The Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (“MHA”) represents 70 licensed member hospitals across the Commonwealth and plays a critical role in influencing public policy. MHA engaged us to communicate their position to an array of audiences in response to the Massachusetts Nurses Association’s (“MNA”) call for a statewide ballot question on mandated nurse staffing ratios, slated as Question 1 on the 2018 ballot.
We served as senior strategic advisors, leading all media relations strategy for this campaign. This included creating messaging and written materials for the campaign, including media advisories, news releases, op-eds and talking points. We employed rapid response protocols and managed all interactions with the media to combat false information in the news, organized and managed press conferences, and strategized and scheduled editorial board meetings with newspapers across the state.
We also built and mobilized a broad and far-reaching coalition of individual nurses, nursing groups, health care organizations, chambers of commerce, community advocacy groups and business organizations to bolster the campaign’s credibility and help build a diverse community of engaged supporters. We activated coalition members to participate in media interviews and at public meetings to educate and persuade residents in their own communities. Using targeted materials produced for each organization, we encouraged coalition members to communicate our campaign messaging both internally and externally, to take part in local editorial boards, and to host their own press events leading up to the election.
The “No on 1 Campaign” defeated the nurse staffing ballot initiative, advancing from 30 points behind to winning by an over 40-point margin one year later. The final vote count found 70.4% of Massachusetts residents voted against the ballot question, while 29.6% voted for it.
We secured 23 editorial board endorsements, more than 200 earned media placements and more than 190 letters to the editor and op-eds in media outlets including The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Boston Business Journal, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Bloomberg News, State House News Service, Worcester Business Journal, Cape Cod Times, The Patriot Ledger, The Republican/MassLive, Lowell Sun, The Berkshire Eagle, and The Sentinel & Enterprise.
We remain MHA’s strategic communications partners. Since the “No on 1 Campaign,” we have helped raise the profile of MHA and its leadership team as key voices for the Massachusetts healthcare system, especially during COVID-19 surges, vaccination, and recovery. We provide strategic guidance and develop and distribute communications materials, including but not limited to op-eds, press releases, media advisories, and messaging for MHA’s members.
Recent highlights of our work together include the successful announcement of MHA’s Diversity, Health Equity, and Inclusion plan—which was covered on the front-page of The Boston Globe’s Business Section—and the creation of a statewide toolkit with messaging and communications tactics to guide hospitals’ COVID-19 vaccination efforts.