LOS ANGELES: Tenet Healthcare is now focusing its communications efforts on rebuilding reputation at the local level rather than the national front as it continues to weather bad press from various ongoing scandals, said Harry Anderson, Tenet VP of corporate communications.
Anderson explained the local strategy while speaking on a panel at a recent symposium at the USC Annenberg School for Communications.
Anderson said that since the healthcare company began dealing with a series of crises, management has adopted a culture of "humility" and "responsiveness."
"Truth and transparency is A-number-one," he told the audience at the symposium, entitled "Restoring the Pubic Trust in Times of Crisis: What's Working, What's Failed."
Anderson said he also has spent time "talking off deadline" with national reporters at such publications as The Wall Street Journal and Forbes as a way to reach journalists in a less-pressurized setting where his messages might have a better chance of being heard.
"It has worked and paid huge dividends," he said of the strategy.
Internal communications also have been a priority but one with a number of challenges because Tenet's medical staff works 24/7 and is rarely in a central location. To reach that active group, Anderson said that management has devised creative strategies, such as leaving voicemail messages from the CEO and showing broadcast messages in areas like employee break rooms and changing areas.
Santa Barbara, CA-based Tenet has been the focus of numerous investigations. It recently agreed to pay nearly $31 million to settle inquiries into employment contracts and Medicare issues, and faced allegations last year that one of its Northern California hospitals was performing unnecessary surgeries.