NYC Care is a health care access program that provides comprehensive and low or no-cost health care services through NYC Health + Hospitals for New Yorkers who cannot afford or are ineligible for health insurance
NEW YORK, NY – NYC Health + Hospitals’ NYC Care health care access program released key findings from a study demonstrating the program’s success in connecting new members to primary and specialty care, which resulted in even higher engagement when looking at members who had two or more chronic diseases and spoke English as a second language (ESL).
Overall, 76.9% of new NYC Care members returned to primary care for an additional visit in their first year, 80.7% received a referral outside of primary care, and 75.4% visited specialty care. For new members with two or more chronic diseases, 86.1% returned to primary care, 87.1% received a referral, and 86% visited specialty care. There was also strong engagement for new members who are ESL, where 86.1% returned to primary care, 80.2% received a referral, and 74.7% visited specialty care.
This data suggests that NYC Care has spurred patient engagement at rates comparable to Medicaid, and that the data reflects member satisfaction and confidence in the high-quality care they are receiving.
The investigation, “Engaging New Primary Care Patients: Access for Uninsured Patients at an Urban Safety Net System,” was published for the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting by Caroline Cooke, MPH, CHES, Christine Zhang, MPA, NYC Care Executive Director Jonathan Jiménez, MD, MPH, and Remle Newton-Dame, MPH and focused on new NYC Care members initiating primary care at NYC Health + Hospitals from November 1, 2020 – October 31, 2021.
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“The data presented today demonstrates that NYC Care effectively engages undocumented and low-income New Yorkers excluded from health insurance in primary and specialty care, regardless of language barriers or burden of chronic illness. That is a firm step toward equity in health care and health outcomes for New Yorkers,” said NYC Care Executive Director Jonathan Jiménez, MD, MPH.
“For National Immigrant Heritage Month, we call on other health systems across the country to adopt a similar approach and affirm what we in New York City have known to be true, that health care is a human right.”
“NYC Care has been very successful in engaging patients and in encouraging them to seek the primary and specialty care they are entitled to at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities across the city. The results of the investigation presented today show the promise of NYC Care as a national model for expanding access to care, and that a sustained commitment to community outreach is crucial to supporting healthy communities. I encourage New Yorkers to visit NYCCare.NYC to learn more about the program and find out if they are eligible,” said Anne Williams-Isom, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.
NYC Care members from April 2022 to March 2023 had more than 195,000 primary care visits at NYC Health + Hospitals. The most utilized specialties included eye care, women’s health, dentistry, cardiology, and podiatry.
The program has produced strong results for its members – 53% of members with diabetes had an improved hemoglobin A1C – an indicator of how a patient is managing their diabetes – and 72% of members with hypertension had improved blood pressure after six months in the program. NYC Health + Hospitals recently announced its highest ever rate of A1C control among the nearly 64,000 primary care patients with diabetes, and has launched an expanded diabetes management program.
As the City of New York celebrates National Immigrant Heritage Month, municipal health systems from across the country can follow a similar model to expand health care access to populations excluded from health insurance. NYC Care has enrolled over 100,000 active members, more than half of those first-time patients of NYC Health + Hospitals. NYC Care members reflect the diversity of New York City:
Approximately 64% of NYC Care members are Hispanic/Latinx, 15% are Black or African American, and 6% are Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. The findings suggest that the ‘chilling effect’ of previous public charge rules and other policies geared toward restricting immigrant access to social services can be overcome through an NYC Care-type model. Additionally, NYC Care-type models can expand health care access to undocumented populations even if they experience language barriers or manage multiple chronic diseases.
NYC Care’s member engagement can be attributed to a number of factors, including immediate connection to a primary care home upon enrollment, partnership with over 22 community-based organizations, and ongoing citywide marketing campaigns. NYC Care recently received The Bernard J. Tyson National Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Healthcare Equity by The Joint Commission and Kaiser Permanente. Named for the late Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson, a champion for healthcare equity, the award recognizes healthcare organizations that achieve a measurable, sustained reduction in one or more healthcare disparities.
“The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is proud to partner with the NYC Care team to ensure that our communities are equipped with the resources needed to lead healthy lives,” said Manuel Castro, Commissioner of the NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
“I am proud to see that New Yorkers connected to the program feel empowered to consistently engage with the care available to them, from primary care to specialty care and low-cost prescriptions.” “As a primary care doctor in the Bronx, I have the privilege to serve many undocumented and low-income patients who would, without NYC Care, not receive the compassionate, comprehensive services our public health care system provides,” said Dr. Ted Long, Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals.
“Establishing a trusted relationship with a primary care provider is a human right. I am proud to see that so many of our NYC Care members value receiving care through our program, and keep coming back for lifesaving, life changing care.”
“The Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans (CIANA) is proud to support the work of NYC Care in connecting New Yorkers who might otherwise be ineligible for health care, particularly newly arrived immigrants who especially need access to quality health services. Thanks to this latest study, we can see that New Yorkers are consistently engaging with primary and specialty care over the long term, which is a testament to our work of building trust in communities,” said Emira Habiby Browne, Founder and CEO of the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans.
“As we celebrate National Immigrant Heritage Month, I am proud to support the citywide effort to connect New Yorkers to the NYC Care program. We have seen firsthand how it has resulted in our community members receiving the primary and specialty care that they otherwise would not have access to. The Academy of Medical and Public Health Services has heard numerous stories of members whose lives have been positively impacted by the program; we know how difficult it has been for our community members to receive care and are thankful NYC Care is here for them. I call on New Yorkers to help us spread the word about NYC Care, where new members can access a primary care appointment within their first two weeks of enrollment,” said Hewett Chiu, President and CEO of The Academy of Medical and Public Health Services.
“As one of the community-based partners of NYC Health + Hospitals, Korean Community Services has committed to serving uninsured New Yorkers regardless of their immigration status,” said Sara Kim, Program Director at Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York. “With this program, we saw our community members benefiting with more annual wellness check-ups, medical treatment and other health care services! We will continue to reach out to our community to inform them of this valuable and affordable program.”