Governor Jay Inslee had worked closely with Wilson Strategic during his 2012 campaign to develop a health care platform. In 2013, the Governor’s office called once again requesting help and feedback in creating legislation on mental health integration. The primary challenge was fleshing out the language of the Bill and garnering bipartisan support in the Washington legislature.
Wilson Strategic organized a taskforce to elicit feedback from stakeholders involved in health care integration. Wilson Staff revised and reviewed policy language to ensure that it adhered to the Governor’s health care platform.
Drawing on its deep pool of legislative expertise, Wilson Strategic—by special request of the Governor—lobbied for House Bill 2572 in Olympia and built a broad coalition of support among Democrats and Republicans.
House Bill 2572, and its companion Senate Bill 6312, both passed in the 2014 legislative session. Since then, Wilson Strategic has continued to be part of the conversation of mental health integration in the state.
With demand rising as the region’s leading pediatric hospital and research institution, Seattle Children’s Hospital needed to expand its facilities to keep pace with Pacific Northwest population growth. Plans called for almost a doubling in square footage at the Laurelhurst campus and a considerable increase in building height to be phased in over 20 years. Children’s Hospital needed the approval of the Seattle City Council to proceed.
Seattle Children’s asked Wilson Strategic to conduct extensive polling and focus group studies over an 18-month period along with statistical analysis of the results. The goal was to understand what benefits of the hospital’s growth the public valued most and preempt what community concerns might arise. Both assets and liabilities involving the public were considerable.
Analysts at Wilson Strategic Communications put together a clear and compelling messaging strategy for Seattle Children’s Hospital to implement which promoted the benefits of growth while mitigating potential liabilities. The project led to multiple, positive media stories. Opposition was mitigated by swift, evidence-based response, and general support across the community for Children’s vision for the future.
The Seattle City Council approved Seattle Children’s Hospital’s master plan for growth in response to strong public support for the expansion.
Columbia United Providers is a local health plan based in Southwest Washington serving Medicaid beneficiaries and TPA clients. In 2012, they faced a tremendous challenge to their major line business: they were not renewed as a Medicaid plan with the state. In order to regain their Medicaid contract, Columbia United Providers enlisted the help of Wilson Strategic Communications.
Wilson Strategic provided a business strategy to Columbia United Providers by facilitating a partnership with Community Health Plan of Washington, another carrier who was also denied a contract in Clark County. The partnership proved successful, and together both entities were able to continue serving their members.
Wilson Strategic worked closely with Columbia United Providers to diversify their business by filing a product on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange marketplace, marking the company’s first commercial line of business. A significant part of this effort was the creation of an individual exchange product, which Wilson Strategic helped develop from scratch, guiding the health plan through federal and state regulatory hurdles: from product development and filing with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and CMS, to ensuring network adequacy.
At the same time, Wilson Strategic successfully prepared Columbia United Providers to regain their direct Medicaid contract with the state.
Columbia United Providers launched an individual exchange product for Open Enrollment in 2015. They were able to regain the direct contract with the state effective January 2015, thus diversifying their risk and allowing the company to not only continue, but expand, their operations.
The Spokesman Review quoted DJ Wilson, President of Wilson Strategic, regarding Washington State health insurance challenges:
[Health insurers] see the rules as unworkable, and setting them up for failure,” said DJ Wilson, the head of a health care strategy firm that operates State of Reform, a blog on health care reform. Among the key areas of concern, he said, are rules for rural health care providers that can require patients to travel to certain specialists. For some rules it’s a distance; for others, it’s a time limit.
“Some of this is really in the weeds. But they could severely disrupt (health care) delivery systems in rural Washington,” Wilson said.
Read the full article see the Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and DJ Wilson trade insights on new regulations mean for healthcare delivery throughout the state.
Attorney Joe Wilson lost a race for Superior Court by more than 15 points, tarnished by repeated news stories on his past problems with alcohol. In 2009, with the death of a sitting judge, a special election was called. While considering a new campaign, Joe Wilson approached Wilson Strategic Communications about handling all messaging, media, and strategy for the campaign. Wilson was particularly concerned about the damage to his reputation from the previous campaign.
Consultants at Wilson Strategic have experience on more than 200 campaigns at every level of government. With a short campaign timeline, WSC set out quickly to mitigate the baggage from the past campaign. In addition to traditional TV advertising and direct mail campaigns, WSC built an innovative social media strategy to organize and disseminate campaign information to allies and supporters.
When US Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina screamed “You lie!” at President Obama during an address before Congress, some excited Facebook users mistook “our” Joe Wilson in their comments with “that” Joe Wilson. Wilson Strategic quickly rolled out a “Not THAT Joe Wilson!” campaign that played on, and capitalized upon, the misnomer. WSC fed the story to Seattle Weekly first, which helped build the story in the online community before it went mainstream. When all was said and done, the story had a 5-day life cycle, running in over 1000 outlets in over 120 countries.
The candidate who once had some concerning history in the previous election cycle was redefined with voters as “our Joe Wilson.”
Our Joe Wilson – the candidate for Superior Court – won his second race by 9 points. Wilson Strategic Communications won a national Reed Award from Campaigns and Elections Magazine for its work as the “Best Earned Media” of the 2009 campaign year.
SoundPath Health, formerly Puget Sound Health Partners, launched in the fall of 2007. As a Medicare Advantage plan, SoundPath had to navigate a highly-regulated advertising environment which threw up a wall of complications in branding and marketing. In addition, SoundPath Health was the first new plan to open in Washington in over 15 years. Breaking into a market with competition from national and well-established regional carriers was a daunting proposition to say the least.
Wilson Strategic was brought in to help coordinate and organize SoundPath’s marketing efforts. From creative and collateral, to media buys and direct mail, WSC helped bring facilitate the marketing process with multiple stakeholders, physician groups, and the plan’s executive leadership.
WSC organized strategic, focused media buys in targeted zip codes based on demography and geography so that every marketing dollar had maximum impact on the Washingtonian consumer.
Upon the conclusion of open enrollment, CMS announced that SoundPath was the fastest growing new Medicare Advantage plan in America with over 5,000 new enrollees in 3 counties. Not bad for the new kid in town!
Columbia United Providers (CUP), Washington’s third largest Medicaid health plan, has provided coverage to patients in the state’s “Healthy Options” Medicaid managed care program since the state launched the program 18 years ago. CUP’s unique relationships with providers resulted in patients having access to doctors that would otherwise not take Medicaid patients. When the Health Care Authority terminated CUP’s Medicaid contract on January 17, 2012, the company turned to Wilson Strategic.
WSC launched an immediate, multi-faceted public affairs campaign within one week. The community, media, and legislators were mobilized in the following ways:
- An issue website – www.patientsloseout.com – updated frequently during the legislative session which became the base camp for a sophisticated social media and email campaign
- Weekly coordination among allied organizations with messaging, talking point distribution and political activation
- Media outreach resulting in multiple stories in The Columbian, PSBJ, on KOIN-TV, NPR, and industry news sites
- An advertising campaign to generate public interest in multiple print media outlets, and which relied on grassroots, community participation generated through online sources
- Organizing and mobilizing provider groups supportive of CUP, leading to legislative outreach, in-person lobbying, and direct communications to legislators from executive level staff in Pierce, King and Clark Counties
- A lobbying effort which quickly lined up legislative support for CUP’s position, resulting in language being adopted in the final 2012 budget at CUP’s request
CUP received unanimous legislative support, by both Democrats and Republicans in the Washington state House and Senate, facilitating CUP’s proposed language. Community recognition of the CUP brand and role in local health care was reenergized. Overall, the result of this public affairs outreach effort was overwhelming legislative and community resources for CUP.