Consumer Council and HCFA Testify at DPH Hearing on Ch. 305 Quality Regs

Nicola Truppin, Linda Burgess, Ken Farbstein and Deborah Wachenheim

Nicola Truppin, Linda Burgess, Ken Farbstein and Deborah Wachenheim

The Consumer Health Quality Council and Health Care For All gave oral testimony at this morning’s DPH hearing on implementation of portions of Chapter 305. Consumer Council members Nicola Truppin, Ken Farbstein and Linda Burgess, gave testimony on public reporting of infections and Serious Reportable Events (SREs), nonpayment for care needed as a result of a preventable SRE, and the establishment of Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs), and HCFA staff person Deb Wachenheim testified on the creation of rapid response methods that allow for patient or family member activation.

The Consumer Council/HCFA testimony expressed support for the work already underway to report and prevent infections and SREs and excitement about the opportunities for increased patient and family engagement that will be provided through the PFACs and rapid response methods. Much of their testimony centered on the need for consumer education and involvement as these regulations are implemented, and the Consumer Council and HCFA are eager to assist in this effort. (see our fact sheet about the proposed regulations).

Others testifying this morning included the MA Hospital Association, MA Association of Health Plans, Children’s Hospital and the MA Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors. MHA expressed concerns that the “intrusive nature of the proposed regulations on Patient and Family Advisory Councils will circumvent the good works of that hospitals have done.” This is an unfortunate attitude and makes clear why PFACs are needed – to ensure that the voices of patients and family members who rely on a hospital for their own care and the care of their loved ones are valued voices in the hospital.

Hospitals say they need to allow time for “culture change” before PFACs can be established and accepted, but this statement makes us wonder if they ever would be accepted without a mandate. Patient satisfaction surveys, mentioned this morning as a tool through which hospitals can assess concerns about care, just don’t cut it. Hospitals such as Dana Farber have seen just how effective a PFAC can be. We hope that as hospitals in Massachusetts start rolling out the PFACs, they will take them seriously and work closely with them to ensure that they are valued entities.
Deborah Wachenheim

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