Associated Press / Seth Wenig, File
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched NYC Care in Brooklyn and Staten Island, building on his administration’s commitment to guaranteeing health care for all New Yorkers.
According to the Office of the Mayor, the program will seek to enroll 15,000 members in Brooklyn and Staten Island within the first six months of launching.
Over 13,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in NYC Care since its initial launch in the Bronx in August 2019, surpassing the program’s original goal of 10,000 in the first six months, the Mayor’s Office said.
“In New York City, we believe that healthcare is a human right,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Already, NYC Care has brought 13,000 people in the Bronx access to quality, affordable health care. By expanding to Staten Island and Brooklyn, we can help even more New Yorkers get the care they need.”
The Mayor’s Office said that NYC Care is the new health care access program operated by NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H) for New Yorkers who are not eligible for insurance or who cannot afford it.
Since its launch in the Bronx, the Mayor’s Office said NYC Care has already begun to “dramatically change the way the City’s public health system connects people to primary, preventive and specialty care.”
To date, it said NYC Care’s 13,000 members have had over 27,000 provider visits, with over 20,000 prescriptions filled during new, extended pharmacy hours.
Effective last Friday, NYC Care membership is open to anyone who has lived in the city for at least six months, lives or wants to seek care in Brooklyn or Staten Island, and is currently uninsured.
The Mayor’s Office said all new NYC Care members will be offered a primary care appointment within two weeks from enrollment.
It said H+H patient care locations in Brooklyn and Staten have added new evening and weekend hours to accommodate members.
NYC Care applicants and members also have access to a 24/7 customer assistance line, where they can ask questions about NYC Care and speak to an on-call clinician for all of their needs, including prescription refills, the Mayor’s Office said.
In an effort to reach more New Yorkers eligible for NYC Care, it said nine community-based organizations (CBOs) will receive seven-month contracts through a partnership between NYC H+H, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City “to conduct culturally-appropriate outreach to prospective NYC Care members in Brooklyn and Staten Island.”
The nine community-based organizations – African Refuge, Brighton Neighborhood Association, Arab-American Family Support Center, Council of Peoples Organization (COPO), Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, Make the Road New York, Mixteca Organization, Project Hospitality and Single Stop – were selected through a request for proposal process, the Mayor’s Office said.
It said a total of 23 full-time outreach workers will conduct grassroots outreach in order to identify, engage, and refer uninsured New Yorkers for screening and enrollment in NYC Care.
Beginning last Friday, these CBOS started outreach efforts in 20 languages, such as Spanish, Russian, Haitian Creole, Polish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Arabic.
In addition, H+H is conducting a borough-wide multilingual public awareness campaign, including public transportation, the Staten Island Ferry and train, in-store posters, radio and street outreach in top targeted communities, the Mayor’s Office said.
It said there will also be significant multilingual digital advertisements and ethnic and community media engagement to reach those eligible for NYC Care.
As part of the campaign, the Mayor’s Office said New Yorkers can also learn more about the program by calling 646-NYC-CARE, as well as through a dedicated website at nyccare.nyc, where they can download brochures and other materials available in multiples languages.
“NYC Care is a pillar of the de Blasio administration’s commitment to health care for all New Yorkers, and today, we are unlocking access to health care for thousands of people in Brooklyn and Staten Island,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Raul Perea-Henze.
“With more than 13,000 members enrolled in the Bronx, NYC Care is making an impact for New Yorkers who need high-quality and affordable care, especially our immigrant communities,” he added. “Everyone eligible in Brooklyn and Staten Island is urged to enroll today, and to tell their families, friends and neighbors about NYC Care. I thank NYC Health + Hospitals, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and all our community partners for the ongoing success of NYC Care as we work to bring the program to every borough by the end of this year.”
“Starting today, New Yorkers in both Brooklyn and Staten Island will have much-needed access to high-quality, affordable, preventive care,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, on Friday. “This furthers our vision to fundamentally change the way our health care system connects those who are not eligible for health insurance to the high-quality health care we deliver to thousands of New Yorkers every day.”
“I am happy to see diverse community-based organizations including the Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) in my district, working collaboratively with the de Blasio Administration to ensure Brooklyn residents can access the healthcare that they need to improve their quality of life,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, the Haitian American representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
Haitian-born Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, whose 40th Council District juxtaposes Louis’s, said: “There is nothing more important than providing hardworking New Yorkers with access to quality affordable healthcare, regardless of socioeconomic status.
“I want to commend the de Blasio Administration and NYC Health and Hospitals on today’s launch of NYC Care in Brooklyn and Staten Island, because I believe it will have a profound impact on our great city’s ability to provide essential healthcare services to those who need them most,” he said.
“Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and we know of far too many cases of uninsured New Yorkers who are in need of medical treatment but cannot afford to see a doctor,” Eugene added. “With the launch of NYC Care, the City of New York is making a profound statement that we will work together to help underserved communities receive the medical resources they require, and I am most appreciative to the many community-based organizations who have worked very hard to make it a success.”
Updated 2:56 pm, February 7, 2020
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