NYC Care Reaches Major Milestone: 100,000TH Member Enrolled in Health Care Access Program, Credits Low-Cost and Free Services With Improving His Overall Quality of Life
New York, NY
NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that NYC Care, the system’s health care access program that guarantees free and low-cost services to New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance, had enrolled its 100,000th member. Fifty-four-year-old Jorge Lara developed severe arthritis after settling in New York City from his native Ecuador. Lara was forced to quit his job and depended on others for help when his arthritis became debilitating. He was not eligible for health insurance and with no income, could not afford to pay for medical costs out of pocket. He learned about NYC Care from a friend. Lara now receives primary and specialty care, which he credits with a dramatic improvement in his day-to-day life. This milestone builds on NYC Care’s mission 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. Approximately 81 percent of current NYC Care members live in the 33 neighborhoods identified by the NYC Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity as hardest hit by COVID-19. Those interested in the program can cal 646-NYC CARE (646-692-2273).
“Before my arthritis started I was fine. I worked, I did everything that ordinary people do,” said 100,000th NYC Care Member Jorge Lara. “But as soon as this disease came, everything changed. I couldn’t go out to meet with people anymore and I stopped eating my favorite foods. [Today, because of NYC Care,] I can still walk and now I can move around more. I feel calmer, I feel better because of the medications I receive.”
“Regardless of your immigration status, NYC Care is available to you and is another piece of the puzzle in ensuring that every New Yorker from our children to our seniors has affordable, accessible, and reliable healthcare coverage,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “I’m grateful to NYC Health + Hospitals for their leadership and partnership serving every New Yorker who comes through their doors and we celebrate the 100,000th member of this program.”
“NYC Care is one of the largest and most comprehensive initiatives to guarantee health care for New Yorkers, and it serves as a model for the rest of the nation,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “In the short time since we launched the program, we’ve connected more than 100,000 people to primary, preventive and specialty care that they might have never received. This speaks to the incredible need in our community. I am so proud of everyone who helped make this program a success and let’s keep working to help New Yorkers live their healthiest lives.”
“All New Yorkers need affordable, high-quality healthcare. The 100,000th member milestone reflects a profound desire uninsured New Yorkers have to be healthy and a trust in NYC Health + Hospitals to help them achieve that goal,” said NYC Care Interim Executive Director Jonathan Jimenez, MD. “Our chronic disease improvement metrics show we are already delivering. We will not rest until every New Yorker knows they have a right to healthcare in their city.”
“As the NYC Care program surpasses the 100K milestone, I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in this achievement – from our amazing city staff to our partner agencies and organizations,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro. “In my previous role as Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), I saw firsthand the impact of this program on immigrant New Yorkers who would otherwise not have access to timely and quality health care. As an immigrant, I too have experienced in my life the challenges of accessing healthcare, for myself and my family, and know how important a role NYC Care plays in delivering primary and preventive care is for immigrant communities. Now as Commissioner, I am excited to continue to work with the NYC Care team and our CBOs in leading the nation in recognizing healthcare as a human right.”
“Gotham Health clinics are conveniently located across the five boroughs, and provide high-quality, affordable care to our community,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health CEO Michelle Lewis. “With over 100,000 NYC Care members enrolled, I’m proud that Gotham Health has helped achieve this important milestone by connecting New Yorkers to essential primary care and specialty services.”
NYC Care members speak 46 different languages with Spanish being the most common (60 percent). Other top languages include English, Chinese, Russian and Polish. “I can access everything I need in my language,” Lara said. “Right now I have, for example, the MyChart application where everything is in order, where you can communicate with your doctor. I can see everything I should do and what I should not do in regards to my health.” NYC Care provides services in many languages, including written translations and in-person or telephonic interpretation. Currently, interpretation services are available in over 250 languages and dialects.
NYC Care continues to serve the city’s lowest-income community members, with 65 percent of members at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Recent data show that members are taking proactive steps to get and stay healthy:
To date, NYC Care members have had over 669,000 primary and specialty care appointments, including more than 76,000 telehealth appointments. Members have sought specialty care in areas such as gynecology, cardiology, surgery, ophthalmology and podiatry.
Approximately 90,000 members have had U.S. Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) – recommended cancer screenings – which may not have occurred without access through the program.
53 percent of members with diabetes enrolled in the program for at least 6 months have seen an improvement in their hemoglobin A1C readings.
Similarly, 40 percent of members with hypertension who have been enrolled in the program for at least 6 months have seen an improvement in their blood pressure.
“I enthusiastically congratulate NYC Care for rapidly reaching this healthcare milestone when it matters most to the people of our city,” said Council Member and City Council Hospitals Chair Mercedes Narcisse. “I thank Dr. Katz for his stewardship of this vital and innovative program which will ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorkers receive the medical care they so desperately need.”
“I’m so proud to be commemorating this incredible milestone with NYC Care,” said Council Member and City Council Immigration Chair Shahana Hanif. “For two and a half years, NYC Care has helped over 100,000 New Yorkers receive low, or no-cost, healthcare regardless of immigration status. As someone born and raised in the working-class immigrant neighborhood of Kensington, I’ve seen firsthand the difference NYC Care can make in someone’s life. For so many, NYC Care is their only option for healthcare and can be the missing thread in helping someone live a long and healthy life. I look forward to working in the City Council to coordinate NYC Care’s important work with community-based healthcare providers to ensure everyone in New York City is getting the healthcare they deserve.”
“All New Yorkers deserve access to healthcare, regardless of their immigration status” said Council Member and City Council Health Chair Lynn Schulman. “We are experiencing the biggest health crisis of our lifetime, which is why programs such as NYC Care are so vital. Celebrating the program’s 100,000th member is an important achievement in protecting the health and well-being of our communities.”
“Milestones gauge success, and NYC Care has now served 100,000 members since August of 2019,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan. “Healthcare is a human right, and NYC Care has guaranteed that right for so many New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. I pledge to continue working every day to ensure that we continue to expand access to life-saving healthcare in New York City.”
Partnerships with community based-organizations (CBOs) remain part of a broad strategy to conduct culturally-sensitive outreach to prospective members. NYC Care is currently working with 22 CBOs citywide to ensure all New Yorkers in need of access to health care are being connected to the program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the need for regular healthcare access to mitigate and prevent chronic conditions that become risk factors for infectious diseases like COVID-19,” said Mon Yuck Yu, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, Academy of Medical & Public Health Services. “Having NYC Care has meant that our community members no longer have to avoid care due to the fear of being unable to afford healthcare. The Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is proud to be a partner in reaching this milestone. NYC Care saves lives.”
“The Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) is proud to leverage our partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and NYC Health + Hospitals to bring affordable, culturally, and linguistically competent healthcare to all New Yorkers,” said Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President and CEO, Arab-American Family Support Center. “Today, we mark a critical milestone with 100,000 at-risk community members enrolled in NYC Care. AAFSC will not stop until all individuals, regardless of income, immigration status, or race have equitable access to healthcare.”
“At the Council of Peoples Organization, we firmly believe every New Yorker, regardless of their immigration status or socio-economic class, deserves universal and equitable access to healthcare,” said Mohammad Razvi, CEO, Council of Peoples Organization.” “We would like to take this moment to congratulate NYC Care for achieving 100,000 active enrolled participants in their program. This is just one of the reasons COPO is proud to partner and support NYC Care and their admirable cause of providing free, or low-cost primary care from top-notch providers for non-documented, and low-income individuals. COPO will continue to advocate for the rights of all New Yorkers, especially the marginalized.”
“The NYC Care program has ensured that residents of the NYC can have access to quality healthcare, regardless of their immigration status,” said ‘Toyin Omolola, CEO, International Inc. “Many lives in our African Communities have been preserved and we have an added layer of security especially during this Covid Pandemic. Our people need not suffer in silence anymore but can now come out of the shadows to receive adequate and quality care under this program.”
“We are very proud of the team at Emerald Isle Immigration Center (EIIC) who have helped to achieve this incredible milestone and are delighted to continue to partner with H+H on further success for NYC Care,” said Siobhán Dennehy, Executive Director, Emerald Isle Immigration Center.
“We are very excited! 100,000 New Yorkers got their primary care doctors!” said Sara Kim, Program Director, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, Inc. “On behalf of Korean Community Services, we are grateful for assisting uninsured residents to access NYC Care, which brings them health and wellness.”
“We are proud to work alongside our city and other advocates as the NYC Care Program announces it has reached 100,000 active enrolled members. The NYC Care program has already gone, and will continue to go, a long way in increasing access to healthcare services for immigrants and low-income communities,” said Becca Telzak, Deputy Director, Make the Road New York. “At a time when immigrant communities have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and struggle accessing ongoing care, NYC Care stands as a symbol that all New Yorkers are welcome and valued in our City. The model of partnering with community-based organizations to conduct outreach and enrollment for this program has been crucial to build trust within the immigrant community and to educate community members about NYC Care. We look forward to continuing this partnership to ensure that immigrants are able to access affordable, quality healthcare services.”
“Our community often waits until health ailments become emergencies before seeking medical attention due to cost concerns as well as the perceived barriers of their immigration status,” said Diana Moreno, Interim Executive Director, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “Thanks to our partnership with NYC Care, we have improved the lives of hundreds of NICE members who now have access to quality preventative health care. Our partnership is saving lives! Thank you, NYC Care, for providing affordable, quality healthcare for immigrant New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact New Yorkers, NYC Care’s work has never been more important. When underserved communities are connected to high-quality, comprehensive health care, our city becomes healthier and more equitable,” said Lisa David, President and CEO, Public Health Solutions. “We are proud to leverage our wide-reaching networks of community-based organizations to ensure eligible New Yorkers are making the most of NYC Care’s critical offerings.”
“Sauti Yetu Center for African Women is pleased to have partnered with NYC Care since 2019 to improve access to health coverage,” said Hager Shawkat, Program Director of Community Wellness, Sauti Yetu Center for African Women.” “Through NYC Care, our African and other immigrant community members have been able to access life-changing, affordable primary care and improve the quality of their lives. We look forward to reaching the next 100,000 members.”
“SACSS congratulates NYC Health + Hospitals for enrolling 100,000 members into NYC Care!” said Sudha Acharya, Executive Director, South Asian Council for Social Services. “This is a testament to our leadership, dedication, and teamwork. Thanks to this critical program, we will continue to enroll and educate underserved individuals and families of our great City.”
To enroll in NYC Care, New Yorkers can call 1-646-NYC-CARE. For more information, visit www.nyccare.nyc.
NYC Care became available at NYC Health + Hospitals locations in the Bronx starting in August 2019. NYC Care is now available in all five boroughs.