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New Online Library Helps Hospitals Talk to Patients about Care Costs


WASHINGTON—America’s Essential Hospitals today published a new online library of guides, videos, infographics, and other tools to help essential hospitals and clinicians talk with vulnerable patients about the cost of care and to incorporate these conversations into the clinical workflow.

The association’s research arm, Essential Hospitals Institute, built the Cost Conversations library with grant support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Polling conducted for the project reports that 70 percent of patients want to discuss the costs of their care with clinicians or staff, but only 28 percent do so. America’s Essential Hospitals offers the tools to help its more than 320 member hospitals and other providers close gaps in care with more frequent cost conversations, strengthen the patient-provider relationship, and ensure transparency.

“The vulnerable patients our hospitals treat often face language barriers, financial hardships, and low health literacy,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “This can hinder their ability to understand the cost of a procedure or to weigh treatment options, which can lead to health disparities. We appreciate the support of RWJF as we work to close those gaps.”

The resources housed in the new library come from RWJF grant-funded work developed in 2017 by a diverse group of stakeholders, including two association members: Sinai Urban Health Institute, in Chicago, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. These stakeholders identified messages and techniques that guided the development of the videos, toolkits, meeting guides, case studies, and other library content, which includes material for patients. The library launches with several of these resources, and more will be added in the coming months.

The library is available publicly, at, which reflects the project’s goal to make the resources available as broadly as possible and promote more frequent cost-of-care conversations between providers and patients and their families.

“We know patients want to talk to their providers about the cost of care, and providers want patients to feel comfortable doing so,” said Kalpana Ramiah, DrPH, MSc, vice president of innovation at America’s Essential Hospitals and director of Essential Hospitals Institute. “Evidence-driven tools, like the ones in this resource library, will help pave the way for these important conversations.”

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 320 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at

Carl Graziano



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