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Nonprofit Tosses Fancy Banquet Tables in Favor of Speaker Soapboxes

A Boston nonprofit is ditching the fancy banquet tables in favor of soapboxes Tuesday night in an event that will focus on patient-centered care. (National Institutes of Health)
A Boston nonprofit is ditching the fancy banquet tables in favor of soapboxes Tuesday night in an event that will focus on patient-centered care. (National Institutes of Health)
May 2, 2016

BOSTON - Forget the banquet table with expensive flowers and a fancy meal. A major Boston nonprofit is replacing that with soapboxes for speakers to stand on for what they expect will be a wide-ranging conversation about patient-centered care.

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director for Health Care For All, says her group examined how much time and money was being poured into their traditional fundraiser and decided they could make a better investment by changing the format and instead providing an engaging evening filled with helpful conversations.

"Tuesday night, we're gathering consumers to talk about what does patient-centeredness mean for the patient," says Whitcomb Slemmer. "And that's going to happen simultaneously, facilitated conversations - and out speakers standing on soapboxes."

Among those who will be speaking from atop those soapboxes are Andrew Dreyfus, the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Massachusetts, Boston Medical Center Chaplain, the Reverend Doctor Jennie Gould, and Lynn Quincy from Consumers Union.

Whitcomb Slemmer says among the topics will be end-of-life patient-centered care and patient-centered care when it comes to shared decision making.

She says health-care consumers are key to this type of care.

"That they are their own experts, that health care is very personal and people's personal experience is valuable as we are trying to say how the system needs to best be organized to deliver truly patient-centered care," she says. "It puts the people at the center of a health-care team that understands what's most important, and what they value."

Whitcomb Slemmer says Health Care For All plans to follow up in the fall with policy proposals based on the ideas expressed during Tuesday night's event which will be held at 60 State Street.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA