Commitment to Community
Driving for Quality Care
Approximately three of every four patients in America’s skilled nursing facilities rely on government assistance to fund their care; yet in recent years this community has experienced repeated cuts. To draw attention to the chronic underfunding of America’s elder care services, Schmidt Public Affairs worked with the American Health Care Association and National Centers for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) to launch a nationwide grassroots initiative called Driving for Quality Care.
Driving for Quality Care was designed as a cross-country mobile tour in a recreational vehicle (RV). The route was determined by the congressional districts of legislators AHCA/NCAL most wanted to influence in a federal Medicaid issue. The key objective of the campaign was to establish a grassroots following and constituent advocacy base in priority states and congressional districts that could ultimately sway lawmaker opinion to vote in favor of the extension of additional federal Medicaid assistance.
In order to create the environment for legislators to speak one-on-one with facility residents and caregivers who would be directly affected by the proposed funding cuts, Schmidt Public Affairs developed and hosted facility-based news and petition-signing events across the country. An integral component of Driving for Quality Care was the RV, which traveled more than 15,000 miles and visited 40 states throughout the course of the five month campaign.
Through this national grassroots initiative, tens of thousands of letters were sent to members of Congress advocating for the temporary extension of federal Medicaid assistance to the states. The campaign recruited more than 8,500 new advocates to the AHCA/NCAL grassroots network and generated more than 8.5 million media impressions through earned media placements.
On Tuesday, August 11, 2010, just two months into our effort, President Barack Obama signed into law the FMAP extension as part of the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act (H.R. 1586), which provided $16 billion in additional Medicaid funding to states.
Following its initial success, Driving for Quality Care continued to positively influence lawmakers on state and local levels. In September 2010, all 50 states and the District of Columbia sent letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting the additional enhanced Medicaid funding remain available until June 30, 2011. Our efforts were, in part, responsible for the successful passage of this vital legislation. Through this nationwide campaign, AHCA/NCAL was also able to build relationships with lawmakers across the country, helping them to more fully understand the value long term care facilities provide to local communities through skilled care services and needed healthcare jobs.
Schmidt Public Affairs was awarded the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and the International Association for Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quill Award of Merit in 2011 for the Driving for Quality Care campaign.
By the numbers
$550,000 total budget
8.5 million media impressions
85,000 letters sent to lawmakers
8,500 senior care advocates enlisted
$16 billion gained in additional Medicaid funding
11 Nov 2013
13 Nov 2013
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