Main Conference Agenda

Day 1 | Monday, December 5

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast with the Exhibitors

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.


Introduction to the Transaction Cycle

Paula DeFranco, MBA

Paula DeFranco did not start her career as a patient advocate. She was drawn to the calling in 2010 when she was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer and learned how to advocate for herself. When her brother was diagnosed with advanced stage angio-sarcoma, Paula became his health surrogate, advocate and caregiver. After witnessing all of the red tape and bottlenecks within the health care system, Paula developed the Transaction Cycle, a self-organizing three-dimensional system that is precise, spacious and immediate. In this keynote presentation, Paula will introduce the three dimensions of the Transaction Cycle: receipt, reaction, and response. Learn how to develop your own Transaction Cycle as a reference tool for personal and professional development. Find out the valuable role of the Transition Cycle and how it is a critical element for ongoing patient education and advocacy.

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

General Session

The Pharmacist’s Role in Transitions of Care: From the Nursery to the Nursing Home

Rebecca J Mahan, Pharm.D., CGP,
Chephra McKee, Pharm.D.,
Kayley Will, Pharm.D., BCACP

Expanding the role of the patient advocate extends to the pharmacist, who has become a vital piece of the health care continuum as medication experts. In a nationwide effort to reduce readmissions, decrease hospitalizations, and save on overall costs, pharmacists have been called upon to utilize their unique training in medication appropriateness and potential adverse effects, medication costs, and patient-specific dosage forms. The pharmacist’s role on a multidisciplinary health care team extends across all patient populations and areas of a health system. In this session, a panel of pharmacists embedded in a rural hospital will discuss their varied practice models, including pediatrics, ambulatory care, and geriatrics.

  • Discover the role of pharmacists as advocates within transitions of care
  • Explore the benefits of pharmacists embedded in specialty clinics and inpatient units to ensure continuity of care
  • Evaluate strategies to address barriers to care and prevent readmissions across the health care system
  • Discuss three pharmacist practice models improving transitions of care in pediatrics, ambulatory care and geriatrics

Earn up to


10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

General Session

Compassion in action

Sarah Harris Barry and Cindy Wilmore

The mission statement at Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) is to “serve our region with clinical excellence and compassionate care.” Caregivers at MRMC believed they were meeting this mission, but a series of patient focus groups revealed that work was needed. What they discovered was an overriding issue of a lack of compassion and empathy. Learn how MRMC implemented a new curriculum to address this issue. This session will review:

  • Definitions of compassion and empathy and identifying the barriers
  • Difference in sympathy and empathy as well as identifying and acknowledging fears of patients and others
  • Patient perceptions of compassion, caregiver perspectives, and the stages of grief/loss

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Breakout Session

Track 1

The Hospital Patient Advocate as Human Rights Officer

Denise Flaherty, RN, MS

Patient Advocates are committed to maintaining the rights, dignity and well-being of all patients within a hospital setting. Massachusetts General Hospital has a 24 bed inpatient medical/psychiatric unit. In Massachusetts, all Department of Mental Health inpatient facilities must have a designated Human Rights Officer (HRO). The role of the Patient Advocate as HRO in the psychiatric setting involves upholding mental health laws to protect the rights, freedom, dignity, care and treatment of those with mental illness.

  • Learn about patients’ rights and responsibilities, from the perspective of the Hospital Patient Advocate
  • Get information about the expectations of Human Rights Officers in the inpatient psychiatric setting
  • Discover responsibilities of the Patient Advocate as Human Rights Officer in relation to the inpatient psychiatric unit

Track 2

Negotiations 101: Overview and Tips to Success

Martine Brousse

Negotiations take place every day, but are you comfortable with the process? This presentation will offer you an overview of the negotiation and conflict resolution process and guide you through the steps to success. Martine Brousse will deliver effective tools and tips that are demonstrated and applied to real cases that will benefit you professionally, plus help with personal negotiation that you experience on a day to day basis. This session will:

  • Introduce basics of negotiation
  • Present effective negotiation tips
  • Demonstrate the application through a case examination

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

General Session

The New Age of Bullying and Violence in Health Care: The Interprofessional Impact

Ellen Fink-Samnick, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP

Despite improvements in how care is rendered and an enhanced focus on quality delivery, a glaring issue has emerged for immediate resolution: the elimination of workplace bullying and violence. Regulatory and organizational initiatives to reframe care delivery will become meaningless if the continued level of violence among and against the health care workforce is allowed to continue. During this presentation, Ellen Fink-Samnick will discuss values and ethics for interprofessional practice and the implications of trauma for health care sector victims. By the end of this session, you’ll know how to empower professionals on their journey to overturn this dangerous reality for the workforce.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Breakout Session

Track 1

Patient Advocacy in the Emergency Department

Linda Kane, MSW, LCSW

A Level 1 Trauma Center is fast-paced and faces many challenges. It’s often difficult for patients to remain comfortable for long durations with wait times up to 8 hours or longer if an inpatient bed is not available. The patient advocate’s role is integral to supporting good patient care and promoting a safe environment in the Emergency Department. The patient advocate ensures effective communication, respect for patient rights and prompt attention to individual needs, and consults with staff to support efforts in resolving conflicts, de-escalating situations and identifying opportunities for service recovery. Learn to:

  • Provide information about the role of a patient advocate in the Emergency Department
  • Promote the integral role of patient advocacy in an Emergency Department setting
  • Enhance communication and sensitivity skills to ensure positive patient experiences

Track 2

The Importance of Social Media and Marketing for the Independent Patient Advocate

Learn to improve your social media and web presence in the ever-changing health care industry. Walk through the step-by-step process of building a website, managing SEO, and maintaining social media presence. Get useful advice and tips no matter what your level of social media skill is. You’ll also learn useful business development strategies for starting and growing your practice in the current tech heavy climate, such as building a business plan, performing market research, and identifying the appropriate demographic for marketing purposes. Find out how you can grow and create a successful practice, while building brand awareness around the patient advocacy field.

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Breakout Session

Track 1

Developing a Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) to Help Facilitate Culture Change

Susan Gilland

As hospitals and health systems across the country work toward focusing on the patient experience and improving HCAHPS and Patient Satisfaction scores, having a consistent forum with patients will be crucial. Learn how a Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is established to connect the health system/hospital staff members, patients and families. Gain a better understanding about the way members of this council partner to promote quality, improve safety, increase patient engagement and support the patient experience. Take a deep dive into how a community health system started from scratch to create a Patient Family Advisory Council.
This session will discuss:

  • Importance of a PFAC and its role in healthcare
  • Barriers to creating a PFAC
  • Positive impact a PFAC can have on your health system
  • Possible projects that your PFAC can tackle

Track 2

Implementing Superior Patient Advocacy and Engagement – Case Study

Cyndi Inkpen, DHA, MPH

Successful patient navigation is critical when dealing with complex disease processes such as morbid obesity. A key role of the patient advocate is to minimize patients’ fears and frustration while serving as their informed and compassionate navigator through the health care bureaucracy. In the metabolic and bariatric surgery field, there are significant, long-term, highly-complex, and highly-variable barriers to accessing treatment. This case study will demonstrate how patients interacted with an advocate from the first contact with an obesity treatment program, throughout episodes of acute care, and ongoing, with multidisciplinary and inter-professional chronic disease management.

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