Marketing Disciplines
Public Relations, Crisis Communications
Arkansas Health Care Association

MHP/Team SI is a 2021 Silver Anvil Finalist for their Public Relations and crisis communication work with Arkansas Health Care Association.

Situation Analysis

Long-term care facilities have been hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Arkansas Health Care Association (AHCA), the association that represents long-term care facilities in Arkansas, began preparing in February 2020 when the first positive case was confirmed at a Washington state facility. It was a matter of when, rather that if COVID-19 would occur in Arkansas. It was necessary for AHCA to act swiftly to plan safety, prevention and communications protocols. AHCA engaged MHP/Team SI to begin working on a crisis communication strategy. Fortunately for Arkansas, the first COVID-19 positive case did not occur in a long-term care facility until March 2020.



With research showing that long-term care facilities are more often portrayed negatively in the news, a strategy was formulated with the primary goal to control (and limit) the number of negative news stories, as well as mitigate the spread of community misinformation around Arkansas long-term care facilities’ COVID-19 prevention and containment efforts.

Measurable Objectives

Limit negative news coverage

Contain negative news coverage by decreasing negative press to less than 10% of all AHCA stories.

Mitigate the spread of community misinformation

Create a partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and Arkansas Governor’s Office and include AHCA messaging in 100% of state COVID communications efforts.


Objective 01

Limit negative news coverage

AHCA appeared in 569 news stories, either by way of interview or prepared statement, resulting in more than 134 million impressions from March-December. Of those stories, 365 were deemed positive and 98.7% of all news stories with AHCA were deemed positive or neutral and only 1.3% were deemed negative by Cision, far exceeding our objective to limit negative news to 10%.

Objective 02

Mitigate the spread of community misinformation

AHCA appeared alongside the Governor four times during the period the state held weekly COVID-19 press conferences. By forging strong partnerships with the Governor’s office and ADH, AHCA messaging has consistently appeared in state COVID-19 communications efforts, mitigating misinformation.



There has been no shortage of challenges dealing with COVID-19. It has been a continuous struggle to prevent the spread of misinformation, including among media outlets. Human error, combined with a fluid and rapidly changing environment present constant daily challenges. Due to our proactive communication efforts with families and employees, oftentimes when family members are contacted by the media, relatives provide positive feedback on how the facility is handling COVID-19 and emphasize that their loved ones are receiving the highest-quality of care. 


Media Coverage

Strategic executive visibility via proactive media outreach created opportunities to combat misinformation and elevate the client’s brand.

Our proactive media efforts forge long-lasting media relationships. Because of our approach, the media have come to call on AHCA and MHP/Team SI for all long-term care facility information. We helped mitigate negative news coverage.

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