We the Patients


Shockingly high medical bill? Unaffordable insurance coverage? Share your health care story and join the movement of patients advocating for more affordable, accessible and equitable health care in New York.

Use this form to get in touch with us. We’ll follow up.

Patient advocates drive policy change.

In 2004, 24-year-old Manny Lanza needed urgent surgery for a life-threatening brain condition. But without insurance, the hospital refused to schedule the treatment. Manny died waiting.

Manny’s father fought to make Manny’s story known. He, alongside longtime health and legal advocates, became the catalyst for New York’s charity care law passed in 2007, which requires hospitals to provide free or low cost care to uninsured or underinsured patients. The law – the Hospital Financial Assistance Law – is now known as Manny’s Law.

Patient voices can be powerful forces for health care reform. We The Patients is a movement to amplify those experiences and engage patients in health care advocacy, to create a better health care system. We believe collective action—working together with community members, activists, unions, nonprofits, policymakers, volunteers, and more—is the best way to accelerate and actualize change.

Featured patient Stories

Covid-19 survivor receives $400,000 hospital bill – Janet Mendez, NYC

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed one of our medical system’s greatest failures: giant bills. Janet Mendez, a COVID-19 survivor, is facing an enormous bill…

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Meet John Ingram: A 75-Year Old New Yorker Slaughtered On All Sides By Medical Debt

When you go to the doctor, do you get one simple bill for the health care you received? Many patients, like John Ingram, are caught in our fragmented…

A Health Care System Against Her – Angela Ozuna Tavera, Bronx County

Angela Ozuna Tavera is a long-term resident of New York City, originally immigrating from the Dominican Republic. When it looked like her Medicaid coverage might come to an end, she…

Get updates on our latest advocacy efforts and learn how you can get involved.

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Over 53,000 New Yorkers were sued by New York’s charitable hospitals between 2015 and 2020, including at least 4,000 people sued during the pandemic. Patients need protections from unfair medical bills and extraordinary collections actions taken over medical debt.

These include:

  • Ending liens and wage garnishment over unpaid medical bills
  • Making financial assistance applications consistent and accessible for patients
  • Eliminating facility fees for preventive care 

Half of New Yorkers say that they cannot afford medical care even with insurance and another 5 percent of New Yorkers – 1 million people – have no coverage at all. Health coverage should be accessible and affordable, for all New Yorkers.

New York can improve coverage by:

  • Passing the New York Health Act, which would ensure coverage for everyone in the state
  • Allowing all income-eligible New Yorkers to enroll in the state’s Essential Plan, regardless of immigration status

Decisions surrounding hospital building projects and closures are made without considering community need, often resulting in limited access to care for communities with lower incomes or with more people of color. For example, Queens has just 1.5 hospital beds for every 1,000 residents, while Manhattan has 6.4.
We can create a more equitable New York by:

  • Adding patients to the Public Health and Health Planning Council to ensure hospital planning decisions reflect patient needs
  • Distribute more of New York’s $1.1 billion indigent care pool to hospitals that care for the lowest-income New Yorkers

Consumer assistance programs are crucial to helping patients enroll in coverage and navigate our complex health care system

  • Increase funding for Navigators who provide enrollment assistance
  • Create a grant program to fund community-based organizations to conduct outreach in communities with large uninsured populations
  • Increase funding for Community Health Advocates to handle rising demand


Get Direct Support

Understanding Health Insurance, Resolving Medical Billing Issues & More

Get Direct Support

Understanding Health Insurance, Resolving Medical Billing Issues & More:
Community Health Advocates

How to Avoid Facility Fees

“When the Doctor’s Visit Costs Double” by Chuck Bell

How to Avoid Facility Fees:

“When the Doctor’s Visit Costs Double” by Chuck Bell
Keep reading

Medical Debt in New York: What Patients Can Do to Fight Back

Medical Debt in New York: What Patients Can Do to Fight Back:

Watch Video

Department of Financial Services: Guide to Surprise Bills

Department of Financial Services: Guide to Surprise Bills:

Read Now


Social Media

4/4 The crisis of medical debt continues to plague low-income and poor communities across NYS, and communities of color. We must act NOW to ensure that every New Yorker has access to the care they need, without having to worry about debt. #EndMedicalDebt #MedicalDebtMonday

1/ Stories like Michael's are exactly the reason why the New York State Legislature must take action NOW to #EndMedicalDebt in New York State! New Yorkers need access to life-saving care that doesn't force them into debt at the same time. #MedicalDebtMonday https://t.co/UEyD0ftMRD

NEW #PatientVoices 🎤 this #MedicalDebtMonday:

Michael was hospitalized for 135 days, fighting for his life. He started getting calls from the billing department while still in the ICU.

Watch Michael's full story: http://wethepatientsny.org/2023/03/13/michael/

Your story is a pot of gold! Stories drive leaders to create a better health system + show others they're not alone. 💪

#ny #nyc #nyhealthcare #medicaldebt #endmedicaldebt #newyorkers #nymedicalbill #medicalbill #patientstories #patientvoices #healthcaresystem #nyhealth #nypatients ...#patientrights #patientadvocates #patientexperience #newyork #patientadvocacy #newyorkhealth #newyorkhealthcare

New #PatientVoices 🎤
Visit our website and join us in the fight to change the narrative.

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