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NYC Health + Hospitals Reaffirms Commitment to Eliminating Six Month Residency Eligibility Requirement for Care

Published: July 6, 2022
New York City's Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs holds a round table discussion to discuss the elimination of the 6-month residency requirement for NYC Care. (Image: Martin Feng/Vision Times)

On July 6, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and commissioner Manuel Castro in conjunction with New York City’s Health + Hospitals Executive Director of NYC Care Dr. Jonathan Jiménez held an in-person roundtable discussion to discuss the elimination of the 6-month residency requirement for NYC Care. 

The discussion reaffirmed a commitment by Health + Hospitals to eliminate the residency requirement for care for low income New Yorkers and others who do not qualify for insurance under federal guidelines.

“NYC Care is a health care access program that guarantees low-cost and no-cost services offered by NYC Health + Hospitals to New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance based on federal guidelines,” a press release concerning the matter reads. 

The original announcement was made in April, 2022 and directed uninsured adults to contact 646-NYC-CARE to see if they qualify for NYC Care membership with proof of an address in the five boroughs. 

To date, NYC Care boasts more than 110,000 members and according to its website “has become a national health care model that guarantees low and no-cost primary and specialty care services” at hospitals and health centers across New York City to eligible individuals. 

“When we say health care is a right not a privilege in NYC, we point to our public health care system and its health care access program, NYC Care,” Mayor Eric Adams said per a press release adding that,  “You’re a New Yorker from the first day you move here, which is why we’re removing the six-month eligibility requirement for NYC Care. Diabetes doesn’t wait for six months, why should you wait to get health care?”

President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals Mitchell Katz said that health care in New York is a human right and urged any New Yorker who can’t afford health care to contact NYC Care for help. “NYC Care promises new members a primary care appointment within two weeks and access to specialty care if needed,” he said. 

“I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals for eliminating the six-month residency requirement and continuing to lead the nation in recognizing health care as a human right,” said Manuel Castro, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “MOIA will continue to work hand in hand with H+H to do the necessary outreach to immigrant communities across the City and connect them to the care they deserve,” he said.

Pictured Manuel Castro (L), Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) commissioner, Wendell Wells (C), NYC Care patient and Dr. Jonathan Jiménez (R), MD, MPH, Executive Director, NYC Care (NYC Health + Hospitals). (Image: Martin Feng/Vision Times)

NYC Care launched at NYC Health + Hospitals locations in the Bronx in August 2019 and since then expanded its service area to all five boroughs.  

According to the program’s website, NYC Care’s mission is to “change the way the City’s public health care system connects the most vulnerable New Yorkers to primary and specialty care, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.”

NYC Care prides itself on consistently advocating for immigrant health care and safety and issued a joint open letter to New Yorkers, in 14 languages, promising never to question the immigration status of anyone seeking health care. The letter affirmed the health system’s commitment to protecting the immigration status of New Yorkers and urged immigrants to “seek care without fear.”

Over 200 languages are spoken in New York City prompting NYC Health + Hospitals to invest approximately $10 million annually to provide 24/7 assistance in 200 languages and dialects through telephonic, video and in-person interpretation, including sign language services to ensure patients receive quality care. 

In addition to health care, on-site legal services for immigration issues are also provided at seven patient care sites across the five boroughs including at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, Kings County, and Bellevue, and NYC Health + Hospitals/ Gotham, Health, Gouverneur, Morrisania, and Cumberland. 

People seeking legal service can expect a referral for an attorney will be secured within one or two weeks.