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FirstHealth Launches Patient and Family Advisory Council

| Date Posted: 1/6/2012

PINEHURST – With the recent kickoff of its new Patient and Family Advisory Council, FirstHealth of the Carolinas has taken an important step forward in the journey toward setting the standard for the extraordinary patient experience. 

The development of the Patient and Family Advisory Council supports FirstHealth’s strategic plan, which outlines seven driving strategies to assure an extraordinarily high-quality patient experience. 


Members of the FirstHealth Patient and Family Advisory Council are (back row, left to right): Alexander Jacoby, Moore County resident; Edward Krystek, Moore County resident; Kerry Hensley, Montgomery County resident;  Anna Mae Thomas, Richmond County resident; Roxanne Leopper, Harnett County resident; Carole Weaver, Moore County resident; Daniel Barnes, D.O., staff member;  Steven Strobel, M.D., staff member; Don Power, Moore County resident; Scott Provencher, Moore County resident; Sandy Waterkotte, Moore County resident; Deborah DeLong, staff member; Evelyn Dimps-Williams, staff member; Pam Hudson, staff member; (front row, left to right): Jennifer Hall, staff member; Emily Sloan, staff member; Faye Baxley, Moore County resident; Charli Thyne, staff member; Sally Brown, Moore County resident; Pam Duncan, staff member; Barbara Reining, Moore County resident; and Debora Davis, Moore County resident.

Not pictured: John Barrett, Moore County resident; Katie Dunlap, Montgomery County resident; Cheryl Futrell, Moore County resident; Tommy Jarrell, Richmond County resident; Laura Tomanelli, Moore County resident;  Mark Beaty, Moore County resident; Karen Habenstein, Moore County resident; Tammy Brigman, staff member; Jan Scholl, staff member; Amy Chambers, staff member

Thirty advisers attended the inaugural meeting at Moore Regional Hospital, where they introduced themselves and learned more about their new advisory role.

Deborah DeLong, administrative director of Hospitalist Services at FirstHealth and Patient and Family Advisory Council chairperson, welcomed the group and talked about the importance of providing patients with a voice for improving services for all patients.

“As health care providers, we have the best of intentions, and we do a really good job,” said DeLong.  “But there is room for improvement, and we want to hear directly from patients and families to learn how we can provide the most extraordinary patient experience every time.”

The Patient and Family Advisory Council membership includes patients, or family members of patients, who have been hospitalized at Moore Regional, Richmond Memorial or Montgomery Memorial at some point over the last three years. 

A limited number of physicians and hospital staff are also members of the Advisory Council.  Advisers were chosen for their personal experience with care and familiarity with the services provided at FirstHealth. 

Daniel Barnes, D.O., medical director for FirstHealth Hospitalist Services and one of the physician members of the Advisory Council, also provided welcoming remarks during the kickoff luncheon.

“As health care providers, all too often we talk about what we do to a patient or for a patient, when it should be what we do with the patient,” said Dr. Barnes.  “By strengthening the partnership among physicians, patients, families and other providers, we will improve the care experience.”
Patient and family advisers must participate in an orientation to receive training about patient confidentiality and HIPAA regulations, Council organization and adviser roles and responsibilities.  The Council meets monthly, and members serve for two years.

Professor Katherine Dunlap of Star is a patient and family adviser serving on the Council.

“My husband received comprehensive cancer care at FirstHealth, and I have had two very successful knee replacement surgeries,” says Dunlap. “My experiences have been overwhelmingly positive, but there is always room for improvement. I am delighted to be invited to make this investment in FirstHealth. Our contribution to this Council can make a great system even stronger.”

For more information about the FirstHealth Patient and Family Advisory Council, feel free to call (910) 715-2172.

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