

World class care, close to home. It’s not just what the doctor ordered, it’s what the community demands.

For every project, we custom-build a team of experts fluent in the challenges and opportunities specific to local healthcare leaders.

We work with clients to:

navigate

Navigate difficult issues that threaten to derail your progress

strategy

Implement real-world solutions that fit your budget and demonstrate measurable results

support

Recruit the support of your C-Suite, board and other essential teams for your efforts

Our specialized Regional Health System Practice helps leaders position their organizations to grow, enhance and protect reputations and fulfill their missions.

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A leadership blog written for senior-level healthcare executives, High Stakes offers insights and counsel on the communications challenges of today’s transformative hospital environment.

Regional Health System Case Studies

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 SOLUTION

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 RESULTS

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. 

TACTICS

Leaders of a regional health system were centralizing operations when they realized employee engagement was low. They decided to address the problem by searching for gaps in their internal communications efforts. Quickly recognizing they needed more resources to do the research, they brought us on board to conduct a thorough audit.

THE SOLUTION

We began by polling employees and interviewing managers about their communications styles, knowledge and use of tools.

Results from those efforts were clear: Employees were receiving information that wasn’t relevant to their work, didn’t connect with the system’s mission and came from a variety of sources. Managers, meanwhile, varied markedly in their comfort and ability to communicate.

To address this, we built a plan to flip the organization’s top-down communications strategy into a two-way relationship between employer and employees. Elements included:

  • A new protocol that drastically reduced “All-Staff” emails, ensured that content was relevant to specific employee populations and was properly curated with the most vital information at the top
  • Creation of a new intranet portal to serve as a single, easily accessible, updated source of truth
  • Development of a training program for managers to help them communicate clearly to their teams

THE RESULTS

Measured by surveys, the strategy yielded dramatic results. One year later, 77 percent of employees responded they received the appropriate amount of information from the system, versus 54 percent the previous year. Another 58 percent said they received information pertinent to their day-to-day work, versus 45 percent the previous year. Finally, half of the respondents said they felt engaged, up from one-third of employees before we began our work.

TACTICS

 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. 

THE SOLUTION

 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.

THE RESULTS

 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. 

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.

TACTICS