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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Each of us has had a serious error: Testimony on patient councils for hospitals

Here is the testimony to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services that I delivered this afternoon on the health care law that Gov. Deval Patrick signed on August 15:

Dr. Bigby, Mr. Wilkinson, and Commissioners,

It's very late in the day, and I appreciate your patience in hearing our testimony on Chapter 305.

I'm a member of Health Care for All's Consumer Council. Each of us has had a serious error in our family.

We're very happy with the quality sections of the newly signed law, Chapter 305, and urge you to request a lot of money in your departmental budget for the next fiscal year for monitoring hospitals' reporting of serious events and hospital infections, and encouraging rapid response teams in hospitals.

In the interest of time, I'll focus on hospital patient and family advisory councils. Elsewhere in the country, these councils have greatly raised patients' satisfaction levels. And, since patients are trained on how to care for themselves, fewer need rehospitalization, and fewer come back to the E.R., after leaving the hospital. So there can be big cost savings, too, IF people receive solid training on how to be effective council members. At a few thousand dollars to train a team at each of the 70 hospitals in the state, that comes to a few hundred thousand dollars. That money would be well spent.

Thanks for your consideration.

Advice: Look for opportunities to create and influence laws for patient partnership.

Read another story about testimony on Massachusetts legislation.

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