Empowering Health Care Consumers


Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care

Funding Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers


June 11, 2018


This NYHealth-funded report by the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care addresses the gaps in knowledge about Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) in New York State.

The implementation PFACs in various hospitals has given patients and families a new opportunity to have their perspectives influence 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, rather than an authentic partnership between patients, their families, and health systems. Despite the growing recognition of their need, there is a dearth of information on how many PFACs exist in New York State, as well as how they vary in their composition, roles, and practices.

This report describes the landscape of PFACs in New York State hospitals, as well as their prevalence and variation in characteristics. The report also explores PFACs’ performance and impact, not only on hospital strategy and operations but also on the quality and safety of care. Stakeholders can use the report’s recommendations to help strengthen PFACs’ presence in New York State and in the adoption and implementation of best practices.

Of the New York State hospitals surveyed for this report, key findings include:

  • About 59% of hospitals have a PFAC, but of that number, only 29% have a high-functioning one;
  • Hospitals with a PFAC (whether high- or lower-performing) have better Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores than hospitals with no PFAC; and
  • Hospitals with a PFAC (whether high- or lower-performing) perform better on quality measures than hospitals with no PFAC.