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National Patient Advocate Foundation Founder Testifies Before U.S. Senate Health Committee on Methods to Improve Healthcare Quality and Patient Outcomes
Date:1/29/2009

In Invited Testimony, Nancy Davenport-Ennis, National Patient Advocate Foundation President, CEO and Founder, Recommends Variety of Healthcare System Strategies to Enhance Patient Care

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaking on behalf of patients facing access to care challenges in the United States, National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) and Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) President, CEO and Founder Nancy Davenport-Ennis was invited to testify today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on recommended ideas and strategies for improving healthcare quality and patient outcomes during the Committee's "Crossing the Chasm in Health Care Reform" hearing.

In her testimony, Davenport-Ennis pointed to both long- and short-term approaches designed to reduce medical errors, lower the cost of care and improve patient outcomes. These included adjusting national payment policies that currently reimburse for unnecessary and ineffective care, adopting electronic medical records in order to more efficiently coordinate care, providing physicians with trusted independent clinical research to assist them in prescribing treatment protocols, and establishing sound scientific and evidence-based research to guide many clinical diagnoses.

"On behalf of the millions of American patients experiencing less than ideal medical care, as well as grappling with covering the monumental costs of their care, NPAF is extremely honored to be contributing our ideas for enhancing U.S. healthcare to the U.S. Senate Health Committee," said Davenport-Ennis. "Our testimony is grounded in PAF's more than 12 years of documentation across 300,000 closed patient cases reporting the concrete gaps and failures in our current healthcare delivery and financing systems - and as such, NPAF's recommendations today are specifically designed to address these system shortcomings in a practical and meaningful manner that prioritizes the patient's experience."

Davenport-Ennis founded PAF in 1996 when a dear friend of hers was battling breast cancer and her insurance company. Today, PAF provides specialized case management services to more than 45,000 patients each year who are seeking information and assistance for access to care issues resulting from a diagnosis of a chronic, debilitating or life-threatening disease. NPAF is a policy organization based in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to providing the patient's voice in order to improve access to healthcare at the federal and state levels. In addition to her work with NPAF and PAF, Davenport-Ennis is a member of the federally-appointed American Health Information Community (AHIC), charged with advising the Secretary of Health and Human Services on making health information digital and interoperable, and co-chair of the AHIC Consumer Empowerment Working Group.

In her testimony, Davenport-Ennis elaborated on the need for reimbursement reform and direct processes for incenting providers to provide quality care, which will help reduce unnecessary spending as the healthcare system moves away from acute, episodic care needs and towards disease prevention and management. In the near term, she pointed toward increasing the utilization of basic safety checklists before surgical procedures, which can provide enormous benefit to patients by way of improved quality and safety.

Additional recommendations for improving the level of quality care patients receive included:

  • Developing and adhering to quality medical guidelines independently developed by skilled medical professionals and free from conflicts of interest.
  • Increasing collaboration between government and manufacturers to broaden enrollment in clinical trials, enabling researchers to discover new and more effective treatments.
  • Using CER, designed in a manner that is medically sensitive to different patient populations, as a tool for doctors and patients to determine the best course of action for individual patients.

"With all of these strategies, it is vital for all relevant stakeholders -- including patient and consumer groups, as well as representatives from the public and private sectors (such as government, physicians and other healthcare providers, medical specialists, insurers, and manufacturers of drugs and medical devices) -- to be involved in every step of the process," added Davenport-Ennis. "We will not truly move forward in transforming our healthcare system without this close participation from those representing the various facets of U.S. care delivery, and NPAF is proud to be a part of this critical collaboration through today's discussion."

About the Patient Advocate Foundation

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability. PAF's case managers successfully handled more than 10,000 patient cases last year, resulting in extended and improved quality of life, and in some cases, saved lives. For more information, visit www.patientadvocate.org or call toll-free at (800) 532-5274.

About the National Patient Advocate Foundation

National Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization providing the patient voice in improving access to, and reimbursement for, high-quality healthcare through regulatory and legislative reform at the state and federal levels, translating the experience of millions of patients who have been helped by our companion organization, Patient Advocate Foundation. For more information, visit www.npaf.org.


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SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation
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