The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU) and NYC Health + Hospitals hosted a “Healthcare Week of Action” last week to connect New Yorkers across the five boroughs to NYC Care and GetCoveredNYC and to encourage them to access healthcare. NYC Care is the city healthcare access program for those who aren’t eligible or can’t afford health insurance. GetCoveredNYC offers New Yorkers free assistance to enroll in health coverage. The Week of Action will be supported by PEU’s GetCoveredNYC Specialists, CUNY interns, and NYC Care’s community-based organization partners. The NYC Care partners helped schedule on-site appointments with NYC Care specialists, encouraging eligible New Yorkers to take the first step toward making primary care appointments. The outreach events were held in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, with a culminating event at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. In New York City, healthcare is a human right regardless of immigration status or income.
This “Healthcare Week of Action” ended with a closeout event at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst featuring health screenings and COVID-19 testing, and additional resources from NYC Care, GetCoveredNYC, MetroPlusHealth, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and other partners. Queens was selected for the closeout event as it is the borough with the highest number of NYC Care members, as well as the highest number of eligible enrollees. The speaking program featured Mayor Eric Adams, Executive Director of PEU Adrienne Lever, 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. The speakers reinforced the message that healthcare is a human right, and that the well-being of New York City depends on the well-being of all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
“Here in New York City, we believe that health care 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.”
“PEU’s mission is to proactively engage New Yorkers and connect them to critical benefits and services, including affordable, quality healthcare,” said Adrienne Lever, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU). “The reason we do this work is that 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. I am so thrilled to be here at Elmhurst with our partners at NYC Care, Health and Hospitals, and of course our mayor, Eric Adams for this week of action promoting healthcare options, while expanding our outreach capacity with our incredible CUNY interns as they launch their careers in public service.”
“In New York City, healthcare is a human right. With our exciting Week of Action, just before NYC Care’s third birthday, we pounded the pavement together to ensure New Yorkers know they have access to healthcare,” said Dr. Jonathan Jiménez, Executive Director of NYC Care from NYC Health + Hospitals. “Thank you to Mayor Eric Adams, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, our community-based partners, and the CUNY Benefits Corps interns for partnering to share NYC Care and GetCoveredNYC across the five boroughs. We encourage all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay, to make their primary care appointment. Together we can ensure each New Yorker lives their longest, healthiest life.”
“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.”
In the words of speaker Tania Navas, PEU GetCoveredNYC Specialist, “The GetCoveredNYC team is here to help you to understand, to educate you about the healthcare options. So, if one day you receive a phone call from us, or if you see us in your neighborhood, please be assured we are reaching out to help.”
The week of action also 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, who will be on-site offering free comprehensive benefits screening to New Yorkers at tabling locations in all five boroughs using the ACCESS NYC screening tool. Throughout the summer, Benefits Corps interns are taking part in PEU’s core outreach work using innovative and grassroots outreach strategies, including phone calls, peer-to-peer text messaging, and canvassing, to meet New Yorkers in their communities and connect them to critical City, State, and Federal resources. They are distributing informational materials on a range of topics over the course of the summer, from tenant’s rights and resources to health insurance enrollment and COVID-19 vaccines.
On the eve of NYC Care’s three-year anniversary, the program has over 110,000 members. NYC Care members made 879,969 primary and specialty care appointments including 86503 telehealth appointments. 67% have one or more chronic conditions and 18% have a cancer diagnosis. 50% of members with diabetes and 42% of members with hypertension have seen an improvement in their blood sugar and blood pressure, respectively, after six months in the program. NYC Care recently eliminated a six-month residency requirement, and recent arrivals can now enroll as soon as they decide to make New York City their home.