New York State Health Foundation

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Empowering Health Care Consumers

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Today, New Yorkers find the health care system incredibly complex to understand and navigate. Information about prices and quality is opaque, the system is often unresponsive to consumers’ needs and preferences, and patients are not engaged in shared decision-making with their health care providers. Too often, consumers and patients are marginalized rather than placed at the center of the health care system and treated as its most important customers.

To ensure that consumers have the tools, resources, and support they need to make informed decisions about their health care, the Foundation is committed to increasing consumers’ choice and control.

Specifically, the Foundation expects to focus on projects that:

  • Foster appropriate levels of competition and choice in both health insurance and provider options;
  • Increase health literacy and consumer activation;
  • Improve patients' ability to navigate the health system with fewer burdens;
  • Encourage clearer pricing and disclosures of prices by providers;
  • Develop price and quality comparison tools;
  • Promote public policies that encourage transparency;
  • Equip patients with access to their own personal health information;
  • Encourage patients to be active partners in their care;
  • Develop and share quality measures that matter to consumers;
  • Increase information-seeking behavior by consumers; and
  • Improve or establish effective systems for consumer protection.

In spring 2016, NYSHealth issued a Request for Proposals, now closed, to help the Foundation identify opportunities in New York State, support new grantees in this work, and encourage creative thinking in this priority area. NYSHealth announced the grant recipients of this initiative in fall 2016.

For more information about this priority area, contact Program Officer Amy Shefrin at or Program Assistant Jessie Kavanagh at

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Program Impact: Improving Transparency and Affordability to Empower Consumers
What we are doing How we measure progress Where we started Where we have been Where we are now What this

Increase the transparency of health care price information for consumers. 

By the end of 2016, at least 12 hospitals in New York State voluntarily disclose prices for services. 

2015: 3 hospitals

2015: 3 hospitals

Improve consumers' access to and use of health care price and quality information. 

By the end of 2018, New York State has a consumer shopping tool that contains user-friendly price and quality information for the 200 most commonly performed health care services.

2015: No comprehensive tool exists. 

2015: No comprehensive tool exists. FAIR Health is beginning work to develop a comprehensive, consumer-friendly tool.

Social Context: Improving Transparency and Affordability to Empower Consumers
How we Measure the Social Context for our Work Where New York Started Where New York Has Been Where New York Is Now

New York's rating on Catalyst for Payment Reform annual Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws. 

2014 Catalyst for Payment Reform Grade: F


2015 Catalyst for Payment Reform Grade: F