CMS Leaders and Patients Agree: Put People at the Center of Care

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CMS Quality Conference 2015 Wednesday Recap

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference kicked off its second day in Baltimore, Maryland on Dec. 2, 2015, by concentrating on the increasingly important role people play in the health care system and urging attendees to consider patients’ unique voices at every step of the care continuum.

After setting the tone with MedStar Health’s theatrical video, Please See Me, which explores the powerful and complex relationship between providers and patients, Jean Moody-Williams, RN, MPP, Deputy Director of CMS' Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ), took the stage to explore this new person-centered approach to care.

We’re all people … and at some point [in our lives] we are potential patients or patients, consumers, family representatives or caregivers – it’s going to vary at any given time which role you are going to play,” Moody-Williams said about each member of the audience’s connection to the health care system.

Jeneen Iwugo, Deputy Director of CCSQ's Quality Improvement and Innovation Group (QIIG) at CMS, then shared her passion for the work that she does in connecting patients and their loved ones with providers and decision-makers within the health care system. Iwugo was appointed by Moody-Williams to lead the affinity group for Patient and Family Engagement - one of 15 affinity groups under the CMS Quality Strategy – due to Iwugo’s desire to make lasting improvements with the help of the people to whom that change means the most.

One of those people, honorary guest speaker Maggie Carey, Chair of the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Forum's Kidney Patient Advisory Council, compared entering the patient world to stepping into Oz. It changed her perspective on the system, she said, and allowed her to feel like she could make a significant change by providing perspective to the providers who make decisions that greatly impact her, her family and other patients’ lives.

We’re all people … and at some point [in our lives] we are potential patients or patients, consumers, family representatives or caregivers – it’s going to vary at any given time which role you are going to play.” 

As part of a unique panel of patients and patient advocates, Jesse Soriano, a retired teacher, appealed to the theme of the overall conference – Building Partnerships. Delivering Results. – with his request to treat the patient-provider relationship as just that – a partnership. In order to truly help the system, he said, providers and patients must understand and have a mutual respect for one another.

After the plenary, Carey captured the spirit of the morning, telling QIO News, “[Patients] are an incredible resource for everyone to use, so tap into us!”