Our Mission

More than sixty Massachusetts-based organizations have come together to form the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care. Working at these groups are dedicated physicians, nurses, hospice workers, counselors, clergy, hospital and health plan administrators, social workers, attorneys, policymakers, researchers, and other health professionals. Ultimately, people need to be at the center of discussions with family and others concerning all aspects of their care; Coalition efforts are designed to support these important conversations.

Our mission is to ensure that health care for everyone in Massachusetts is in accordance with their goals, values and preferences at all stages of life and in all steps of their care.

Coalition Goals

We have established six core priorities to help achieve our mission:
1 Name a health care proxy
Everyone in Massachusetts, 18 or older, has designated a health care decision-maker (health care proxy).
2 Engage in ongoing conversations with your health care proxy
Everyone in Massachusetts, 18 or older, has had a conversation (and continues to have conversations) with their proxy to communicate their goals, values and preferences for care at the end of life.
3 Ensure appropriate training for clinicians
All Massachusetts clinicians have appropriate training to facilitate high-quality communication with patients on advance care planning and serious illness.
4 Have an informed conversation with your care team
Everyone in Massachusetts facing a serious illness has had a high-quality, informed goals and values conversation with their care team.
5 Create a system to elicit and document wishes
All Massachusetts health care providers have systems in place to elicit and document goals, values, and preferences for patients with serious illness.
6 Ensure that preferences can be shared, regardless of place of care
All Massachusetts health care providers have systems in place to share patient goals, values and preferences across care settings, to ensure they are accessible regardless of place of care.

Our Leadership

Maureen Bisognano
Maureen Bisognano
Co-chair of the Coalition & President Emerita and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Maureen Bisognano is President Emerita and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an independent not-for-profit organization helping to lead the improvement of health care throughout the world. Previously, Maureen served as IHI's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, leading IHI along with former President and CEO Dr. Donald Berwick for 15 years. She is a prominent authority on improving health care systems, whose expertise has been recognized by her elected membership to the National Academy of Medicine, among other distinctions.
 
Ms. Bisognano advises health care leaders around the world, is a frequent speaker at major health care conferences on quality improvement, and is a tireless advocate for change. She is also an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a Research Associate in the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, and serves on the Boards of the Commonwealth Fund, the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center..
 
Prior to joining IHI, Ms. Bisognano was Senior Vice President of the Juran Institute, where she consulted with senior management on the implementation of total quality management in health care settings. Before that, she served as Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Respiratory Hospital in Braintree, MA, where she implemented a hospital-wide strategic plan that improved the quality of care while simultaneously reducing costs.
 
Ms. Bisognano began her career in health care in 1973 as a staff nurse at Quincy Hospital in Quincy, MA. She was Director of Nursing at Quincy Hospital from 1981-1982, Director of Patient Services from 1982-1986 and Chief Operating Officer from 1986-1987. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the State of New York and a Master of Science degree from Boston University.

Dr. Atul Gawande, MD, MPH
Dr. Atul Gawande, MD, MPH
Co-chair of the Coalition & Surgeon, professor, writer, and public health researcher

Atul Gawande MD, MPH, is a surgeon, professor, writer, and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation. He has been a staff writer at the New Yorker magazine since 1998, and is the author of four bestselling books, most recently Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Andrew Dreyfus
Andrew Dreyfus
Founding Member of the Coalition & President and CEO for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Andrew Dreyfus is President and Chief Executive Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Serving nearly 3 million members, BCBSMA is one of the largest independent, not-for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in the country. As CEO, Andrew leads the company’s effort to make quality health care affordable.

Prior to being named CEO in September 2010, Andrew served as BCBSMA’s Executive Vice President of Health Care Services. In that position, he led the company’s collaborative efforts to improve the quality and safety of health care in Massachusetts, including the development of BCBSMA’s Alternative Quality Contract, one of the largest commercial payment reform initiatives in the nation. 

Andrew previously served as the first President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, which works to expand access to health care for Massachusetts residents.  During his tenure, the Foundation launched a series of policy initiatives, including the “Roadmap to Coverage,” which contributed to the successful passage of the state’s landmark 2006 Health Reform Law.

Before joining Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Andrew was Executive Vice President of the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA), and held a number of senior positions in Massachusetts state government, including Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and Director of Communications and Operations in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.          

Andrew serves on the boards of the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM), Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Jobs for Massachusetts, National Association of Corporate Directors, New England Chapter, and the advisory board of Ariadne Labs. Andrew is a founding member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care as well as a member on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness. He has given presentations on health care reform at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard School of Business, the Commonwealth Fund and at the United States Senate.

Ellen Goodman
Ellen Goodman
Founding Member of the Coalition & Co-Founder and Director of The Conversation Project

Ellen Goodman is the Co-founder and Director of The Conversation Project. She has spent most of her life chronicling social change and its impact on American life. She was one of the first women to write for the op-ed pages where she became, according to Media Watch, the most widely syndicated progressive columnist in the country. In 1980, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary. Ms. Goodman founded The Conversation Project in 2012, which is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. The Conversation Project has the audacious goal of changing our nation’s culture so that everyone’s wishes for end-of-life care are both expressed and respected.