MSSU introduces new Patient Partner Compensation and Reimbursement Policy

MSSU introduces new Patient Partner Compensation and Reimbursement Policy

The Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit has introduced a new Patient Partner Compensation and Reimbursement Policy. The policy sets out procedures for compensating Patient Partners for their involvement in MSSU activities in all three Maritime Provinces.

The compensation provided under this new policy is a meaningful expression of appreciation for the important contributions that Patient Partners are making to the MSSU and patient-oriented research across the Maritimes—not a reflection of the market value of a patient’s contributions.

“Patient Partners are highly-valued members of our organization, and this policy is a recognition of their contributions to patient-oriented research, governance committees, and at conferences, trainings, and meetings,” says Yvonne Hanson, MSSU Patient Engagement Coordinator, who led efforts to develop the policy.

Hanson led efforts to develop the policy, consulting with colleagues from SPOR SUPPORT Units across Canada, and reviewing similar policies from other organizations that involve patients and the public in research. A committee was formed with equal representation from staff and Patient Partners, who played an important role in co-designing the policy. At a meeting in January 2020, all Maritime Patient Partners were invited to provide feedback and endorse the principles of the new policy. Hanson then worked with MSSU staff to develop the process for reimbursement at all five MSSU locations.

“After attending the meeting with other Patient Partners, I realized that we all had the same mind set: it’s not about the money. Patients freely give their time, thoughts, and experiences, while some others—for example, researchers, clinicians—are paid for their time. This policy, and the compensation it provides, is a show of respect and appreciation. It helps to even out imbalances around the table,” said Juanna Ricketts, a long-standing MSSU Patient Partner who helped develop the policy.

In doing so, the policy will hopefully support broader engagement and open up opportunities for more people to be involved in research, for example people who are receiving income assistance, living on a fixed income, or trying to balance other responsibilities. “As a caregiver to my mother, I’m grateful for this new policy, which helps offset costs associated with my participation in MSSU activities, and provides me with the peace of mind to focus on the contributions that I can make,” adds Ricketts.

The policy was reviewed and approved by the MSSU Scientific Leadership Committee and the MSSU Executive Committee, and came into effect on May 15, 2020.

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MSSU introduces new Patient Partner Compensation and Reimbursement Policy