Patients NOT included: National Health Leadership Conference

The following open letter was written by Patient Critical Co-op’s Managing Director PJ Mierau.

It was shared with the National Health Leadership Conference, its sponsors and participants in hopes of continuing this important discussion.

We strongly disagreed with the contention of the conference -that they cannot afford to sponsor patients to participate in their event- however we acknowledge and appreciate the candour, courtesy and honest discussion they shared with us over the last two weeks’ discussion.

UPDATE: At the NHLC2017 conference, following much discussion at the conference and in social media by many patient advocates, a straw poll regarding NHLC2018 resource allocation reversed the previous years’ decision and indicated overwhelming support for making next year’s NHLC conference Patients Included. Thank you to all who advocated for patients: you made a difference!

Greetings to all recipients of this open letter, recently approached the Canadian Health Leadership Conference for comment on their Patient Inclusion strategy.

While we were pleased with the conference’s slogan ‘Value-Based Healthcare: Embracing a Patient and Family-Centered Approach’, we were troubled by the lack of inclusion of patients attendance, which is currently limited to those who can afford the student discount rate of $320 conference fee (plus travel, accommodation and expenses).

When asked if this cost was an undue hardship to expect patients to bear, the Conference Manager stated: “in order to ensure we can deliver the conference successfully we rely on registration revenue and sponsorships to cover the cost of the conference. We do not receive government sponsorship or funding grants… For these reasons, we do not offer complimentary registrations for delegates to attend. The discounted registration fee at the student rate has been discussed with Patients for Patient Safety Canada and was felt to be reasonable.”

Given the conference’s candour and honesty discussing this matter fully, we wish to open it to the wider audience of this open letter in the hopes of fostering better collaboration. We believe -as many of you have also espoused- that our healthcare system’s sustainability, our health industry’s profit and our population’s physical health will benefit from including a diverse patient voice, which policies like this

How does the Canadian Health Leadership Conference expect to meaningfully embrace patients and discuss long term value-based care when a broad cross section of patients are not included? For meaningful collaboration and change, administrators, policy-makers, clinicians and patients must sit at the same table.

To those of you organizations who have included Patients, we encourage you to share your experience with the conference leadership. Let’s stop talking about patients as if it were “a third person word”. There should not be so much talk about what patients need and want without them being present. Reports suggest improved Health, Policy and Fiscal outcomes will improve for all involved by embracing patients at all levels.

To this end, we are encouraging the NHLC conference and you, their sponsors and participants, to review this policy and invite a small number of patients advocating for healthcare to attend this year’s conference, expenses covered by stipend or scholarship.

We are happy to work with you to help sway the conference on this important issue.

PJ Mierau

Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
Twitter @janephilpott
Cecilia Bloxom
Director of Communications,
Canadian Patient Safety Institute

Francine St-Martin
Manager, Conference Services
Canadian College of Health Leaders
Twitter @NHLC2017 ‏

Susan Owen,
Canadian College of Health Leaders Chair
[Personal email listed on College site redacted]

Paul Heinrich
CCHL Ontario Co-Director

Barry Telford, CEO
Brian Kimmett, Healthcare Executive
Twitter @sodexocanada

Michael Marchbank, CEO
Twitter @HealthCareCAN

Elizabeth Martin, Chair

Dr. Terrence Sullivan, Chair
and Inst. of Health Policy, University of Toronto

Omar Ishrak Chairman, CEO
Twitter @MedtronicCEO

Mental Health Commission of Canada
Michael Wilson, Chair
Twitter @MHCC_

BC Patient Safety & Quality Council
Dr. D Douglas Cochrane, Chair
Chair & Provincial Patient Safety & Quality Officer
Twitter @BCPSQC