Manager of Public Policy, PROMO Missouri
The Missouri Case study is a joint project by PROMO Missouri and SAGE Metro St. Louis that highlights the policy work of the Missouri LGBT Health Policy project. In the last installment of the Missouri Case Study, we provided LGBT health advocates a roadmap of how we began engaging Missouri’s top 20 hospitals. It included examples from our initial outreach letter along with an individualized report that was sent to our targets.
Having mailed the letters and after two long weeks of hearing nothing from hospitals, we went back to the drawing board. For myself, I always remain optimistic about new actions, but we were not naive enough to know that it would take more than just one letter and individualized report to spark these hospitals. When we sat down to discuss the second attempt, we knew we had a great roadmap to build upon from our initial outreach letter. However, in the second attempt we focused our message to include only the important pieces of that roadmap:
- Continue to create a sense of urgency – A new policy by the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index makes reporting the LGBT policies of your State’s top 20 hospitals mandatory regardless if they decided to take part in the survey or not. Making this clear to hospitals helped us to create our sense of urgency for a review and gave us a tangible deadline ( HEI deadline is June 30th ).
- Give them a look at who these policies will affect – think of what will motivate that hospital. Knowing that these hospitals were located in urban areas, and since we were talking to CEO’s and Senior-level executives, we decided to use a business case strategy.
- Reiterate your main ‘ask’ – our main ask was to identify a representative with whom we could work and engage further on the review process.
The original second outreach letter can be found below. We mailed this letter two weeks after the initial letter along with the same individualized report to hospitals.
Keep in mind that most of these plans were used for Missouri’s top hospitals. Health advocates should review their strategy depending on the hospital that you are outreaching to. After the drop of this letter we finally heard from 3 hospitals. Our first hospital official a Senior Human Resources official had referred me to their umbrella network, who was in charge of policy reviews. The second hospital official a Senior Medical Affairs official wanted to learn more and asked us to provide their hospital with technical assistance. The third CEO personally called me to tell me that our letters had ‘sparked him to action.’ All-in-all, this strategy has proved to be a success in sparking hospitals into reviewing their LGBT welcoming policies. In the next installment, we will fill health advocates in on how we maximized our engagement with hospitals.