New York State Health Foundation

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Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, Inc.

  • Project Title: Patient and Family Advisory Councils: Understanding Their Prevalence and Roles in New York Hospitals
  • Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers
  • Grant Amount: $168,510
  • Date Awarded: January 3, 2017
  • Region: Statewide
  • Region: Outside New York State
  • Website:
  • Grant Status: In Progress


Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) provide an opportunity for patients and families to bring their perspectives to bear on hospital-related decisions (e.g., policies, staffing, communications, and facilities) and governance. However, concerns have been raised that PFACs serve as not much more than window dressing for some hospitals. In response, state and federal agencies have begun initiatives that aim to increase the role of PFACs in reflecting the needs and concerns of patients and families. Despite the growing recognition of PFACs’ need, there is a dearth of information on how many PFACs exist in New York State and how they vary in their composition and roles. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) a grant to address this information gap in New York State.

Under this grant, IPFCC will evaluate the state of PFACs in New York; quantify and qualify the variation that exists; and recommend ways to increase their prevalence and enhance their meaningful use. To guide and inform the project, IPFCC will convene a project advisory committee comprising patient and family advisors and advocacy groups; representatives from hospital trade associations and other hospital leadership; government officials; and local and national PFAC experts. IPFCC will also conduct key informant interviews, site visits, and an online survey of New York State hospitals to assess the prevalence and use of PFACs. A final report will summarize best practices and lessons learned and include illustrative stories. The report will also include a review of innovative practices from other states for developing and sustaining effective PFACs. IPFCC will disseminate the report through its e-newsletter, on its website, at its seminars and conferences, and as part of its consulting and technical assistance activities. Having a New York-specific review of the PFAC landscape will help advance policy and practice in New York, as well as inform other states’ efforts.