The Colorado Health Foundation | Controlling the Message Amid a $1.45 Billion Transaction

  • Challenge

    Message and announce sale of the Foundation’s 40 percent equity stake in HCA-HealthONE Hospital system

  • Solution

    Explain the benefits of the sale using highly customized messaging for all impacted audiences statewide

  • Results

    More than 100 media stories reflected the non-controversial tone developed in the strategic messaging campaign

Challenge

Emphasize the benefits of the Colorado Health Foundation’s highly sensitive sale of its 40 percent equity stake in the HCA-HealthONE Hospital system, a partnership that had existed for 16 years and had deep roots in the Colorado community.

Solution

Knowing the intricacies of the health care industry in Colorado as well as the organizations the Foundation impacts through its grant-giving, GFM developed messaging, a detailed Q&A and a targeted influencer/audience matrix to convey the benefits of the transaction specific to the Foundation.

Working backward from the planned public announcement day, the GFM team worked quickly to accommodate numerous messaging changes while negotiations were being conducted simultaneously.

Coordinating communications efforts with numerous legal teams, the leadership at the Foundation, HCA and HealthONE, the final message platform prepared by GFM was used as the basis for all communications, including an in-depth white paper explaining all the legal, financial, health and tax benefits of the divestiture; press releases; letters from leadership to key stakeholders; talking points for Foundation employees, grantees, partners, university partners and health executives in Colorado; and responses to media inquiries after the public announcement.

Following the public announcement of the Foundation’s intent to sell its equity stake, GFM refined materials as requested by the Colorado Attorney General, key influencers and media.

Results

After nearly seven months of waiting, the Attorney General announced his approval. Overall, the divesture was beneficial for the people of Colorado and enabled the Foundation to strengthen its work to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.

While proactively securing media coverage wasn’t a direct communications goal, it was indirectly tied to mitigating any negative response. The sale generated more than 108 articles in print, online or on broadcast TV and radio. More important than the volume of the coverage was its neutral and “non-controversial” tone – a significant win for the Foundation.