Ballad Health creates public service communications, materials for rural and community hospitals hard-hit by pandemic

Published 11:25 am Thursday, June 18, 2020

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JOHNSON CITY — Industries working to find a path forward in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic aren’t limited to cruise ships and movie theaters.
The healthcare industry has also experienced significant volume declines in recent months, and guiding patients back to hospitals and doctor’s offices will be a significant undertaking for many providers and health systems.
That’s why Ballad Health has created a public service announcement (PSA)-style campaign materials for rural, not-for-profit and non-profit hospitals and health systems to download and customize — at no charge.
The campaign collateral, which was developed internally at Ballad Health, is available to download at and outlines safety measures being taken by many healthcare facilities, such as enhanced physical distancing measures, increased infection control and new processes and systems to safeguard their patients’ care journeys. The goal of the campaign is to reassure patients most healthcare services are safe, accessible and — above all — important.
“This isn’t about business operations or bottom lines — it’s about the health of our communities and nation,” said Taylor Hamilton, chief consumer officer for Ballad Health. “Since March, scores of people have been delaying their care, or avoiding it completely, largely due to fears about COVID-19. And while it’s important to stay safe and limit exposure to the infection, it’s more important for people to seek care when they need it.”
Ballad Health launched its local campaign, dubbed #SafeWithUs, on Sunday, June 7, across its mass, targeted and social media platforms. The health system plans to extend the campaign until August, changing its creative every two to three weeks to emphasize key areas of focus, including finding/re-establishing a relationship with a primary care provider, recognizing the signs of heart attacks and strokes and maintaining care for chronic conditions.
“The postponement and avoidance of routine and preventive healthcare services can lead to major surgeries, lengthy hospital stays and even death,” said Dr. Clay Runnels, Ballad Health’s chief physician executive. “Additionally, there’s an alarming national trend of parents choosing to delay and deviate from vaccination schedules, which seriously increases the risk of new epidemics of disease like measles and rubella — which presents just as much, or more, of a risk to our communities than COVID-19.”
The creative materials developed for other health systems, designed to be unique and easily distinguishable from Ballad Health’s system-branded campaign, allows for customizable logo placement and contact information. Ballad Health will also refresh its options every two to three weeks, echoing the PSA messaging running in its markets.
“Our communities turned to Ballad Health to be a reliable source of information and reassurance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; and now, as life begins to find its new normal, they will look to us for guidance about how to safely resume their normal healthcare services,” Hamilton said. “Other rural, small and mid-size health systems are also trusted by their audiences to be the authority on which activities and healthcare services are safe right now, but with steeply declining volumes and major financial losses, developing a campaign can be unfeasible.
“That’s why Ballad Health is proud to offer creative, messaging and PSA tactics for these systems. We’re removing barriers to public health awareness, giving a hand up to organizations that need it and improving health for communities throughout the nation.”
Founded in 2018 by the merger of two regional not-for-profit health systems, Ballad Health was created specifically to address the most critical healthcare needs of communities in the Appalachian Highlands region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
In its work to create sustained, meaningful population health improvement, Ballad Health also frequently joins forces with regional and state health departments, physician practices and other community organizations that advance health — and those relationships have further strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, on Friday, June 12, the health system, along with physicians and caregivers from throughout the Appalachian Highlands, hosted a press conference to outline COVID-19 prevention measures and the community’s ongoing need for regular healthcare services. The press conference is available to view and download here.
“Ballad Health strives to be a leader in increasing healthcare access for the communities we’re privileged to serve, and that includes finding a way back to health in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis,” Hamilton said. “Our #SafeWithUs campaign will shine a light forward for our patients and their loved ones, and we hope other systems will join us — so that after this pandemic, we come out stronger and more aware of our healthcare.”
More information about Ballad Health’s COVID-19 prevention and containment measures is available at

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