Costs of Care Essay Contest Crowdsources Hundreds of Stories from Patients and their Caregivers

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Costs of Care ( has launched an innovative essay contest that illustrates the importance of cost-awareness in medicine by gathering hundreds of anecdotes from patients, nurses, and physicians across the nation. In the past, stories from the contest have been carried by the major media and have been used by leading healthcare organizations such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Institute of Medicine. This year, Costs of Care continues to collect stories that illustrate the opportunities and challenges to providing high value healthcare.

Traditionally, doctors have been reluctant to discuss their own role in healthcare spending.

As a presidential election looms and the American economy struggles to recover, the spiraling costs of healthcare have become a contentious political focal point without an obvious solution. Traditionally, health care providers have been reluctant to discuss their own role in healthcare spending. However according to Neel Shah, M.D., Executive Director at Costs of Care, “Ultimately, no amount of regulating, reorganizing, or otherwise reforming the healthcare system will successfully contain costs unless healthcare providers are invested in fixing the problem.”

To help mobilize healthcare providers to examine their own role in spending, Costs of Care is launching an essay contest that will collect and widely disseminate stories from the frontlines of medicine.

$4000 in prizes will be awarded to winning entries with the help of four judges:

  •     Pauline Chen, surgeon and New York Times columnist
  •     Jeffrey Drazen, Editor-in-chief, New England Journal of Medicine
  •     Donna Shalala, former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
  •     Ezekiel Emanuel, ethicist and former White House healthcare advisor

Preference will be given to stories that best demonstrate the importance of cost-awareness in medicine. Examples may include a time a patient tried to find out what a test or treatment would cost but was unable to do so, a time that caring for a patient generated an unexpectedly a high medical bill, or a time a patient and care provider figured out a way to save money while still delivering high-value care.

Anyone looking to learn more about the successful entries from last year’s contest can find our more at

All submissions will be due on November 15th, 2012 to contest(at)costsofcare(dot)org - all qualifying submissions will be published biweekly on the Costs of Care blog during the 2013 calendar year, and will be made available to the media.

The contest is sponsored in part by through the generosity of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan, Tufts Health Plan, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Wellpoint Foundation, and the ABIM Foundation.

About Costs of Care
Costs of Care is a nonprofit organization that gives patients and their caregivers information they need to deflate medical bills, while expanding the national discourse on the role of care providers in responsible resource stewardship. Costs of Care was founded by a resident physician based at Harvard Medical School who noticed that even the best physicians sometimes overlook something critical—the bill.

Full contest details are available at

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Neel Shah
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