Why is it important to encourage employee participation in elections and what can hospitals do to urge their employees to vote?


Texas Health Resources, Dallas

JOEL BALLEW
VICE PRESIDENT OF GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

Joel Bellew

Every vote is a voice heard. During these unprecedented times everyone is shifting strategies to ensure safety and well-being, but that does not mean you should abandon your get-out-the-vote efforts. Texas Health Resources’ GOTV strategy aligns with our mission to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve.

In advance of the upcoming Nov. 3 general election, Texas Health’s GOTV efforts strengthen our organization by creating a culture that empowers our employees and consumers to take civic action. We believe that when our employees and consumers learn how elections impact critical health care public policy as well as their work, lives and communities, the more they become invested in taking responsibility for their own health and well-being.

Texas Health is a faith-based, nonprofit health system that cares for more patients in north Texas than any other provider. With more than 23,000 employees and 350 points of access, Texas Health has a responsibility to be a good corporate citizen by promoting non-partisan civic engagement in the upcoming election. In fact, we are providing our employees and consumers with information on the November general election by encouraging them to register to vote; helping them learn where, when and how they can safely cast their vote; and, urging them to research the candidates and issues.

We are using existing resources and leveraging internal communication platforms like e-signs, screen savers, and weekly newsletters, as well as external platforms like our consumer-facing website and social media platforms. Our GOTV efforts not only help get more voters to the polls, they also raise Texas Health’s brand awareness, strengthen existing relationships with our employees and consumers, and open dialogue with our federal, state and local officials.


Doctors Hospital Renaissance, Edinburg

ROBERTO HADDAD
VICE PRESIDENT AND COUNSEL FOR GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND POLICY

Roberto Haddad

Participation in the electoral process is one of the greatest equalizers afforded to an American citizen. Regardless of where one lives, works, studies or worships, every person has the same opportunity to have their voice heard when they exercise their right to vote. It is clear election cycle after election cycle of the importance and attention a region receives when their voter turnout is high.

Given the high volume of employees and visitors a hospital encounters on a daily basis, the efforts a hospital can take to educate and encourage voting participation with their network can make a significant impact in their respective community. Hospitals can be proactive and send out upcoming voting information directly to their employee network informing them of upcoming elections, dates and times of polling locations and sample ballots to help promote voter participation. Hospitals can also work with their respective elections department to host mobile voting sites at their location during early voting and help bring a polling location to their facility to make voting more accessible. Given the dynamics of a health care worker’s extended shift schedules, they may not be able to make it to a permanent polling location during operational hours. Bringing a voting location to them will afford them an opportunity to vote during their break or lunch hour at their facility.

There is so much at stake with outcomes of an election. The more individuals we can get to participate in the electoral process, the better our local, state and federal officials and policies will reflect the makeup of our community.


Texas Hospital Association, Austin

JENNIFER BANDA
VICE PRESIDENT OF ADVOCACY AND PUBLIC POLICY

Jennifer Banda

The Nov. 3 election is quickly approaching. Early voting, which will run from Oct. 13 through Oct. 30, will be here before we know it. In the last presidential election year, only 46.45% of the voting age population in Texas voted. Hospitals statewide employ more than 400,000 health care professionals. What if they all voted?!

The consequences of elections on health care cannot be overstated. The elected officials that win on Nov. 3 will be in Austin and Washington, D.C. making laws and passing budgets that will affect every hospital in Texas, and every patient.

The Texas Hospital Association will provide again this year a comprehensive GOTV campaign toolkit to our member hospitals. We encourage every hospital to encourage its employees to vote. Our GOTV toolkit will include sample CEO to staff emails, sample social media messages and collateral you can personalize. We will send that toolkit out a few weeks before early voting starts. We hope every hospital in Texas will utilize the materials.

THA’s political action committee, HOSPAC, has a board of directors that makes endorsements for the elections. In making those endorsements, the board considers the feedback of hospital leaders across the state and the likelihood that a candidate will engage and work with hospitals on priority health care issues. As you identify candidates to support, we encourage you to look at those endorsements on the THA and HOSPAC websites.

Finally, make it a personal priority to vote. To quote the recently departed Congressman John Lewis: The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society. We must use it.