Last week in New York, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU) in conjunction with NYC Health + Hospitals successfully held a “Healthcare Week of Action” which aimed to connect New Yorkers, in all five boroughs, to NYC care and GetCoveredNYC and to encourage all New Yorkers, no matter their immigration status or financial means, to access health care in the Big Apple.
NYC Care provides healthcare for those who are traditionally ineligible for, or who can’t afford, health insurance. GetCoveredNYC is a program that offers New Yorkers assistance in enrolling in health coverage.
The “Week of Action” was supported by PEU’s GetCoveredNYC specialists, CUNY interns, and NYC Care’s community-based organization partners.
NYC Care partners traveled the five boroughs scheduling on-site appointments with NYC Care specialists and encouraged eligible New Yorkers to make primary care appointments.
Events were held in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, and culminated in an event at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst which featured health screenings and COVID-19 testing. Queens was chosen to host the final event because the borough has the highest number of NYC Care members, as well as the highest number of eligible enrollees.
“Here in New York City, we believe that healthcare is a human right, not a privilege. And we are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status or income can get the care they need,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “New York City is a city of yes, and we are going to do all it takes to get every New Yorker covered,” he said.
Speakers at the event included Mayor Adams, Adrienne Lever, Executive Director of PEU, the Executive Director of NYC Care Dr. Jonathan Jiménez, Elmhurst Hospital CEO Helen Arteaga, PEU GetCoveredNYC Specialist Tania Navas, and local elected officials, Councilman Moya and Councilwoman Schulman.
“PEU’s mission is to proactively engage New Yorkers and connect them to critical benefits and services, including affordable, quality healthcare,” said Adrienne Lever. “The reason we do this work is because we know at PEU that healthcare is not just about having access to a doctor. It is about having all of the resources that you need to live a life of dignity and respect,” she said.
The “Week of Action” coincided with the launch of PEU’s CUNY Benefits Corps, supported by over 100 interns from CUNY’s Career Launch program, part of the City’s summer youth employment campaign. The interns offered free comprehensive benefits screening to New Yorkers at locations in all five boroughs using the ACCESS NYC screening tool.
Benefits Corps interns participated in core outreach work, making direct phone calls, reaching out via peer-to-peer text messaging and canvassing to connect with New Yorkers in their communities and to connect them to critical City, State, and Federal resources.
After three years of operation the NYC Care program has over 110,000 members and NYC Care members have made 879,969 primary and specialty care appointments including 86,503 telehealth appointments. Of these, 67 percent of patients had one or more chronic conditions and 18 percent had a cancer diagnosis.
The program has seen significant success in New York communities with 50 percent of members with diabetes and 42 percent of members with hypertension reporting improvements in their blood sugar and blood pressure, respectively, after only six months in the program.
“At Elmhurst and at all New York City Health and Hospital facilities, we do not turn not one single patient away. We encourage everyone from our communities to seek care without fear,” said Helen Arteaga, CEO of Elmhurst Hospital. “Through NYC Care, New Yorkers can have access to health coverage regardless of immigration status and ability to pay. If you are a new patient in New York City Cares, you get an appointment within two weeks. That is true evidence, not only of commitment, but of action.”
To contact NYC Care go to nyccare.nyc or call 1-646-NYC-CARE (1-646-692-2273).