Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Empowering New York Consumers in an Era of Hospital Consolidation, Phase 2

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

December 13, 2017


Outside New York State






Building on a prior project that analyzed barriers to consumer input in the Certificate of Need (CON) process and developed recommendations for improving the process, Mergerwatch will conduct a campaign focused on making the CON process more consumer-friendly and transparent for New Yorkers.

In 2016, MergerWatch published a national study of CON hospital oversight programs, concluding that most need to be updated for the new era of hospital consolidation. NYHealth funded MergerWatch, through its fiscal sponsor Community Catalyst, to conduct an in-depth review of New York’s CON process to identify potential reforms to make the process more transparent and consumer-friendly for affected communities, enabling greater input and review from the public. A public report with recommendations was issued in May 2018.

Under this grant, Mergerwatch implemented a campaign to build support for these recommendations and seek their adoption by policymakers. Working with its coalition of allies, MergerWatch determined which changes could be accomplished administratively and which required regulatory or legislative action. Ultimately, Mergerwatch sought to make the CON process in New York State more consumer-friendly and transparent, ensuring that local residents have a seat at the table to inform hospital consolidation and closure decisions that directly impact their access to care. This project aimed to increase opportunities for consumers to meaningfully engage in the CON process, raise the public and influencers’ awareness on the issue, and generate CON decisions that are more oriented to New Yorkers and affected communities and are pro-consumer. This project created a template for future and successful consumer engagement in New York State on a range of health care issues where consumers have traditionally been shut out of the process.