Challenges, Opportunities in a Virtual Session

Oct 19, 2020

With just three months to the start of the 2021 legislative session in Annapolis, we’ll need to adapt to yet another new challenge brought on by the coronavirus: communicating with lawmakers remotely.

The General Assembly’s upcoming virtual session means delegates and senators will see few, if any, advocates in person. They’ll also be inundated with texts, calls, emails, and online meetings.

At the same time, legislative leaders plan to limit action to a select few priorities, such as police reform and the state’s fiscal challenges.

The abrupt shift to online hearings and decision-making earlier this year in Annapolis offers insight into what we can expect. With those lessons in mind, MHA is preparing to make our case differently.

On Thursday, MHA hosted your government affairs and public relations leads to discuss the challenges of a virtual session and the need to communicate early, often, succinctly, and visually.

Our primary focus will be to tell your COVID story to remind legislators how you are Caring for Maryland. The lifesaving work our hospitals and health systems are doing has earned our industry tremendous goodwill during this time of crisis. We plan to leverage the favorable sentiments with your help.

The most powerful messengers we have are the people who are closest to the care—our state’s dedicated hospital workers and the patients and community members they have healed and inspired.

We’ll partner with your hospitals to use grassroots techniques. We’ll maximize social media, digital communication, and videos. Plus, we’ll use messages of hope and healing as we advocate for our priorities and fend off unjustified attacks on our organizations, workforces, and patients.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO