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  • United Hospital Fund of New York Promoting Patient-Centered Discharge Planning for Post-Acute Care Settings Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $219,606

    Post-acute care, including inpatient rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, home health agencies, and long-term care hospitals, is a critical and growing component of the health care system. Although there have been recent reforms to smooth the transition of patients discharged from hospitals to post-acute facilities and improve continuity of care, the system is not functioning as well as it should. Current hospital discharge protocols often overlook patient preferences and limitations, and the rush to discharge can lead to poor choices with significant consequences. Helping patients and their families choose the right setting at the right time could improve outcomes and lower costs. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded the United Hospital Fund of New York (UHF) a grant to improve the ability of patients and family caregivers to make informed decisions about post-acute care settings.

  • AARP Foundation Convening of a Caregiver Summit Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $50,000

    Approximately 2.5 million New Yorkers provide unpaid care to a family member or loved one. These caregivers play a critical role in the health care system, providing tasks ranging from simple day-to-day care to complex medical procedures. The physical, financial, and emotional impact of caregiving is significant and can contribute to caregiver stress, loss of income, and development of chronic conditions. With the passage of New York State’s Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable (CARE) Act and Governor Cuomo’s $67.5 million initiative to support Alzheimer’s caregivers, the time is ripe to build on this momentum to support caregivers. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded AARP Foundation a grant to convene a statewide summit to discuss how caregivers can be provided with the recognition, knowledge, and support they need to remain effective and productive in their caregiving roles.

  • Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc. Enhanced Drug-Pricing Transparency to Reduce Costs for Consumers and the State Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $123,207

    Rising prescription drug prices have become a major focus of public discourse over the past several years. While the costs of most prescription drugs have grown, the costs of specialty drugs have risen much faster than traditional medications. This is a result of a complicated system where patients pay coinsurance rates or deductibles at the pharmacy based on a drug’s full list price, rather than the lower rebated price that a payer has negotiated with the manufacturer. As a result, many patients pay more for drugs through their insurance plan than they would if they paid out of pocket without insurance. The higher costs borne by consumers often lead to higher rates of prescription abandonment. Although New York State has taken steps to address this issue by passing budgetary measures to cap the growth of prescription drug spending in the State’s Medicaid program, more needs to be done to protect health care consumers. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI) a grant to research how transparency reforms would affect drug pricing and reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs.

  • HonestHealth Are We There Yet? An Analysis of Health Care Cost and Quality Consumer Tools and Recommendations for New York State Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $228,388

    As a result of increased cost-sharing, consumers are eager for health care quality and price transparency tools to inform decision-making and allow for comparison shopping. An NYSHealth-funded survey by Public Agenda found that nearly half of New Yorkers have attempted to look up health care costs, but there is limited consumer awareness of websites that offer price or quality information. Additionally, the survey found that 80% of New Yorkers believe that the State should provide a way for consumers to compare health care prices. Despite consumer interest and some State efforts in this area, comparative health care quality and cost information remains largely obscured to the public. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded HonestHealth a grant to lay the groundwork for the State to provide timely, meaningful, and understandable information and enhance consumers’ ability to make informed choices.

  • New York Public Interest Research Group Fund, Inc. Promoting the Role of Family Caregivers and Open Visitation in New York Hospitals Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $164,032

    Isolating hospital patients from their loved ones at their most vulnerable time can place them at risk for medical error, emotional harm, inconsistencies in care, and a greater likelihood of readmission. Having robust family presence guidelines, such as 24/7 open visitation, is one way to strengthen and leverage the important role of family and informal caregivers as partners in a patient’s health care experience. However, many hospitals throughout the State still bar family members from the bedsides of loved ones at important times of day because of restrictive hospital visitation policies. In 2015, New York Public Interest Research Group Fund (NYPIRG) and Institute for Patient- and Family Centered Care (IPFCC) piloted a 24/7 visitation program in New York City hospitals to improve hospital policies on caregiver presence and visiting. Based on promising early findings, NYSHealth awarded a grant in 2017 to NYPIRG, in partnership with IPFCC, to enhance and replicate this 24/7 visitation program in upstate New York hospitals.

  • Project HOPE: The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc. (d.b.a. Health Affairs) Health Affairs Theme Issues on Patient Engagement and Veterans’/Military Health Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers Priority Area: Veterans' Health $150,000

    Health Affairs, the nation’s leading peer-reviewed health policy journal, regularly publishes special thematic issues—with support from a range of public and private funders—that address major topics in health care policy and practice. With reach into the worlds of health policy, clinical practice, and health care systems, Health Affairs plays a key role in identifying emerging and promising practices, providing actionable evidence to public and private sector policymakers, and advancing innovation. NYSHealth has previously provided support for three special issues of Health Affairs on health care delivery system innovation, diabetes prevention, and health insurance exchanges. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded a grant to Project HOPE to support Health Affairs in the publication of two thematic issues: one focused on veterans’ and military health and the other on patient engagement.

  • Medicaid Matters New York (fiscal sponsor: Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy) Understanding the Information and Transparency Needs of Medicaid Managed Care Enrollees Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $80,086

    One-quarter of New York State’s population, more than 6.2 million people, relies on Medicaid for health insurance coverage. Most of these individuals are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs), which contract with the State to assume responsibility for Medicaid enrollees’ health care. For people enrolled in Medicaid, with fewer resources, accessing information to maintain their health can be challenging. Transparency initiatives are of great value for enabling more informed and activated patients, but they may be leaving behind the millions of New Yorkers who rely on Medicaid. For example, transparency tools on quality variation among providers could be of value to this population, but it is unclear whether enrollees have access to or are aware of these tools. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY), through fiscal sponsor Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, a grant to understand the informational needs Medicaid enrollees.

  • New York University, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service Evaluating Consumer and Provider Effects of FAIR Health Online Shopping Tool Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $296,775

    More and more New Yorkers are enrolled in health insurance plans that have high deductibles, significant cost-sharing provisions, and narrow or closed networks. As a result, it is imperative that consumers have the right information to understand and compare their health care options. Despite the need for better information, consumers continue to face a lack of health care price transparency tools. In 2015, NYSHealth awarded a grant to FAIR Health, which oversees the nation’s largest private claims database, to create a consumer tool with pricing information that would help consumers compare providers. The tool, NY HOST, will launch in two phases: a physician charge phase in September 2017 and a hospital charge phase in February 2018 that will offer pricing information for hospitals in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and Westchester. To evaluate the tool’s impact on consumer behavior, provider charges, and the health care market, NYSHealth awarded a grant in 2017 to New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (NYU).

  • Northeast Business Group on Health Safe Birth NY: Empowering Women to Use Hospital Quality Data When Deciding Where to Give Birth Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $225,000

    Too often the health care system puts patients last, when they should come first. Consumers and patients are frequently marginalized, rather than placed at the center of the health care system and treated as its most important customers. The interests of providers, payers, and other organized stakeholders take precedence over the patient in many cases. NYSHealth seeks to amplify the voice of the health care consumer and increase the information and tools available so that patients have more influence over their health and health care. To change the current dynamic and increase health care consumers’ choice, control, and convenience, NYSHealth issued a request for proposals, Empowering Health Care Consumers in New York State. Through this initiative, NYSHealth is funding ambitious, large-scale projects and studies to increase consumers’ access to their own health information; provide new tools and resources that will inform consumer health care decision-making; and identify strategies that meaningfully engage consumers in determining the types of health care services available in their local communities. NYSHealth awarded Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) a grant to participate in this initiative.

  • Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, Inc. (WCNY) Becoming a Savvier Health Care Consumer Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $93,516

    The health care system is incredibly complex to understand and navigate, and consumer-friendly information about prices, quality, and other aspects of care is lacking. Arming consumers with information will help them make savvier decisions about their own health and health care and give them a greater sense of control over those decisions. The Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York—known as WCNY—serves as Central New York’s public media organization that works to engage, educate, entertain, and connect the communities it serves to a rich array of quality resources and experiences. To reach millions of New Yorkers and help them become more informed health care consumers, NYSHealth awarded WCNY a grant in 2017 to provide them with easy-to-understand health care information, tools, resources, and exemplary stories of real people actively engaged in their health care.

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