Drug Diversion

Helping Two Hospitals Turn a Potentially Volatile Situation into Neutral Media Coverage

In 2009, two Colorado hospitals called on GFM Responds, the communications and issues management practice of GroundFloor Media (GFM), to help them respond to continuing press inquiries about highly publicized incidents at their facilities in which staff members diverted drugs for their own personal use.

Our team at GFM Responds worked closely with senior leadership at both Boulder Community Hospital and St. Anthony’s Central Hospital to develop aggressive communications plans that allowed the staff at both hospitals to efficiently and appropriately communicate to key internal and external audiences, while minimizing the damage to morale and the hospitals’ reputations.

Internally, GFM Responds helped develop task forces to prevent future incidents, and then communicated the recommendations of these task forces to patients, employees, related facilities, and board members. Externally, our team developed key messages and responses to tough questions and distributed them to key hospital staff, from the CEO to department directors, so that everyone was prepared to communicate the same consistent messages to the press and their communities.

On the media relations front, GFM Responds helped the communications departments at each hospital get in front of the stories by proactively sharing key messages with the media and also closely monitoring social media, pointing out comments that the hospitals needed to be aware of and/or respond to directly. GFM also counseled hospital administrators not to appear on camera for media interviews, but instead to funnel media statements through one key spokesperson. These and other strategies helped to control the flow of information, and ultimately turned a potentially volatile situation into media-neutral press coverage.