Launching (and Sustaining) a Team Newsletter to Support Access Center Employee Engagement and Morale

By Matthew Shore, CHFP, Project Manager I, Organizational Excellence

I’m sure it’s no secret to Patient Access Collaborative members that employee engagement and morale are very important in our industry. Engaged employees are happier, more loyal, more productive, and more devoted to the organization’s mission. It is for these reasons that I launched a team newsletter for the access center at Montefiore Health System.

In planning the newsletter, it was very important to me that the initiative would be sustainable. I wanted to ensure that the newsletter achieved its purpose of engaging our associates without being too cumbersome to maintain so that it could last indefinitely and did not get overshadowed by competing priorities. Therefore, in my pitch to leadership about this idea, I proposed a quarterly cadence for publication of the newsletter.

Naming the newsletter:

Firstly, we needed to name our newsletter. We decided to involve the team in this process. We gave all of our associates an opportunity to submit potential names for the team newsletter, and boy did they deliver – We received 27 name suggestions! A committee consisting of access center leadership reviewed the suggestions and was charged with selecting a name that encompasses all of our teams, which was no easy feat because our department consists of the Patient Access Center, Organizational Excellence team, Digital Transformation Office, and Faculty Practice Group Training team. The name selected for our newsletter was The T-Town Times (for context, T-Town stands for Tarrytown which is the town in which our physical office is located). This name coincidentally was submitted by our Senior Director, Greg Lewin. Thank you, again, Greg!


I desired for our newsletter to provide (1) an opportunity for supervisors and managers to recognize their direct reports, (2) inspirational nuggets, (3) helpful resources, and (4) a chuckle. Here is more information about these sections, plus two additional sections we added following feedback we received after the first few newsletters were published:

  1. Employee Recognition: To spotlight employees who go above and beyond their normal duties, I created a section called “Squad Superstars”. To operationalize this, I asked all supervisors and managers to keep an eye out for such superstars each quarter. Then, towards the quarter the supervisors and managers would send me their nominations consisting of the superstars’ names as well as a few sentences explaining how they went above and beyond during the quarter. I would review the nominations with leadership and we would select 3-4 associates to spotlight in each newsletter. We also included the 3 Patient Access Center teams who won the gold, silver, and bronze Quality Awards for the first two months of the quarter (we left out the last month in accordance with a 30-day grace period for score disputes policy agreed upon by our Operations and Quality teams).

  2. Inspiring Employees: I included an inspirational “quote of the quarter” in each newsletter which I curated from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ “Virtual Hope Box” mobile app.

  3. Helpful Resources: I featured a wellness tip in each newsletter which I selected from a bank I compiled using the daily fitness & wellness emails sent by our on-site fitness center.

  4. National “Blank” Month and Cartoon Corner: after we announced the newsletter initiative to the team, one of our level 3 Customer Service Liaisons, Judy, reached out to me expressing interest in contributing to the newsletter. I enthusiastically said yes, welcoming all hands to help grow this initiative. Judy’s contributions include submitting an article about how the month in which the newsletter is distributed is “National ___ Month” as well as a cartoon related to that topic.

  5. In Our Community:  another suggestion that came in after we announced this initiative was from one of our Operations Supervisors, Tammi. Tammi explained to me that when the team was fully in person (which was before I joined the organization), employees had a chance to share with coworkers exciting news that was happening in their personal lives, but since our team became mostly virtual there have naturally been limited opportunities for this. Working together, Tammi and I created an “In Our Community” section of the newsletter as a space for employees to #humblebrag about their work anniversaries, school graduations for themselves or relatives, marriages, births in the family, or other exciting news.

  6. Peer-to-Peer Recognition:after the first newsletter came out in April 2022 (for Q1 recognition), employees shared in our Forging the Ideal Workplace committee that they would like an opportunity to acknowledge helpful colleagues. So, I added to the newsletter a section called “Squad Shoutouts” which features the shoutouts submitted by associates to their coworkers for providing assistance or otherwise being an exemplary coworker during the quarter.

Response from Employees:

The response received from our employees on the newsletters published so far has been positive. As one of our Customer Service Liaisons put it in response to our Q2 newsletter, “it is nice that this is done for us”.

If you would like to see one of our past newsletters as a proof of concept, kindly email me at [email protected] and I would be happy to share. I hope this information inspires you to engage and recognize your associates with a team newsletter if you do not already have one. If you have any questions, I welcome you to email me at [email protected].  Keep up the great work you do on a daily basis to help patients obtain the healthcare they need, and stay well!
Share this post:

Comments on "Launching (and Sustaining) a Team Newsletter to Support Access Center Employee Engagement and Morale"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment