Profiles of Toolkit Users


The profiles below summarize how several organizations have used the Toolkit and provide links to examples of the materials these organizations created. The organizations are grouped into two categories:

Those that have adapted the Communication Materials more extensively:

  • Blue Shield of California
  • CalPERS
  • County of Fresno
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health
  • The Health Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati
  • Memphis Business Group on Health
  • Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation
  • Paramount Agricultural Company
  • Puget South Health Alliance

Those that have used the Communication Materials largely “as is:”

  • California’s Valued Trust (CVT)
  • Community Health Alliance of Humboldt
  • Self-Insured Schools of California (SISC)
  • South Carolina Business Coalition on Health
  • URAC

Contact names are included for some of the organizations. These individuals have agreed to serve as a resource for organizations that have questions about using the Toolkit.

Organizations that adapted the Communication Materials more extensively

Blue Shield of California

An independent member of the Blue Shield Association, Blue Shield of California is a health plan with approximately 3.4 million members.

Blue Shield’s goals for the Toolkit included building trust with their members, making their existing information less overwhelming, and increasing transparency around their efforts to increase quality and decrease costs.

Blue Shield developed an educational program based on the Toolkit called “Cracking the Healthcare Code.” It is designed to help consumers understand quality health care and make health care decisions confidently. The program is delivered by Blue Shield account managers in face-to-face meetings at CalPERS member agencies. Program attendees also receive resource booklets based on the Communication Materials.

To learn more about Blue Shield’s efforts, see: Toolkit User: Blue Shield of California.

Contact: Jessica McCarthy, Director of Federal Employee Program (FEP)
Download Blue Shield’s materials (PDF)


As the nation’s third largest purchaser of health benefits, CalPERS works with more than 2,500 employers in California and provides retirement and health benefits to more than 1.6 million public employees, retirees, and their families.

CalPERS’ communication goals for the Toolkit included responding to concerns about increased cost-sharing for members, promoting better use of their health benefits, stabilizing benefit costs, and improving health care quality.

CalPERS incorporated the Communication Materials into their existing “Be Well, and Well Informed” campaign by creating a series of eight “Health Tips.” CalPERS distributed the Health Tips via their website and developed posters for employers to promote the campaign with employees.

Contact: Brad Pacheco, Chief, Public Affairs
Email: Brad_Pacheco@CalPERS.CA.GOV
View the CalPERS materials

County of Fresno

The County of Fresno is the 10th most populous county in California, insuring approximately 18,000 employees, family members, and retirees.

Fresno’s communication goals included educating employees on good quality health care and encouraging behavior changes to help employees get better quality, more cost-effective care.

The County of Fresno adapted the Communication Materials into a series of 15 one-page “tip” and “question” sheets. These materials were incorporated into their “Fit for Life” campaign and posted on their internal network for employees.

Contact: Paul Nerland, Employee Benefits Manager
Download Fresno’s materials

Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health

The Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health (DFWBGH) is a coalition of Dallas and Fort Worth area employers working with community partners to promote and maintain a health care delivery system that provides quality, accountability, and affordability for employees.

DFWBGH’s goals for the Toolkit included informing and empowering their population in matters related to chronic disease (risks, prevention, diagnosis, and care management), quality health care, and health care decision-making.

DFWBGH incorporated portions of the Communication Materials into a worksite intervention program designed to improve the quality and outcomes of health care for employees.

Contact: Judy Hoffman, DFWBGH Project Manager
Download DFWBGH’s materials

The Health Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati

The Health Collaborative is a regional health care coalition dedicated to applying innovations that can improve health in the community. Programs and projects coordinated by The Collaborative include the Cincinnati MD Resource Center, HealthBridge, and Aligning Forces for Quality.

As part of its efforts to engage employers in supporting employees in making informed decisions and taking responsibility for their health, The Health Collaborative developed an Employer Toolkit that drew heavily on the content of the Communication Toolkit. The Employer Toolkit is designed to help educate employees about:

  • The information available on The Collaborative’s Your Health Matters Web site
  • What quality health care is
  • How to use information about quality health care
  • Where and how to find trustworthy health care information
  • What it means to get the “right amount” of care
  • How to prepare for a health care appointment
  • What to do during a health care appointment
  • Questions to ask about prescriptions, medical tests, test results, treatment options, and surgery
  • Cardiovascular appointments
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Managing health after an appointment

Contact: Judy Hirsh, Director, Consumer Strategy & Programs
View The Collaborative’s Materials

Memphis Business Group on Health

The Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) is a nonprofit organization that brings employers in West Tennessee together to share solutions and provide tools to manage the cost and quality of their health benefits.

MBGH’s adapted materials from the Toolkit to develop “Getting Quality Care,” a customizable toolkit for employers to help their employees answer three questions: (1) What is Quality Care? (2) Does Everyone Get Quality Care? (3) What Can You Do to Get Quality Care? The toolkit includes an implementation guide, customizable communications material (newsletter article, email messages, PowerPoint presentation with speaker’s notes), and employee feedback surveys. The toolkit is designed to be part of the employer’s benefit or worksite wellness communications programs. MBGH trains employers on toolkit implementation and is available to customize material for different markets and to deliver the PowerPoint presentation in the West Tennessee area.

MBGH participates in the Healthy Memphis Common Table’s Aligning Forces for Quality initiative, funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and received technical assistance from AIR through the Common Table to develop their toolkit.

Contact: Cristie Upshaw Travis, CEO

Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation

The Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of health care in Oregon through better information and increased community-wide collaboration.

They have used the Communication Materials to create an interactive website with Tips for Your Care and printable resources to help individuals get good quality health care. Topics from the Toolkit that have been used to develop the tips include: (1) What you can do before, during, and after your medical appointment; (2) How you can get care that works; (3) How to get the right amount of the right kind of care; (4) How you can find trustworthy information on the web; and (5) Getting good quality care in the hospital.  

View the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation website

Paramount Agricultural Company

Paramount Agricultural Company is a large, self-insured agricultural employer with approximately 1,800 employees (across 4 companies) and 3,500 plan members. Paramount’s population is largely bilingual or Spanish-speaking, rural, agricultural (non-desk) workers.

Paramount’s communication goals for the Toolkit were to develop a cohesive health benefits and communication strategy, to learn more about their employee population, and to improve employees’ health literacy.

After evaluating the issues their population was having, including lack of knowledge about their health plan or the health care available to them, Paramount incorporated elements of the Materials into tailored communications about where employees can get care and when those sources of care are most appropriate. The information was delivered via in-person education sessions.

To learn more about Paramount’s efforts, see: Toolkit User: Paramount Agricultural Company.

Contact: Roxanne Wolfe, Health Benefits Administrator

Puget Sound Health Alliance (PHSA)

The Puget Sound Health Alliance is a nonprofit organization where the people who give, get and pay for health care come together to improve health care quality and affordability in a five-county region—King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston Counties—in the state of Washington. The Alliance is one of 16 Alliances in Aligning Forces for Quality Aligning Forces for Quality, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative.

The Alliance’s adapted materials from the Toolkit to develop “Own Your Health,” a campaign to empower consumers to become active participants in their own health and health care. The topics of the campaign include: (1) First things first: Why you should have a primary care provider; (2) Quality health care: Know what it is and make sure you’re getting it; (3) Communication is a two-way street: Tell your doctor what’s going on; and (4) Follow through: Follow your doctor’s advice and take care of yourself.

The Alliance is working with purchasers to customize the materials to ensure that they fit with the purchaser’s own communication strategy and are available to employee populations through their established communications vehicles.

To learn more about the Puget Sound Health Alliance’s efforts, see: Toolkit User: Puget Sound Health Alliance.

Contact: John Gallagher, Director of Communication and Development
View the Alliance’s Materials

Organizations that used the Communication Materials largely “as is”

California’s Valued Trust (CVT)

California’s Valued Trust (CVT) is a self-funded public schools trust specializing in health care benefits for the school community. They cover over 200 school districts with over 136,000 members.

CVT’s communication goal for the Toolkit was to educate members about being wise, engaged consumers who make better use of health benefits. They also wanted to build trust with their members and promote the idea of CVT as a trusted partner.

CVT branded the Communication Materials and used them as part of a communication campaign titled “Be Informed. Be Involved. Know Your Healthcare Choices.” This campaign was designed to encourage members to become more knowledgeable about and actively involved in their health care. CVT distributed the materials via their website and publicized them in newsletters and emails to members.

Contact: Laura Thompson, Director of Marketing and Business Development
View CVT’s materials

Community Health Alliance of Humboldt

The Community Health Alliance of Humboldt – Del Norte, Inc. (CHA) is a network of health care providers, consumers, employers, and community leaders engaged in community-based health planning and advocacy.

CHA used language from the Communication Materials to introduce the quality information available on their website.

View CHA’s website

Self-Insured Schools of California (SISC)

SISC is one of the largest school-focused health care purchasing pools in California, with over 370 educational agencies in 39 counties serving over 235,000 members.

SISC’s communication goals for the Toolkit included educating their members about quality and cost-effective care and encouraging them to adopt an active role in the health care decision-making process.

SISC transformed the Communication Materials into 13 issue briefs that they branded as part of their “Health Smarts” campaign.

View the materials (located under the heading “Resources – Quality Health Care”)

South Carolina Business Coalition on Health

The South Carolina Business Coalition on Health (SCBCH) is a non-profit community organization that aims to improve the quality of health care in South Carolina through collaboration between employers and health care providers.

SCBCH incorporated elements of the Communication Materials into their “South Carolina Hospital Quality Guide.”

Contact: Pam Sawicki, Project Manager
View the Hospital Quality Guide


URAC is an independent, nonprofit organization that aims to promote continuous improvement in the quality and efficiency of health care management through processes of accreditation and education.

URAC branded the Communication Materials and has made them available on their website among other resources for consumers.

Contact: Matthew Kratz
View URAC’s Materials (located at the bottom of the page, under the heading “Healthcare Communication Toolkit for Consumers”)