ProCure Proton Therapy Center - Case Study - Saxum

WorkProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City

Challenge

Proton therapy is a very precise form of radiation treatment for many types of cancer. Insurance companies in Oklahoma began to hold proton therapy to a higher standard of clinical efficacy than other types of radiation treatment to receive insurance coverage. When this happened, ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City spearheaded a legislative effort to combat the injustice that affected thousands of Oklahoma cancer patients.

As a long-term partner, Saxum was tasked with securing earned media and developing key messages throughout legislative session to activate the public and encourage state legislators to support the bill. We were also asked to assist with coalition building and providing tools and training for patient advocates.

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Strategy

We worked closely with the ProCure team and lobbyist to develop and execute a media relations strategy targeting key legislators at every milestone of the process. We crafted messages that educated the public on the benefits of proton therapy while building support and calling advocates across the state to contact their legislator and ask them to vote in favor of the bill. As the bill moved through the legislative process and opposition arose, Saxum evaluated the messages and adapted to best serve our objectives.

Our media outreach extended statewide. To kick off the legislative session, we held a press conference with the House bill author and cancer survivors who were treated with proton therapy. At every legislative milestone, we conducted message training for patient and physician spokespersons, drafted and distributed news updates and coordinated interviews to media outlets.

We matched cancer survivors who wanted to speak in support of the bill with key legislators. Saxum worked with each survivor to write and submit custom opinion editorials explaining their personal experience with proton therapy and the need for the bill. The op-eds appeared in the patients’ local hometown newspapers located in key legislative districts. Additionally, we worked with the Oklahoma Nurses Association to draft and send statewide an opinion editorial in support of the bill.

Results

The bill was unanimously approved by the House, 97-0, and the Senate approved the bill with a 36-9 vote without any amendments. Three days after arriving on her desk, Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law.

Every Oklahoma City broadcast station and major print outlet in the state covered the bill, and Saxum secured 13 custom opinion editorials in rural and urban print outlets around the state. Saxum consistently offered new spokespersons throughout legislative session, which resulted in the Associated Press filing unique stories at every milestone, including the House Insurance Committee hearing, House floor vote, Senate Insurance Committee hearing and Senate floor vote. The media relations efforts resulted in 286 media placements with nearly 186.2 million impressions.

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