Millions of policymakers, Veterans and the public heard the message that the VA’s proposed policy to remove physician anesthesiologists from surgery and replace them with nurses would lower the standard of care and jeopardize Veterans’ lives thanks to ASA’s strategic public relations campaign using traditional and social media.

The campaign, which was coordinated with advocacy efforts, combined proactive messaging, a press conference, digital media tactics and member engagement to help ASA secure more than 90,000 comments to the proposed rule on the Federal Register. A majority of Veterans who commented said “no” to the anesthesia provisions in the proposed rule. Overall, the rule attracted an unprecedented outpouring from the public, a record for VA-related issues as well as a record for the most comments posted to the Federal Register in 2016.

Less than eight hours after hearing that...

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