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Planetree International Awards St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Its Highest Level of Achievement for Excellence in Person-Centered Care

Far Rockaway, New York, December 15, 2021 — St. John’s Episcopal Hospital has been awarded Silver Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care by Planetree International. This Person- Centered Care Certification® recognizes the organization’s achievement and innovation in the delivery of person-centered care. St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is the first organization to earn this prestigious award through a partnership and ongoing collaborative among their cohorts from the Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS)!

What distinguishes Planetree Certification among other healthcare quality awards is its distinctive focus on person-centered care, defined as a model of care delivery in which healthcare professionals partner with patients and families to identify and satisfy the full range of patient needs and preferences. The award is conferred based on a variety of factors, including performance improvement on traditional quality indicators, review of policy documents and, most importantly, how patients and staff assess the organization’s person-centered culture. Silver Certification was awarded to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital following a series of focus groups with patients and their loved ones, as well as staff from a multitude of disciplines and divisions within the organization. Considered collectively, these discussions with patients and staff attested to a genuine culture of person-centered care.

“The experience of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital shows what can be accomplished when a team of deeply committed, supremely innovative and highly-driven caregivers take the courageous leap to re-define priorities and re-organize systems to put patients first,” shared Susan Frampton, President of Planetree International, a not-for-profit organization that has been at the forefront of the movement to transform healthcare from the perspective of patients for over 40 years.

“At St. John’s, we make it a point to treat our patients with dignity and respect, while also involving them in decisions about their healthcare,” said Jerry Walsh, Chief Executive Officer. “I am extremely proud of all of our St. John’s Team Members for incorporating a person- centered approach in the way we deliver healthcare to our patients.”

The achievement of Silver Certification by St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is a significant milestone in the organization’s culture change journey, evidencing that effective policies, practices, tools, and systems are in place to meet a broad range of patient, family, and professional healthcare giver needs and preferences.

“Planetree awards Silver Certification in Person-Centered Care to celebrate organizations’ progress along the culture change journey,” said Frampton. “In this spirit, we look forward to witnessing how the team at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital builds on this achievement to take its commitment to delivering person-centered care to even greater heights.”

The criteria that St. John’s satisfied to achieve Planetree Silver Certification reflect what patients, residents, family members and healthcare professionals in hundreds of focus groups say matters most to them during a healthcare experience. This qualitative data aligns with the

growing evidence-base for person-centered care, and establishes the Person-Centered Care Certification Program as a concrete framework for defining and measuring excellence in person-centeredness.

The criteria address components of a person-centered healthcare experience, including the quality of patient-provider interactions, access to information, family involvement and the physical environment of care. Importantly, the criteria also focus on how the organization supports staff, opportunities for staff, patients, and families to have a voice in the way care is delivered, and the ways that St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is reaching beyond its walls to care for its community.

As part of the Certification process — which included a virtual site visit assessment by representatives from Planetree and HANYS — discussion with St. John’s Episcopal Hospital patients, families and current staff validated that specific person-centered policies are in place. The process also included a review of the organization’s performance on patient experience and quality of care measures, and how measurement of these indicators improves organizational outcomes.

For more information on Planetree’s Person-Centered Care Certification® Program, including the criteria, the application process and more, visit

About Episcopal Health Services

Episcopal Health Services Inc., (EHS) is a health system located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York. The system provides emergency and ambulatory care to the densely populated, culturally and economically diverse, and medically underserved Rockaways and Five Towns populations. The system provides people of all faiths with comprehensive preventive, diagnostic treatment, and rehabilitative services, regardless of their ability to pay.

About Planetree International

Planetree International is a mission based not-for-profit organization that has partnered with over 700 healthcare organizations around the world and across the care continuum to transform how care is delivered. Powered by over 50,000 focus group attendees comprised of patients, families, and staff, and 40 years of experience working with healthcare organizations, the Planetree approach emphasizes the quality of human interactions that occur within healthcare settings, the importance of connecting healthcare personnel to the purpose and meaning of their work, and practical strategies for engaging patients and family members as true partners in care. These elements have been consolidated into the Person-Centered Care Certification® Program, which provides organizations with a structured process to guide culture change efforts that yield improvements in clinical and operational outcomes. Drawing on this experience, in 2017 Planetree partnered with the National Academy of Medicine to introduce an evidence-based Guiding Framework for Patient and Family Engaged Care.