What is consumer empowerment?
The principle of empowerment is the right to make one’s own health care choices. A patient oriented agency does not easily fit into a public government-funded health care system. Patients do not always have the kinds of social, economic, and political resources traditionally thought to be essential for policy settings. Patients and family members are in the arena with other key players: the medical profession, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the hospital industry and the long term care industry. Consumers of substance abuse and mental health services have a highly stigmatizing disability and depend on a fragile network of social services for their independence. Consumer empowerment means that consumers have a voice that is evidenced by their being able to set their own priorities, take reasonable risks, and shape the system through their choices of services and providers. Today policy makers and professionals are promoting self-direction, person-centered planning,