Planetree Welcomes New Members of the Board of Directors and Designation Committee

Planetree Welcomes New Members of the Board of Directors and Designation Committee

The Planetree Board of Directors is an international group of healthcare executives, patient/family partners and innovative thinkers from a variety of industries who provide strategic direction and oversight of Planetree. In February, Planetree was pleased to welcome three new members to the board: Jim Atty

  • Jim Atty, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of Waverly Health Center, a Planetree Designated Patient-Centered Hospital


  • jason-jonesJason Jones, Vice President of Patient Experience at Laser Spine Institute, a national network of state-of-the-art, outpatient surgery centers that specialize in minimally invasive spine procedures. In 2015, its Philadelphia location was the first ambulatory surgery center in the world to achieve Planetree Designation.
  • anne-rooneyAnne Rooney, a healthcare executive with more than 20 years in global consulting and management, including serving as Vice President of Global Consulting for Joint Commission Resources (JCR) and Joint Commission International (JCI), a not-for-profit and wholly-controlled subsidiary of The Joint Commission, the largest and oldest healthcare accrediting body in the world.

Among the responsibilities of the Planetree Board of Directors is to appoint members to the Planetree Designation Committee, an international group of healthcare executives and practitioners from across the continuum of care, leading experts in healthcare quality and patient and family partners, that oversees Planetree’s activities with respects to the Patient-Centered Designation Program.  To date in 2016, three new committee members have been appointed to serve a three year term:

  • New Board Member, Jim Atty Maria de Pena Nowak
  • Maria De Pena-Nowak, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital-Westchester Division


  • Christina Gunther MurphyChristina Gunther-Murphy, Executive Director at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) overseeing IHI’s Person- and Family-Centered Care Focus Area

Leadership and Empathy

Leadership and Empathy
By Benjamin Zigun, MD, JD, MBA, Chair of Psychiatry, Griffin Hospital, Derby, CT
This article is part two of a two-part series. Part One can be found here.

Benjamin Zigun photoIn Part 1 of this series, we explored the importance of empathy, particularly in regard to the provision of healthcare to patients and by extension to their family members.  We concluded that while there can be circumstances that try our patience, when it comes to interactions with patients and their families, maximal empathy should be encouraged and demonstrated.  In Part 2, we consider the leader’s role in healthcare, how the role has grown more complex, and we focus on the interplay between leadership and empathy.

Qualities of Effective Leaders

Much has been written on defining leadership.  Successful leadership requires the ability to secure and maintain an engaged group of followers who will join the leader in their mission and on the organization’s journey over time.  Great leaders inspire.  They identify gaps or opportunities for improvement, and they bridge those gaps by guiding an organization out of its comfort zone.  Sometimes small changes are needed, and other times there needs to be significant creative destruction.  Great leaders foster cohesive teams and system approaches that bring organizations to the next level.  The Sine Qua Non for leadership may be the ability to connect with and motivate others; these involve the ability to communicate with respect and compassion (which are similar but not identical to empathy).  Without the capacity to motivate, the leader will lose followers (see Figure 1 for a list of qualities of effective leaders). Continue reading “Leadership and Empathy”

Patient and Family Voices Will Resound at 2016 Planetree International Conference on Patient-Centered Care

Patient and Family Voices Will Resound at 2016 Planetree International Conference on Patient-Centered Care

“Ideas can come from anyone and anywhere and can be inspired by any kind of life experience.”  So says President Barack Obama in this clip as he introduces Ramona Pierson, a tech entrepreneur he has hailed as an example of innovation and entrepreneurship.  The life experiences that have inspired Pierson to create a social network dedicated to promoting lifelong learning and connecting knowledge seekers around the world can be traced to her experience as a patient.  She will share how one led to the other as a keynote speaker at the 2016 Planetree International Conference on Patient-Centered Care. 

Ramona Pierson

Pierson will be just one of many patients and family members sharing their stories, their insights and their solutions for creating a more patient-centered healthcare system.

The event will take place in Chicago, Illinois from October 30 through November 2.  In addition to Pierson, patient and caregiver keynote speakers include Alex Sheen, who channeled his grief and memories of his late father into the “because I said I would” social movement and non-profit, and Nancy Frates, whose advocacy for patients with ALS – including her own son – includes creating the ice bucket challenge. Continue reading “Patient and Family Voices Will Resound at 2016 Planetree International Conference on Patient-Centered Care”

Bayhealth Medical Center: Providing Equality in Healthcare to Our Patients

Bayhealth Medical Center: Providing Equality in Healthcare to Our Patients
By Jennifer Dailey, Marketing Specialist

Bayhealth staff recently held a LGBT conference on eldercase issues. The staff members (pictured here) who helped organize the conference were also part of a task force that helped Bayhealth earn a spot on the 2016 Healthcare Equality Index.

Bayhealth Medical Center strives to improve the health status of all members of our community. Located in central Delaware, Bayhealth leadership and staff steadily work to distinguish their facilities as a regional health system that consistently delivers an exceptional patient experience. The organization’s recent recognition as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation aligns perfectly with Bayhealth’s organization and mission.

HRC is the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. The findings were part of HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2016, a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees.

Bayhealth, a 2015 honoree of Planetree’s Bronze Recognition, earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrates its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality healthcare and respect they deserve. Continue reading “Bayhealth Medical Center: Providing Equality in Healthcare to Our Patients”

Partnership in Practice: The Coronado Medical Group

Partnership in Practice: The Coronado Medical Group
Applying Patient-Centered Concepts in the Physician Practice Setting

“By being more personal, we can take better care of populations, and by analyzing our patient population, we identify which individuals we need to engage,” so explains Dr. Kenneth Warm of Coronado Medical Group in California, a four-physician primary care practice serving the Greater San Diego area, which in May 2015 was awarded Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition – the highest level of achievement – by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

What it means to be a patient-centered medical home

What-is-a-Patient-Centered-The Coronado Medical Group team has dedicated itself to establishing a patient-centered medical home that delivers a personalized care experience fueled by strong partnerships between patients and providers, among all members of the care team, and between the office and other community partners, including Planetree Designated Hospital Sharp Coronado Hospital. Indeed, this alignment of a patient-centered approach between the hospital and practice ensures that partnerships established in one setting extend across the patient’s healthcare experience. Continue reading “Partnership in Practice: The Coronado Medical Group”

Casting a Light on the Bright Spots in Healthcare

Casting a Light on the Bright Spots in Healthcare
By Susan Frampton, PhD, President, Planetree

Susan Frampton headshot Oct 2013 med resWelcome to the latest installment of Planetalk. Planetalk was established by Planetree many years ago as a forum for capturing and disseminating stories and exemplary practices in person-centered care. It also serves as a conduit for passing along timely information on public policy, new innovations and industry trends in order to accelerate the adoption of person-centered practices globally. Though the format of the publication has evolved over the years, these goals have remained constant.

At a time when there is no shortage of reading material lamenting the problems faced by our healthcare systems, our vision for Planetalk has long been to cast a light on the “bright spots” in healthcare, documenting through stories and case studies what IS possible, and planting seeds of ideas that will create change within the industry – one system, one team, and one reader at a time.

As you read this month’s installment, I expect you will be inspired by the stories of Ingrid van der Voort and Tory Zellick, a patient and family caregiver respectively, who each drew on their personal healthcare experiences to conceive of person-centered solutions that, today, are helping patients to maintain their dignity during breast exams and treatment, and in Tory’s case, are helping family caregivers to better manage the onslaught of information and details that accompany a loved one’s illness. Ingrid and Tory continue the legacy of Planetree’s founder in using personal challenges with the system as a springboard to create changes with the potential to create a more person-centered healthcare experience for all.

We have made a commitment to feature stories of patients and family members like Ingrid and Tory in every installment of Planetalk to regularly reconnect readers to the human dimension of this work. That’s not the only reason, however. Stories like these are beacons, steering us toward a deeper understanding of what matters most to users of the healthcare system – and clarifying where we need to be putting our time, energy and resources to unlock ways of addressing those priorities.

I also expect you will be encouraged by the work unfolding at New York Presbyterian’s Westchester Division to adjust the Care Partner concept to meet the needs of patients in behavioral health settings, and by Griffin Hospital’s Empathy Task Force, demonstrating that empathy need not be a casualty of providing technically excellent care.   You’ll also learn how music therapy is creating a more healing environment in a hospice, and about an exciting new project Planetree is embarking on with funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to engage patient and family partners in using patient-centered outcomes research.

We will continue to do our part to deliver quality content that inspires and informs, and helps you to bridge the gap between intentions to deliver more person-centered care and action to truly do so. In return, I ask that you not only read these articles (and be sure to check out the archives, too!), but also share them – with your colleagues, with your social media contacts, with your patient and family partners. Engage others in a dialogue, in a solution-finding mission, drawing on what you read. Then, step away from the screen, take action and unlock the power of the written word to drive change!


National University Partners With Planetree, a Global Leader in Patient-Centered Healthcare, to Prepare a New Generation of Health Professionals

National University Partners With Planetree, a Global Leader in Patient-Centered Healthcare, to Prepare a New Generation of Health Professionals
Partnership is first of its kind with an educational institution to infuse curriculum with patient-centered health care principles; Planetree’s approaches are considered the gold standard among organizations worldwide

Planetree, Inc., a mission-based not-for-profit organization that partners with healthcare organizations around the world, and National University, the second-largest private nonprofit university in California, announce the first collaboration of its kind to train a new generation of health professionals in exceptional patient-centered care.

This is Planetree’s first partnership with an academic institution, and it offers a unique opportunity to jointly prepare students in patient-centered care. Patient-centered care emphasizes the active participation of patients and their families in the health care decision process. Planetree, a leader in patient-centered care through an alliance with 700 healthcare organizations and 19 countries, helps organizations develop a cohesive strategy of health care services through patient emotional, psychological, social and physical healing.

Starting this month through the partnership, National University’s School of Health and Human Services will initiate a school-wide process to evaluate areas for integration and alignment with patient-centered care principles.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Planetree to prepare a new generation of health care leaders dedicated to the highest standards of patient centered care,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University and Chancellor of the National University System.  “At National University, we put a top priority on the exceptional student experience through initiatives like this one that address a clear need in the professional marketplace and that allow our graduates to contribute in ways that will have an immediate positive impact on our health care system.” Continue reading “National University Partners With Planetree, a Global Leader in Patient-Centered Healthcare, to Prepare a New Generation of Health Professionals”

Let’s Just Get ‘Er Done: What Do We Need in a Planetree Coordinator?

Let’s Just Get ‘Er Done: What Do We Need in a Planetree Coordinator?
By Margaret Rogan, RD, Planetree Coordinator, VAMC Northport, NY

M Rogan HeadshotYears ago, when I attended my first supervisory training, a brainstorming exercise encouraged participants to identify key traits that managers need to be successful. When the group reached 38 traits, I realized that I only had about 15, most of them inherent!  This could be trouble.  Over the years, I learned that honing inherent skills along with learning how to keep moving forward, are central to success.

When a facility starts to embark on the patient centered care (PCC) journey, it is crucial for senior leadership to select a Planetree Coordinator who is up to the task.  This staff position is key to the mission of true cultural and organizational transformation, and it is worth taking a hard look at what unique skill sets are necessary to “Get ‘Er Done.” Continue reading “Let’s Just Get ‘Er Done: What Do We Need in a Planetree Coordinator?”

Developing a Psychiatry Care Partner Program

Developing a Psychiatry Care Partner Program
By Kathleen Friedman, LCSW-R, CSC; Director, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clinic; Michelle Gabriele, LCSW-R, Social Work Supervisor, Geriatric Clinic; Barbara Waltman, LCSW-R; Director of Social Work
New York-Presbyterian Hospital/ Westchester Division

Care Partner Programs are widely recognized by Planetree and its medical hospital affiliates as the gold standard for involving patients’ families and loved ones in their care, creating a truly patient and family centered experience. When developing a Care Partner Program for psychiatry, the Family Engagement Committee at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division, examined how families are currently involved during the hospitalization and explored how we can adapt the traditional Care Partner Program to benefit our families, patients and Hospital. In particular, we looked at what would make a Care Partner Program in psychiatry different, helpful, and also deliver improved outcomes.

Empowering Families and Caregivers

The emotional and physical toll of being a caregiver to a person with mental illness can be strenuous. Psychiatric disorders are often chronic illnesses, with repeated episodes of dysfunction. This can have a ripple effect on those family members who provide emotional support and encouragement on a daily basis to loved ones who may lack insight into the need for treatment and services. Families may be confronted with episodes of emotional instability, intense anger and rejection directed at them. The rate of burn-out in these families is disproportionately high. We recognized that a primary goal of our psychiatric Care Partner Program needed to be empowering families and caregivers by offering concrete skills, education and encouragement to cope with the impact of psychiatric illness on the family. We also anticipated that by increasing the family’s knowledge, we would be able to help them cope with the stigma that unfortunately continues to be associated with mental illness and that brings additional challenges to caregiving for a person with a mental illness. Continue reading “Developing a Psychiatry Care Partner Program”

Music Therapy in Hospice: A Natural Vehicle for Patient-Centered Care

Music Therapy in Hospice: A Natural Vehicle for Patient-Centered Care
By Laura Kanofsky, Board Certified Music Therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Photo credit: Joan Allen
Photo credit: Joan Allen

Patients on hospice service, their loved ones and the professionals who work with them often experience a need for sources of comfort and avenues of communication that go beyond the pharmacological, verbal, and even the linear. Music Therapy, a professional discipline that was formally established in the U.S. in the 1940’s, but has existed, less formally, since biblical times, is remarkably well-suited to address many of the issues that arise for hospice patients and families.

Music Therapy

“Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”[1] Generally, music therapy aims to restore, maintain or improve mental, physical, emotional or spiritual health.

Music therapists work with an array of clinical populations across the lifespan and in settings ranging from psychiatric and medical to educational, clinic-based and private practice. Whatever the context, there are two constants:

  1. Music therapy always involves three elements: the patient/client, the music therapist and music
  2. The music therapist meets the patient where he/she is. Since a particular pitch, piece or even style of music does not affect everyone the same way, music therapy is not prescriptive in nature. The design and delivery of music therapy is largely determined by each patient’s unique story and set of needs, and occurs in the context of the therapeutic relationship.

Thanks to research using brain imaging of the past 25 or so years, much has been learned about the complex ways music is processed in the brain. This work has revealed new and exciting information, and also has validated what music therapists and others have known for a long time – that music can dramatically enhance functioning in many domains, including verbal and motor abilities, mood and affect, self-awareness, pain perception and a host of psychosocial areas. Continue reading “Music Therapy in Hospice: A Natural Vehicle for Patient-Centered Care”