A new law is making it easier for Veterans to understand and access community care programs and services. Among other changes, the VA Mission Act of 2018 treats Veteran community care as a single topic and service to Veterans. The act calls for simplified, Veteran-centric communications about the vision for community care, avoiding references to confusing laws, programs, office titles and acronyms.
- Digital event support
- Reporting and analytics
- Social media strategy
- Stakeholder engagement
- Web content development
VA leadership needs seamless, error-free communications that engage Veterans in this structural reinvention. Doing so requires Aptive to first engage with Veterans and other stakeholders on their critical information needs and translate these findings into actionable plans and communications. We must reveal and address information gaps, recommend ways to improve communications and create a strategy and materials to convey targeted information to Veterans — all in one year.
Starting in early 2019, Aptive launched a phased program to implement the Mission Act that includes the following components:
Planning – We first organized information into four simple topic categories: eligibility, appointments, getting care, and costs and billing. Then we developed consistent standards for materials related to those issues.
Strategy – We are conducting stakeholder interviews to inform the development of a communications strategy and messaging. Initial communications (e.g., monthly updates via blog articles, handouts, weekly office hours and question-and-answer sessions) are engaging audiences about the latest developments and operational preparations. New communications toolkits will provide more comprehensive, user-friendly public announcements to key audiences and partners. Community care program training events are planned.
Marketing and advertising – Additional materials will prepare the field to adopt the new communications strategy and educate Veterans and local audiences about community care benefits and services. Communications — call center scripts, digital events, fact sheets, newsletters, print materials, social media, website content and videos — will be rolled out, monitored and tracked to assess effectiveness and adjust as needed.
Partner engagements – Outreach to intermediaries that serve Veterans and oversee community care is critical. Communications are paired with engagement of Veterans service organizations (VSOs), community providers, congressional offices, national community provider networks, third-party administrators and others to distribute information and materials and raise awareness among the Veterans and their families who use these services.
Progress to date
- Clearer communications – Communications are being simplified and reoriented through the prism of Veterans’ needs and requirements.
- Better services – By putting the “community” back into Veterans’ care, customer service is now more responsive to Veterans.
- Renewed platform for change – The new strategic communications plan provides a framework for more seamless implementation of the remaining elements of the VA Mission Act.
- Single pane of glass for progress reporting – on-demand dashboards provide a unified view of progress against milestones and performance against key performance indicators