The Betsy Lehman Center is now serving as a central hub for information about Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) in Massachusetts, including collecting and sharing annual reports on each council’s activities and accomplishments.
In years past, Health Care for All (HCFA), a nonprofit organization that helped the state become the first in the nation to require its hospitals to form and sustain PFACs, has facilitated information-sharing and provided other supports for these organizations.
As of this fall, the Betsy Lehman Center has assumed responsibility for collecting and sharing PFAC annual reports. At the same time, the Center has convened an advisory group to strategize about ways to best support PFACs going forward as they strive to contribute to safe, quality care that is responsive to the needs of patients and families in their communities.
Hospital PFACs can still submit annual reports for 2023
Department of Public Health regulations require licensed hospitals to produce an annual report of PFAC activities by October 1 of each year and to ensure that it is publicly available. With input from stakeholders, HCFA developed a reporting template that most hospitals found helpful for completing their annual report and is still in use today. Download an updated copy of the template for 2023 here and submit completed forms to the new email address at PFAC@BetsyLehmanCenterMA.gov.
Because the handoff between HCFA and the Betsy Lehman Center was delayed until late September, many hospitals expressed concern about meeting the October 1 annual report filing deadline this year. The Center asks hospitals that have not already done so to kindly submit completed forms as soon as is practical. Copies of all annual reports submitted to the Center will be available on its website in early November.
“We are very pleased to serve as a new home where PFAC members can ‘gather.’ We know that PFACs would not be a success without the time and dedication of so many and we look forward to contributing to these efforts,” says Barbara Fain, Executive Director of the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety. “PFACs represent one of the many unique ways in which people from Massachusetts work together to innovate and improve.”
Fain notes that the impetus for a renewed focus on the role of PFACs came from the Massachusetts Health Care Safety and Quality Consortium’s strategic vision for improving safety in health care settings across the state, the Roadmap to Health Care Safety, published earlier this year.
Collecting and sharing annual reports is just one aspect of the Center’s commitment to contributing to the success of PFACs, she adds.
An advisory group of current and former PFAC members convened by the Center held its first meeting on October 2. The group will meet over the next several months and is charged with making recommendations on ways in which the Center can support PFACs in their work, such as developing tools and hosting webinars and conferences. The group will also consider other programmatic or policy approaches to bolstering the capacity of the councils to contribute to safe, high quality and responsive care delivered by hospitals in the state.
When available, recommendations from the advisory group will be shared for additional input via the Center’s website, likely early in 2024.
In addition to DPH regulations regarding PFACs, MassHealth requires accountable care organizations to engage PFACs on behalf of MassHealth members, and the Betsy Lehman Center seeks to engage ACO PFACs in this effort as well.