Communications & Public Health

Baystate Health became a sought-after source for information and reassurance during the pandemic.

Details about the transmission of the virus, its impact in western Massachusetts, approaches to care for patients infected and protection for their close contacts were in great demand. Coordinating an effective response to contain the spread of infection involved not only community education and outreach, but also coordination with other healthcare providers across the continuum of care, collaboration between BH and other providers, convening thought leaders from government, community, and industry, and communicating broadly about the daily work done by BH’s own group of healthcare heroes. The efforts were coordinated by staff in Marketing & Communications, Government and Community Relations, and the Baystate Health Foundation.

Photo by Don Treeger / The Republican

Other activities related to Communications and Public Health included:

  • BH was the leader in the community for information on COVID-19. There have been over 1,413 items in the media from BH related to the pandemic, including 210 from CEO Mark Keroack, MD, and 87 from Andrew Artenstein, MD, Chief Physician Executive. (Click here for the Newsroom)

  • Stories related to BH earned 57 national placements by outlets which included CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Washington Times, L.A. Times, Associated Press, Huffington Post, U.S. News, and Bloomberg International.

  • Internal communications centered on the COVID Daily Briefing which was emailed to all employees. There have been over 130 issues to date. The COVID section of the HUB, the BH intranet, has had over 500,000 views. This became a reliable source of truth regarding disease activity and guidelines for clinical care across the system.

  • Over 100 COVID related stories of individual workers, with 50 placed on social media. These received over 550,000 views and told the emotional stories of BH workers stepping up to the challenges of the pandemic. These stories were supplemented by the “Heartfelt Thank You” campaign both internally and externally to honor frontline caregivers.

Town Hall
  • Redesign of the BH Homepage as a go-to source for public health information for the broader community. The COVID section of received over 252,600 page views and included information on prevention and safety, testing and treatment, and COVID vaccines. More than 100 articles were also published on a variety of topics as part of the effort to inform and guide the public.

  • Regular calls of all western Massachusetts healthcare CEOs organized by BH to manage surge capacity and coordinate policy thinking to arrive at well considered and consistent approaches to areas such as testing and visitation.

  • Regular calls with the western Massachusetts legislative delegation and with the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force to give input on Executive Orders, legislation, and policies regarding the pandemic.

  • Input on ethical guidelines for the allocation of scarce resources for patients with COVID-19. Dr. Peter DePergola, II, BH’s Clinical Bioethicist and the only individual in this role in western MA, also served on the Governor’s Task Force that authored statewide guidance.

  • Selection of CEO Mark Keroack to represent the healthcare delivery sector on Governor Baker’s 17-member multidisciplinary Reopening Advisory Board. The group crafted the reopening plan for the state based on 70 separate listening sessions in April and May.

covid 19 virus animation