Each year, New York State spends more than $70 billion through its Medicaid program to care for 6 million vulnerable residents. Because of this immense cost (40 percent of the state’s budget) and the complex needs of many Medicaid beneficiaries, New York has prioritized reforming its Medicaid program—not only to limit expenses but to improve quality and access to care.  

United Hospital Fund has been a longtime and important partner to New York State in this monumental undertaking.  

We created our Medicaid Institute in 2005 and work closely with the State as an independent source of analysis, research, and assessments. By doing this work, we help advance statewide improvements and innovation in the Medicaid program.  


In 2014 New York finalized a groundbreaking agreement with the federal government to begin a major transformation of the Medicaid program using a federal waiver (which permitted the State to reinvest $8 billion of savings generated through the governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team).  

Since then, there has been a tremendous effort to invest these funds in innovative programs, distinguishing New York as a national leader in using its Medicaid program to accomplish broad reforms in health care payment and the delivery system.  

As part of our unique role as a partner with the State, UHF identified innovations and meaningful changes undertaken over the past four years through the federal waiver. We published an important compendium of “promising practices” that highlights many of these key innovations. Among them: 

  • Using community health workers to connect emergency department patients to health and social services; 
  • Establishing a “Food as Health” program that links food-insecure patients to appropriate resources; 
  • Using peer coaches to support recovery for those with a substance use disorder. 

The UHF publication proved valuable as the State plannned the next phase of this massive overhaul that has become a model for the nation. Hundreds of copies of the UHF compendium were disseminated to public and private sector innovators, health care practitioners, and community leaders at the NY Medicaid Population Health Symposium.  

Learn more about the Medicaid Institute