Res Publica Group helped guide NorthShore University HealthSystem and Advocate Health Care through one of the healthcare industry’s largest and most heavily watched mergers. The deal had the potential to impact 45,000 employees and physicians, billions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of thousands of patients. By taking them through the complex communication challenges throughout the public, legal and regulatory process, we had a front row seat to a national dialogue about the future of healthcare.
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In 2015, NorthShore University HealthSystem entered into one of the most heavily watched mergers in the history of the industry. But announcing it was merely the first chapter in a story that lasted more than 2 1Ž2 years, included regular decisive milestones and extended to national discussions around the affordability of healthcare in American.
Res Publica was charged with the task of defining, then activating a multi-tiered communications strategy to:

  1. engage physicians
  2. keep more than 45,000 employees informed and assured
  3. build enthusiasm among each system’s patients and local communities
  4. support counsel on a legal strategy as the merger traveled through the Federal court system, and most importantly
  5. protect NorthShore’s hard-earned reputation

We built a communications toolkit that established a strong case for support yet was able to evolve as the audiences and dynamics of the legal process changed. Personalized communications from senior leadership helped build support and answer questions from diverse audiences while regular town hall meetings gave employees, physicians and community members a unique opportunity to engage directly with those leaders. This outreach was supplemented by dozens of media interviews, one-on-one meetings and editorial board visits that helped us define the narrative. Externally, we remained engaged with and equipped community representatives and third party allies with tools to strengthen our narrative from the ground up. Our strategy was to anticipate and prepare for every possible outcome, while protecting and even enhancing the System’s reputation. When a challenge by the FTC increased the stakes, we were prepared to respond and take action quickly. Throughout the process, both content and messaging were in place for immediate deployment. Though the merger was eventually halted, a national dialogue about the future of healthcare had been sparked and today, we continue to support NorthShore in its market-leading position.