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May 13, 2016

NPAF to Amplify the Patients Voice in the Value- Based Healthcare Reform Movement

2016-05-13 | May 13, 2016

Hires Two New Senior Executives to Promote Patient-Centered Advocacy and Policy

Washington, DC; May 9, 2016 –The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) , a national non-profit organization providing the patient’s voice for two decades in policy efforts that improve access and affordability in healthcare, recently announced significant additions to its senior executive team to drive a patient-centered policy agenda on healthcare quality and value at a time when a dramatic shift from “volume to value” is transforming the U.S. health system. Building on the organization’s 20-year track record of patient advocacy, NPAF aims to ensure that new models for quality care improvement and payment align with the needs of low-income patients and families coping with chronic, life-threatening and debilitating diseases.

Rebecca Kirch, JD, will lead the Washington Office as Executive Vice President for Healthcare Quality and Value. Formerly the Director of Quality of Life & Survivorship at the American Cancer Society (ACS), Ms. Kirch brings 16 years of policy expertise in promoting person-centered, goal-directed care and communication that reflects the priorities and preferences of seriously ill adults and children.

Earlier she served in numerous other roles at the Society’s advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) including Associate Director of Policy and Deputy Director of its federal lobbying team. Ms. Kirch has won several awards for her policy leadership including the Center to Advance Palliative Care’s Innovation Award and the American Academy of Pain Management’s Legislative Policy and Advocacy Award.

Additionally, as previously announced in March, NPAF appointed Gwen Darien as Executive Vice President for Patient Advocacy to lead a newly created Patient Advocacy Department within NPAF that will expand advocacy efforts to promote access to quality affordable health services and novel treatments. Bringing nearly 20 years of experience in biomedical research, health advocacy and patient education, Ms. Darien served as Executive Vice President, Programs and Services at the Cancer Support Community, directed the American Association for Cancer Research Survivor and Patient Advocacy Program, and was founding editor-in-chief of two award-winning publications for people affected by cancer – CR and MAMM magazines.

One of Ms. Darien’s goals will be to link the Patient Advocate Foundation’s (PAF) patient service programs to NPAF’s advocacy efforts, especially to reflect the real-world struggles of patients as they navigate the complex financial and logistical waters of healthcare.

“NPAF will continue to pursue its robust federal and state agenda on issues like medical debt, transportation, out-of-pocket costs, insurance utilization issues and Medicaid expansion. However, meaningful consumer engagement in the discourse about healthcare value and system reform is imperative and its time has come,” said Alan Balch, CEO of NPAF and PAF. “With Kirch, Darien, and other key leaders in place, we’re better positioned to develop policies that will empower patients and their families to advocate for care that truly matters to them.”

Advancing Patient-Centered Solutions to Value-Based Healthcare Recognizing that concepts like patient-centered care, patient-reported outcomes and shared decision making can serve as central organizing principles for designing new models for payment and delivery that reflect the coming wave of precision medicines, NPAF and PAF are leading or involved with a number of initiatives designed to promote value, quality, and innovation in healthcare: ·

The Roadmap to Consumer Clarity – a PAF program supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a patient-centered framework that identifies the changes needed to equip consumers with the information and ability to make high-value healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.

The Consumer-Based Cancer Care Value Index (CCCVI) – a patient satisfaction survey developed by NPAF in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, the American Institutes for Research and a distinguished panel of experts that is now being distributed by PAF via an on-line platform that gives organizations free use of a validated survey tool to measure the value patients place on the different aspects of their clinical care experience and how often patients receive care consistent with their values. ·

Project Innovation – an education campaign at PAF with an advocacy arm, the Cancer Innovation Coalition, housed at NPAF that has been focused on the recent wave of value frameworks and decision support tools that are likely to play an important role in shaping the future of targeted oncology treatments.

Lisa Hughes, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Projects, manages both of these important initiatives and will work closely with Kirch and Darien in their new roles.

Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN) Guidance Committee— NPAF serves on this leadership body for the LAN that was established in 2015 by HHS to provide a forum for public-private partnerships to help the U.S. healthcare payment system meet or exceed recently established Medicare goals for value-based payments and alternative payment models.

“I am very excited to join the National Patient Advocate Foundation to help bring the patient voice and perspective to patient advocacy and, in turn to transform individual encounters with our healthcare system,” said Ms. Darien. “By bringing the power and knowledge of the Patient Advocate Foundation’s patient services programs to NPAF’s advocacy and policy initiatives,” Ms. Darien continued, “we can help achieve truly patient-centered, quality and accessible healthcare.”

“I’m joining NPAF’s executive team at a true inflection point for health care delivery reform, when patients, providers, innovators, and payers can join forces to realize the potential of providing person-centered quality care for all adults, children and adolescents confronting serious health conditions,” said Ms. Kirch. “By working as a team to build and launch an aggressive quality and value and value policy platform, we have a chance to profoundly influence today’s health care reform efforts.”