Using Results Count Skills to Build A Strong Social Safety Net for Kentuckians

Posted April 17, 2021, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Five happy people, all white, standing in front of blue pipe and drape, clapping. One woman stands at a podium, smiling, with a "Kentucky Voices for Health" folder open before her.

Emily Beauregard at podium in Dec. 2019 with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to the right.

In Ken­tucky, a group of advo­cates worked to pre­serve Med­ic­aid access for mil­lions of res­i­dents across the state. One key to their suc­cess? Results Count®, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s unique results-based lead­er­ship approach.

Align­ing Leaders

Results Count is a core com­po­nent of the Children’s Health Lead­er­ship Net­work (CHLN) pro­gram. Fund­ed by three non­prof­its — the Casey Foun­da­tion, the David and Lucile Packard Foun­da­tion and The Atlantic Phil­an­thropies — CHLN strives to help lead­ers build the skills, expe­ri­ences and net­works nec­es­sary to advance child health pol­i­cy and improve child well-being.

The Ken­tucky team, part of a statewide coali­tion called ThriveKY, par­tic­i­pat­ed in CHLN from 2018 to 2019. By the program’s end, they had real­ized a sig­nif­i­cant vic­to­ry: pro­tect­ing Med­ic­aid access with­out work require­ments for 1.4 mil­lion Ken­tuck­ians, includ­ing 551,000 children.

Build­ing a Results Count Skill Set

The Results Count approach and its high action and high align­ment frame­work aid­ed the team’s efforts in a num­ber of ways.

Dustin Pugel, an ana­lyst for the Ken­tucky Cen­ter for Eco­nom­ic Pol­i­cy, found the pow­er map­ping ses­sions par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful. This work involved try­ing to under­stand who the pri­ma­ry movers of an issue are and how to bring in oth­er people.

Emi­ly Beau­re­gard, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Ken­tucky Voic­es for Health, appre­ci­at­ed the ses­sions on tai­lor­ing mes­sages to your audi­ence and clear­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing a desired result. If you frame your sto­ry around impact rather than pol­i­cy lan­guage or data, it’s going to be much more engag­ing,” she explains.

The group also had plen­ty of prac­tice lever­ag­ing data. To bet­ter under­stand how the pro­posed lim­its to Med­ic­aid would affect Ken­tuck­ians in dif­fer­ent areas, the lead­ers parsed out coun­ty-lev­el data. They found that up to 40% of res­i­dents in East­ern Kentucky’s rur­al coun­ties relied on Med­ic­aid. They also not­ed that the pro­posed changes would cause some local hos­pi­tals to close, expand­ing the con­se­quences to even more Kentuckians.

Even­tu­al­ly, the coali­tion mem­bers began to think big­ger — about what they want­ed to achieve as a col­lec­tive force. ThriveKY’s mis­sion has since broad­ened beyond defend­ing Med­ic­aid to focus on build­ing a strong social safe­ty net for all Kentuckians.

ThriveKY’s Next Act

As ThriveKY sets its sights on advo­cat­ing for the basic needs of all Ken­tuck­ians, Beau­re­gard, Pugel and oth­er coali­tion mem­bers will con­tin­ue putting their Results Count skills to work. As they pur­sue racial equi­ty in chil­dren’s health, they are also build­ing a more diverse coali­tion and reach­ing out to com­mu­ni­ty groups, health cen­ters, hous­ing pro­grams and the Urban League.

The Ken­tucky team has used every advo­ca­cy strat­e­gy — admin­is­tra­tive, leg­isla­tive and judi­cial — to advance the health and well-being of chil­dren and fam­i­lies,” said Jann Jack­son, a senior asso­ciate with the Casey Foun­da­tion. Their expe­ri­ence is a pow­er­ful exam­ple of work­ing across mul­ti­ple state admin­is­tra­tions and fac­ing both obsta­cles and oppor­tu­ni­ties to achieve results.”

Meet the 2020 – 21 class of the Children’s Health Lead­er­ship Network

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