Date of this Version
Health Systems Agencies (HSAs) were mandated to include representation of the community, broadly conceived. The implicit intention of the law was to include consumers as important and co-equal participants with providers in health planning. This paper is an examination of consumer participation in one HSA. Contrary to expectations derived from the literature, citizens in this HSA exercised independent judgment regarding the major issue to confront them. We conclude this was a function of the following: talents and skills of the consumer members; natural in¬terest in health care policy by consumer board members, sympathetic and supportive provider board members; and the homogenous character of the population in the region served.