A Brief History

United Hospital Fund was founded by hospital trustees and other concerned New Yorkers in 1879 as an innovative approach to organizing charitable support for voluntary, nonprofit hospitals in New York City and to help solve shared problems. Known for more than a century as the nation’s oldest federated charity, UHF has played a central role in addressing critical health care issues facing New York, and in the creation of many of the organizations and institutions that today help define the city’s health care landscape, including Greater New York Hospital Association, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, United Way of New York City, New York Blood Center, Primary Care Development Corporation, New York City AIDS Fund, New York Society for Health Planning, New York Cares, Care for the Homeless, and, most recently, the New York eHealth Collaborative.

Today, UHF’s groundbreaking initiatives are providing analysis and information to support universal, affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage and access to care; promoting improvements in the quality, patient experience, and efficiency of health care delivery; and fostering collaborations between the health care delivery system and communities to improve health and well-being and to address the social determinants of health.  

Over the years, UHF has been instrumental in numerous health care “firsts,” including:

  • Leading New York City’s earliest responses to the AIDS crisis
  • Pioneering programs to improve end-of-life care
  • Establishing the National Quality Forum
  • Helping enroll 340,000 New Yorkers in Disaster Relief Medicaid after 9/11
  • Creating the Families and Health Care Project to address the needs of family caregivers
  • Establishing the Medicaid Institute to strengthen New York’s safety net 
  • Introducing strategic planning guides to assist senior-serving organizations advance healthy aging
  • Involving 90+ area hospitals in multi-year quality improvement collaborations
  • Launching model programs that link the health care sector and the community to promote wellness and manage illness
  • Developing policy proposals for the First 1,000 Days on Medicaid initiative to improve the health and developmental trajectory of the youngest New Yorkers
  • Informing the development of New York's health insurance exchange and the first appraisal of its subsequent success