Issues Management Communication | Health Care
Wixted & Company engaged with a family-owned company specializing in contracted medical billing. When financial irregularities were discovered, an investigation began that ultimately uncovered a scheme perpetrated by a former employee to embezzle company funds. The misappropriation of funds took place over a seven-year period. While both local and federal criminal investigations were completed, the details surrounding the employee and his actions were not widely known, even amongst the company’s staff. Ultimately, an arrest was made and certain aspects of the issue became public knowledge. The internal and external communication around this incident would be critical to maintaining the integrity of the company’s brand and reputation, as well as keeping employees informed and successfully maintaining client relationships.
Wixted & Company led a discovery session, taking a deep dive into the business, understanding the services they provide and the owner’s commitment to their clients. We also explored leadership’s feelings surrounding this incident. Understanding the facts and emotions was key to shaping the message so it was accepted as factual, sincere and authentic.
A strategic communications plan was constructed that addressed all key stakeholders. This included staff, current and former clients, regulators, law enforcement and the media. Wixted & Company framed the message around the company’s dedication to be a trusted partner with their clients and assured their employees they were strong and committed as ever.
A media holding statement was created along with a script for an employee meeting and a written communication to current and former clients. Media training was completed with company leadership, assisting them with message, delivery and responding to questions.
This company was fully prepared for the culmination of the investigation which was the arrest and charging of the former employee, who was employed at another medical billing company in the same community. Once the arrest happened, they successfully:
- Reassured their employees by discussing what had happened and outlining the steps in place to guard against this ever happening again.
- Successfully communicated with current clients, assuring them their accounts were safe, and maintained all contracts.
- Successfully communicated with former clients, explaining what happened and respectfully asking them to consider them as a partner again in the future.
- Successfully maintained the reputation of the company by being factual and empathetic.