A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

HCFA Releases Massachusetts Hospital/Clinic Patient and Family Advisory Councils Report

HCFA Releases Massachusetts Hospital/Clinic Patient and Family Advisory Councils Report

May 11, 2015

2015 PFAC report coverHealth Care For All, in partnership with its Massachusetts PFAC Advisory Board, released its 4th annual summary of the efforts of Massachusetts Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs). HCFA was the lead advocate for the 2008 law requiring all Massachusetts hospitals to establish PFACs. The PFAC regulations require all hospitals to write annual PFAC reports outlining their activities over the previous year. All Massachusetts hospitals' 2014 annual reports are posted on the HCFA website. The latest HCFA report summarizes all of these individual reports, giving a snapshot of Massachusetts PFACs' efforts and development.

This year's report highlights a number of impactful PFAC projects, with a focus on those that ar PFAC-initiated (and then implemented in partnership with the hospital), that involve patients and families in the hospital beyond the PFAC itself (eg. serving on hospital committees, serving on hiring committees, acting as co-trainers for staff), and that seek to engage diverse voices from the communities served by the hospital.

Over the past few years we have seen more PFACs become valued partners in improving care in their hospitals and in the communities, but many PFACs are still seen as separate from the rest of the hospital and are not empowered to initiate projects or to become deeply and meaningfully involved in hospital initiatives. A key ingredient to a successful PFAC is real and open support from the hospital leadership. The leadership needs to create a culture where patient and family involvement is a priority and is vital to any decision-making at the institution.  There are hundreds of PFAC volunteers across Massachusetts eager to bring their experiences and their perspectives to improving care. They can only make a difference when they have a true partnership with their hospitals.

On May 12, over 230 of those volunteers from 64 hospitals and health centers will gather in Worcester for the third annual Massachusetts PFAC conference. They will celebrate their accomplishments, share their challenges, and discuss how to work together to further PFACs' development and efforts.

        - Deborah Wachenhiem