Expanding Cost Conversations Between Patients and Their Providers

2019 Call for Proposals

    Release Date: August 26, 2019 | Application Deadline: Mon, 30 Sep 2019

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Cost remains a significant barrier to accessing health care, improving individual and population health outcomes, and increasing health equity in the United States. Conversations about the costs of care between patients and clinicians represent one promising strategy for addressing patients’ cost concerns, while also giving clinicians an opportunity to connect patients to needed community resources.

This program will fund new research to strengthen the evidence base on how to optimize cost conversations and integrate them into clinical practice more frequently.

Listen to the September 6 applicant webinar to learn more about this funding opportunity.


The goal of the program is to conduct original research and test emerging best practices for increasing the frequency and quality of conversations about the costs of care. This work takes a broad definition of costs, including out-of-pocket costs to patients, and attention to indirect costs of receiving treatment, such as child care, time away from work, and transportation to medical appointments. Our focus on cost conversations is in service to the Foundation’s broader goals for health equity: that all people in America have a fair and just opportunity to live a healthier life. To help ensure this, the medical care system can play its role in removing barriers to opportunity in one way, by devoting attention to financial hardship associated with receiving optimal care. 

Studies funded under this call for proposals should include attention to consumer perspectives, and attention to differential effects of interventions across populations at risk for health inequities, such as low-income populations, people of color, immigrants, and other groups who may experience discrimination. 

Specifically, this program intends to fund studies that can build the evidence base in order to advance the following goals:

  • Providers and care teams become more effective at discussing costs of care, and can connect patients with appropriate resources to make care more affordable.
  • Patients feel supported by provider systems in addressing cost concerns when they make care decisions, have a financial need, and/or need to plan for upcoming costs.
  • Policymakers and health care leaders are aware of the barriers that current policy creates in supporting cost conversations, and know what to do to address those barriers.

This research program builds on lessons from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Cost Conversation Projects. RWJF partnered with Essential Hospitals Institute, Avalere Health, National Patient Advocate Foundation, and the American College of Physicians, to create and share new resources to help guide conversations between patients and their health care providers. Studies from prior RWJF-funded research are available in a special supplement to Annals of Internal Medicine.


Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Researchers as well as practitioners and public and private policymakers working with researchers, are eligible to submit proposals through their organizations. Projects may be generated from disciplines including health services research; economics; sociology; anthropology; psychology; program evaluation; political science; public policy; public health; public administration; law; business administration; and other related fields. 
  • Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation. 
  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.

Key Dates

  • September 6, 2019 (2 p.m. ET) 
    Applicant webinar recording.
  • September 30, 2019 (3 p.m. ET) 
    Deadline for receipt of letters of intent.  
  • October 28, 2019 
    Full proposals invited.
  • December 9, 2019 (3 p.m. ET) 
    Deadline for receipt of full proposals.
  • Early January 2020 
    Finalists notified. 

Total Awards

  • Up to $2.4 million will be available under this CFP.  
  • Project funding can be up to $400,000 each to accommodate studies of 24 months. 
  • Up to six studies will be funded. 

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
September 30, 2019, 3:00 p.m. ET

Key Contacts

Emmy Hall Ganos, PhD, senior program officer
Phone: (609) 627-6252
Email: eganos@rwjf.org