The Office of Consumer Health Education (OCHE) of the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (CMDNJ) has developed a statewide network of hospital-based consumer health education programs. The rationale for a hospital-based program and the criteria for hospital selection emphasize the responsibility of health care institutions in providing patient and community health education. OCHE offers technical and consulting services to these and other hospitals in the areas of adult education, community programming, evaluation, and resource materials: it also participates in the teaching of medical students at CMDNJ. The need for each hospital to individualize its programs has been demonstrated, and eight problem areas have been revealed by OCHE'S experiences. Future financing will depend largely on third-party reimbursement for in-hospital patient education, while some community projects will be able to receive support from tuitions and grants.