The EO tags several federal agencies with the responsibility to leverage existing resources to ensure care — for children, elderly, individuals in long-term care facilities and those with disabilities — is affordable and accessible. Further, the EO calls attention to rising care expenditures noting, for instance, childcare prices “growing by approximately 26% and some types of long-term care costs growing by over 40% in the last decade.”
While there are a wide range of tasks outlined throughout the EO, the emphasis on increasing accessibility to high-quality care is evident and builds on the Biden Administration’s prioritization of equity and accessibility.
Agencies charged with executing on the EO would benefit from developing a strategy centered on increasing awareness, maximizing engagement, and measuring outcomes.
An integral part of the high-quality care EO is the emphasis on leveraging new and existing program opportunities to deliver more care services to impacted populations. To successfully execute on their efforts, agencies need to collaborate with states to identify available program options.
For example, the EO mentions encouraging states to increase the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) a program managed by the Department of Health and Human Services that provides “grant funds to states and territories to provide families with financial assistance and related support services.”
Typically, TANF eligibility requires recipients to be low- or very low-income families, who, research shows are more likely to utilize smart phones over other internet-dependent devices. In fact, “27% of adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year are smartphone-only internet users.” This means an outreach plan centered on communicating with them where they are with mobile-friendly methods — like email, SMS and social media — is critical.
Maximize the number of people leveraging available resources
To maximize the number of individuals participating in any government service with enrollment or engagement requirements, it’s important to tailor communications based on the individual’s journey.
For agencies, this means embracing customer experience and facilitating a government interaction with the public that more resembles one they experience in their personal lives. For instance, tailored communications are more likely to result in increased engagement, as 91% of people say they are more likely to engage with companies who “recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations.”
Whether the goal is to increase access to existing services or ensure prospective employees and the existing workforce are receiving relevant notifications, agencies should follow suit and tailor communications similarly. They would also benefit from using clear, concise language in messaging around necessary actions or statuses.
An action item called out in the EO urges promoting transparency to nursing home staffing through “guidance, technical assistance and provider and resident education.” For federal agencies to not only develop the supporting materials to do this but also distribute them to the various impacted care facilities and providers, there is a need for audience segmentation, customized messaging and strategic timing of outreach campaigns.
The same is true for outreach to care service recipients — agency communication plans should be considerate of several factors to align with individuals’ journeys and maximize the desired actions. Has this individual used this service before? Is there an enrollment form they need to fill out? Are there pending deadlines they need to be aware of?
Depending on the answers to questions like this, a targeted outreach plan can ensure the greatest likelihood of an action.
Ensure no one is left behind
Equity is a recurring theme when addressing government-supported high-quality care, for both individual beneficiaries and the providers. According to the EO, “Care workers — disproportionately women of color — are among the lowest-paid in the country and often have to rely on public benefits despite working complex and demanding jobs.”
Due to access barriers like unaffordability, as well as low worker compensation, there is an apparent need to not only identify, communicate and engage the vulnerable communities impacted, but also ensure no one is left behind.
To best do that, agencies need to measure the outreach and enrollment campaign outcomes to identify gaps of who isn’t reached. Using resulting data to precisely target those individuals can create a more continuous outreach program as well as inform budgeting and ensure available resources are adequate to drive deeper impact.
As equity and accessibility continue to guide customer experience initiatives from the current administration, a three-pronged approach should be leveraged by agencies to meet the actions outlined in the high-quality care EO. By increasing public awareness of available care options, maximizing engagement, and measuring outcomes, agencies can best align with the EO and ensure vulnerable populations aren’t left behind.
Angy Peterson is vice president of Granicus Experience Group.