What journalists need to know about a high-profile patient advocacy group

Patients for Patient Safety USA. Image courtesy of PFPS US

A new patient advocacy group is aggressively pushing Washington policymakers to focus on patient safety.

The group, Patients For Patient Safety US (PFPS US), was founded in June 2021 by 10 veteran advocates who say government and industry have abandoned efforts to make care safer.

Threats like the pandemic, health disparities and the opioid crisis “should not compete with the security of the federal health agenda,” said co-founder Martin Hutley. told the audience at Health Journalism 2023.

Patients for Patient Safety USA is not a household name like Consumers Union (now Consumer Reports), which ran the Safe Patients Project from 2003-2018. These efforts contributed to reforms focused on public reporting and provider accountability, including: landmark events In the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Another difference is that PFPS US says it selectively welcomes affiliations with provider groups, while the Safe Patient Project has eschewed industry input.

It remains to be seen whether The work of PFPS US would achieve lasting policy victories, but it broke ground with the Biden administration and galvanized the patient safety movement, which seemed to be weakening.

Here are a few things to know about the band.

Formation and philosophy

One of the founders, Sue Sheridan, said she was angered by the scant mention of patient safety in the draft strategic plan. National Quality Forum, a large nonprofit membership organization that promotes patient advocacy. He said he has reached out to “lifelong warriors” in patient safety who have noticed similar lapses elsewhere.

They formed a branch of the World Health Organization “Patients for Patient Safety” program, which Hutley and Sheridan had helped develop. The project aims to bring the voice of patients into national policy making and promote cooperation between activists from different countries.

Sheridan told the WHO Global Action Plan for Patient Safety calls for an expanded role for patients and families along with watchdogs the “active participation” of the government, which Owned by the United States National Action Plan no.

Funding and Conflict of Interest

I couldn’t find a list of contributors on the PFPS US website, so I asked Hutley and Sheridan for some information about its policies.

They said that all the founders contributed money to the creation of the group. According to LinkedIn, some founders have relationships with healthcare organizations as consultants or employees.

PFPS US also accepts money on its own partner organizations and individual supporters, Sheridan said. (Sheridan said the group received a donation from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to create the webinar series. The Moore Foundation is also a funder of AHCJ.)

Sheridan said the PFPS US agenda is “patient-driven,” adding that its partner organizations must support its mission and, in the case of private organizations, the WHO Patient Safety Action Plan.

Still, some of his financial backers may be interested in what policies are being implemented and how they are being designed and implemented. PFPS US partners include the MedStar Institute, affiliated with MedStar Health, a Maryland hospital system; the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, founded by medical technology mogul Joe Chiani; and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents pediatricians.

PFPS US’s practices run counter to the Safe Patients Project’s strict conflict-of-interest safeguards, which not accept donations (or even lunch money) from doctors or hospital organizations, said Lisa McGiffert, its former director. McGiffert is now president of another advocacy group, the Patient Safety Action Network, which he says does not take cash for the industry.

Reporters who plan to include PFPS US in a story should inquire about any financial relationships that may present an actual or perceived conflict of interest with respect to the issue they are reporting.

Policy priorities

It was one of the group’s first acts press Secretary Xavier Becerra of the US Department of Health and Human Services place patient safety in their agency’s strategic plan. When they got no answer, Sheridan said, three members of the group published an editorial In Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management.

Pressure tactics could have had an effect. In November, Becera summoned S National Action Alliance to Advance Patient Safety, a public-private partnership between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and large hospital systems. PFPS US was also invited to join the task force President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and speakers were sent to discuss reforms 2023 CMS Quality Conference.

Here are some PFPS USA agenda items:

  • Preparation of communication and resolution programs such as NATIONALstandard of care.
  • Establishing a federal patient safety coordinating organization.
  • Expanding public reporting of security events.
  • Creating a national portal for anyone to report incidents.
  • Adding Patient Safety Questions to CMSs HCAHPS:standardized national consumer survey of hospital care.
  • Eliminating confidentiality agreements in liability calculations.

The group also supports enforcing existing laws to hold provider organizations accountable, Sheridan said. In May 2022 it applied to the RA General Inspector’s Office investigate whether Vanderbilt Medical Center committed Medicare fraud by concealing a patient’s death due to a medication error, and whether CMS and the Tennessee Department of Health responded appropriately.


Reporters can contact PFPS USA Co-Founder Sue Sheridan at 208-867-3479 or ssheridan@pfps.us:.

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