PFAC Members Gather for HCFA’s Annual Conference
Over 200 Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) members from across Massachusetts gathered at the College of the Holy Cross conference center on Tuesday for a full day of learning and networking. With 64 hospitals and clinics represented at the conference, attendees came from as close by as Worcester and as far away as Nantucket and the Berkshires. Many of them took time off from work or from family responsibilities for the opportunity to learn from one another and from other experts in the field.
Jim Conway of the Harvard School of Public Health kicked off the day with an inspiring keynote address. Jim has a long history working in and promoting patient safety, quality improvement, and patient- and family-centered care. He was at Dana-Farber when it established its first PFAC and he has advocated for patient/family/community engagement through his work at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and elsewhere. Jim is a true believer in the power of the patient and family voice in improving health care.
Participants had a choice of 12 breakout sessions throughout the day, with topics ranging from recruitment and goal-setting to mental health care, end-of-life care, and patient safety. All sessions ended with participants completing “Taking Action” forms so that they could think about what they learned and what their next steps would be toward implementation, including bringing the information back to their PFACs.
At lunch, attendees saw a recorded message from EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders thanking them for their dedication and reminding them of the importance of their work for all health care consumers in Massachusetts. We had the opportunity to thank former Senator Richard T. Moore and Representative Denise Provost for their leadership in passing the Massachusetts PFAC mandate in 2008. Frank Saba, CEO of Milford Regional Medical Center, and Jo-Ann Morgan, co-chair of the Milford PFAC, presented an award to Senator Moore. Mary Cassesso, President of the Cambridge Health Alliance Foundation and Chief Community Officer at CHA, and Barbara August, co-chair of the CHA PFAC, presented an award to Rep. Provost.
Kevin Dow and Barbara Williams, members of the Massachusetts PFAC Advisory Board (coordinated by HCFA), spoke about the Board and its agenda. The agenda will guide the Board’s work for the coming year and also gives broad goals to which all PFACs should aspire:
- All PFACs must take the lead on their own initiatives and/or be deeply involved in an existing hospital initiative;
- All PFACs must be involved in the hospital beyond the PFAC itself (eg. staff trainings, hospital committees, and more);
- All PFACs must be representative of the communities served by the hospital.
We welcome PFAC members to join the Advisory Board as it engages in this work over the coming year. Please contact Margo Michaels at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
PFAC members who attended the conference were excited to learn from one another during breakout sessions, by viewing posters that 24 PFACs created and had on display during the conference, and by networking throughout the day. Attendees left the conference energized and inspired to strengthen their PFACs and become true partners with their hospitals and clinics in improving care for their communities.