Posts Tagged ‘Bev Johnson’

Sorry, but I am not accepting new doctors at this time

June 1st, 2013 No comments

This past week, I got an email from my independent doctor saying that she is going to close her practice.  Darn.  I have gone to her for about 10 years and I am pretty settled in.  I only had to get on her case a few times and she was pretty responsive to my ideas and complaints.  I wasn’t a whiner, but I never hesitated to pursue an issue with her.    So, after my July annual exam, I will be shopping for a new doctor.  Fortunately, I will be able to take my time, because generally, I am pretty healthy and I don’t deal with ongoing chronic health problems (well, except for excess weight).

Yesterday I was part of a “patient panel” at the Maine Quality Counts educational session for 75 Patient Centered Medical Homes.  Most of them were brand new to the PCMH brand and ideology. The model for PCMHs  includes Patient and Family Advisory councils for each practice.    This was the 3rd time that MQC has asked me to be part of a panel, so I am getting more comfortable with it as I go along.  3 other brilliant and engaged patients/consumers were also on the panel.  Our moderator was Bev Johnson, CEO of the Institute of Patient and Family Centered Care.  My only discomfort with being part of this panel was that I didn’t feel that I was prepared very well and didn’t really know what was expected of me.  The four of us met with Bev before the panel discussion, and she didn’t tell us what to do.  She gave us a simple format and the rest was up to us.  OK…I can handle that.  Bev is all about Patient Centeredness, and that must be what it is like to be in a practice or Hospital that embraces that concept.  The voice of the patient is wanted and necessary and the patients are  highly respected and honored.  Bev is such a wonderful, gentle teacher and so highly regarded for her work, and I completely understand why.

So, each of us patients introduced ourselves and told our stories of Patient engagement.  I was stunned by the powerful stories of the others on the panel. Amazing really!  When I finished my story about becoming engaged before my hysterectomy for uterine cancer in 2011, I added a little zest.

I told the audience…almost all of them providers…that I was not part of a PCMH, and in fact my independent doctor was shutting down her practice and I wasn’t a patient of anyone.  I said I lived in Bangor, on Pearl St, and that  I was up for bids!!   It was perhaps the lightest moment of the day….and the entire group cracked up.  BUT, surprisingly 2 Bangor PCMH practices bid on me.   That was so funny…   I told them if I chose one of their practices that I would help them with their Patient and Family Advisory council.   The one thing that occurred to me after I got home was that I didn’t make a choice after their bids.  Maybe I should have politely told them  “I’m sorry, but although my doctor is closing her practice, I will not be accepting new doctors at this time”.  Talk about turning the tables!  Patients hear that a lot…”Dr X is not accepting patients at this time”.  I spent 10 years in my previous practice under the care of a very young PA waiting to become a patient of the practice’s doctor.  When that PA told me she was leaving and I would get yet another very young, inexperienced PA, I asked again about becoming a patient of the doctor who co-ran the practice with her husband.  Again, I was told…”she isn’t taking any new patients”.  My arguments about being a patient there for 10 years didn’t pan out, so I found the newer doc….who is now shutting down her practice.

All joking aside, when patients lose their regular doctor for any reason, it is a big deal.  The established relationships, trust and the comfort that comes with a long time provider is gone, and we, the patients, are burdened with the chore of finding someone new.  There is nothing like the trust we put in our regular doctors….just think about it.   We engage with them on our  journey of staying well or attaining wellness. That patient/provider partnership is the key to success.  So, finding a new doc to fill an old doc’s shoes is a daunting proposition.  I will find one, but I will take my time and do some asking around and quality and review checking online.

In the meantime, I will keep those two practices in mind, because they were brave enough and interested enough to actually  bid on ME!!


Institute of Patient and Family Centered Care

April 20th, 2013 1 comment

From April 14 to April 18, I attended the Institute of Patient and Family Centered Care intensive training course.  I was alerted to this conference by my colleague Lisa Freeman.  I was unfamiliar with this approach to healthcare, but I had attended a very nice presentation by Bev Johnson, Director , for the Patient Centered Medical Home practices here in Maine.  She is a brilliant and kind teacher.  She recognizes that Patients and their families must partner  with providers to improve healthcare.   So, I knew that at least Bev’s involvement in this organization would make this training worthwhile.

I have been involved in Patient safety advocacy and activism for over 4 years now.  I belong to and affiliate with different organizations and I attend meetings, conferences, online webinars, phone conference calls, PLUS, I read everything I can get my hands on about Patient Safety.  The solutions are out there to make healthcare safer, better, and cheaper.  I know the problems and the negatives in Healthcare, but I also know that healthcare can be an miraculous cure for what ails you.  I have definite ideas about solutions for problems, but the quandary has always been…How do we get there?

The IPFCC training taught me how.  We include patients and families in every aspect of care, from the primary care office through discharge from the Hospital and into post Hospital care, whether it is in LTC, rehab, or at home.   Partnering WITH patients through out the journey of care is absolutely essential.  Patient and family advisory councils at every level are necessary.   TOs and FORs are removed from conversations regarding patients and families and in their place we put WITH.

I was skeptical.  What exactly is accomplished when providers partner with patients and honor them and their families? These are the measurable improvements that I heard about this week.

1. Reduction in HAIs (my initial reason and primary focus for doing this work!)

2. Reduction of medication and medical errors

3. Reduction of Hospital readmissions

4. Improvement of HCAPS numbers, improved Patient Satisfaction

5. Improvement of Healthcare outcomes.

6. Reductions of costs.

7. Elimination of Visiting Hours.   Family members are partners, not visitors.  Ability of all patients to have a 24 hours bedside advocate.

8. Increased honor and respect of patients and patient dignity.

9. Improved employee satisfaction and improved employee retention.

10. Patient Portals to Electronic Records and how to use them.

11. Addresses all 3 arms of the IHI Triple Aim.

This is the short list.  I heard stories of success, from patients and patient advisers,  and from Hospital administrators, providers and workers.  I learned that this work is not easy, but it is worth every minute of effort.    It is an approach that is inclusive of everyone involved and affected by healthcare  in a collaborative partnership.

Now what?  I plan to tell my colleagues at the Maine Quality Counts Consumer Advisory Council about my training.  I hope to mobilize them and MQC to do a survey of Maine Hospitals and to assess where Maine is at in PFCC. How many Patient and Family Advisory councils do we have in Maine, and are they honored, valued and included in the work of caring for patients?   Then we will go from there.  I has to happen.  I hope that it will happen very soon.  We need the change. We need to do whatever it takes to make patients safer, control costs, and preserve our ability to access care.

Last week I attended the Maine Quality Counts annual conference about achieving the Triple Aim in Maine.  This week I connected some big ole dots on how to do the work.