Health care PR: empowering people

The Health Care PR session featured Nancy Hughes, Assisant Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the National Health Council and Paula L. Pedene, APR, Public Affairs Officer for Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

In this session, Hughes and Pedene talked about the new health care bill and its public relations strategies. Hughes said you’re only going to be as good as your leadership.

Pedene works for the VA Health Care System which is the veteran’s health care system. She tries to serve disabled veterans and those making under $20,000 a year. It is the largest health care system in the U.S.

They had a vision for change and said that Congress is the number one thing you are looking at. A prescription for change is how you’re going to be active. Pedene said that when VA Health Care costs went down they became more efficient and were able to provide more health care for veterans. They worked a lot with Capitol Hill for veterans and anytime you have the ability to empower people you do it. They said that health care puts patients first and they wanted to empower the patients so then the patients could take the issue to the Hill.

Both speakers talked about how they wanted to know what patients wanted in a perfect health care system and to never use the “R word” (reform). They said politics is the art of compromise; you have to find that middle line. They said a campaign has to have heart and soul, and that health care is a growing field.

The two also say there are many different ways to get into Health Care and you have to be many things like a generalist; you should know be into web, news releases, everything. No matter where you go you have to write well.

Slides from this presentation can be found here.

Victoria Yu, Conference attendee

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