UAMS Celebrates Patient- and Family-Centered Care

Julie Moretz, associate vice chancellor for patient- and family- centered care, and UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., visit during the reception.

Jeanne Heard, M.D., Ph.D., (left) and UAMS Medical Center CEO Roxane Townsend, M.D., (right) welcomes guests to the reception.

Julie Moretz visits with guests at the patient- and family-centered care reception.

May 21, 2013 | With a new leader, energized staff and volunteer teams, UAMS is poised to move to the forefront of academic medical centers with a nationally renowned patient- and family-centered care environment.

“I believe UAMS will be a national model for patient- and family-centered care,” said Julie Moretz, UAMS’ first-ever associate vice chancellor for patient- and family-centered care.

A reception May 17 gave faculty and staff the opportunity to welcome Moretz and to recognize the Patient- and Family-Centered Care Councils that are an integral part of implementing this new approach to health care. The councils include patients and family members who meet regularly to discuss and make recommendations on potential improvements to patient services and the environment of care.

The councils represent UAMS’ hospital, neonatal intensive care unit, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, primary care clinics and Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. Moretz, who started her new role May 1, will work alongside Barbara Brunner, director of patient- and family-centered care at UAMS; clinical staff; academic affairs; and college deans to educate future health care professionals about patient- and family-centered care.

This model of health care was first brought to UAMS in 2011 by John Shock, M.D., distinguished professor and founding director of the UAMS Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute. Soon after, Brunner joined the effort to establish key patient- and family-centered practices throughout the health system. It is an approach to health care that focuses on involving patients and their families in health care decisions, which leads to better health outcomes, wiser allocations of resources, and overall greater patient and family satisfaction.

During the reception, Jeanne Heard, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer at UAMS, said involving patients and families is integral. 

“Patient- and family-centered care is the key to what we are doing here at UAMS, and Julie will help take us to the next step,” Heard said. “It is the anchor we must have in order to give effective health care and it all begins with involving our patients and our families.”

Roxane Townsend, M.D., CEO of UAMS Medical Center, recognized everyone involved in the development of patient- and family-centered care at UAMS.

“You’re making a difference for the patients we serve, and you’re really benefitting the whole state,” Townsend said. “We do things better together, and that is why it is the theme for UAMS’ patient- and-family centered care.”

Moretz became devoted to promoting the ideals of patient- and family-centered care nationally in dealing with the chronic illness of her son.

“From that experience, I found my voice and began working to create a culture where it’s alright - and encouraged - for patients and family members to be vocal about their own health care needs,” Moretz said.

Among the touted benefits of patient- and family-centered care are shorter hospital stays, lower costs per visit, increased follow through with mutually agreed upon patient-care plans, decreased adverse events, higher employee retention rates, reduced operating costs, and decreased malpractice claims.

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