NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that NYC Care, the de Blasio administration’s health care access program to fulfill its commitment of guaranteed health care for all New Yorkers regardless of income or immigration status, surpassed 50,000 currently enrolled members across the five boroughs. The program continues to fulfill its mission to dramatically change the way the City’s public health care system connects the most vulnerable New Yorkers to primary and specialty care. This milestone builds on the program’s enhanced efforts to reach more New Yorkers in the communities hardest-hit by COVID-19 to ensure they receive comprehensive access to health care. The impact of the virus has been more significant on New Yorkers in these communities who are not eligible or cannot afford health insurance. Since the beginning of the pandemic, NYC Care has added over 34,000 members, and approximately 61 percent of current members live in the 33 neighborhoods identified by the NYC Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity as hardest hit by COVID-19.
“This milestone is important as we understand the critical role we play in supporting recovery and care and continue to navigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable communities and populations,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “We are deeply committed to supporting the health and well-being of all those we serve now more than ever as New York City moves forward.”
“We are excited that more than 50,000 NYC Care members have access to quality healthcare in communities bearing the brunt of the pandemic, and as we continue to fight COVID-19, making sure every New Yorker has access to quality and comprehensive care, regardless of their income or immigration status, has only become more critical,” said NYC Care Executive Director Marielle Kress.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NYC Care has played a critical role in ensuring that immigrant New Yorkers, who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance, are empowered to seek the care and support they need without fear,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Bitta Mostofi. “Immigration status should never be a barrier to accessing quality, affordable health care. This milestone reflects the critical importance of this program to the health of our city and the tremendous work of NYC Care’s community-based partner organizations to connect hard-to-reach communities with this resource.”
NYC Care was launched in August of 2019 as part of the de Blasio administration’s largest and most comprehensive plan in the nation to guarantee health care for every New Yorker. Besides targeting New Yorkers who are not eligible or cannot afford health insurance with NYC Care, significant efforts have also been made to enroll more New Yorkers in NYC’s public health insurance option, MetroPlus.
“As the pandemic has progressed, we have seen our membership grow to over 600,000 New Yorkers, an increase of nearly 20 percent – indicative of the increasingly urgent need for access to affordable health care,” said Talya Schwartz, MD, MetroPlus Health President and CEO. “We are pleased to see NYC Care reach this significant milestone, as we all work collectively to address the needs of NYC’s most vulnerable residents.”
“Reliable access to quality primary care is the foundation of any strong, modern medical system. I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals on reaching this important milestone in the NYC Care rollout,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Committee on Hospitals. “Today we celebrate NYC Care’s present successes and I look forward to celebrating the program’s continued expansion as we work to deliver access to primary care to all New Yorkers, regardless of neighborhood, citizenship or insurance status.”
“More than ever we need to prioritize resources for the communities hardest hit by COVID-19. Hypertension and diabetes are among the conditions that not only impact Black and Latino communities at a higher rate, these conditions also increase their risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. This milestone underscores the need and importance for vulnerable New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, to have increased access to primary and preventive care as we work to combat this pandemic,” said NYC Council Member Francisco Moya, District 21 in Queens.
“Access to quality and affordable healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and I want to commend NYC Health + Hospitals for their dedication to making NYC Care an important resource for underserved New Yorkers. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgent need for healthcare equity across the New York City cannot be overstated, especially for those who have chronic medical conditions. It is critical that the City of New York continues to use its resources to enroll all qualified residents in this program, and help more people get access to the healthcare services they need. The success of this initiative will have a significant impact on how we, as a city, are able to strengthen our healthcare system, and I want to thank all of the healthcare advocates who have worked tirelessly to make NYC Care a success,” said NYC Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
NYC Care continues to serve the City’s lowest-income community members, with 66 percent of members under 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and over 94 percent under 200 percent FPL. Recent data show that members are taking proactive steps to get and stay healthy:
- More than 50 percent of patients enrolled in NYC Care today are receiving primary care at Health + Hospitals for the first time.
- To date, NYC Care members have had over 250,000 primary and specialty care appointments, including 75,000 telehealth appointments since March 2020. Members have sought specialty care in areas such as gynecology, ophthalmology, and podiatry, demonstrating that the program is providing vital access to women’s health services and specialties to monitor and prevent long term diabetic complications.
- Members have had over 35,000 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – recommended cancer screenings – which may not have occurred without access through the program.
- While NYC Care members have nearly twice the prevalence of diabetes compared to the overall US population, 43 percent of the members with diabetes enrolled in the program for at least 6 months have seen an improvement in their A1C readings and 57 percent now have well-controlled diabetes.
- Similarly, 51 percent of NYC Care members with hypertension who have been enrolled in the program for at least 6 months have seen an improvement in their blood pressure readings and 55 percent now have well-controlled hypertension.
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 30 CBOs citywide to ensure all New Yorkers in need of access to health care are being connected to the program. To facilitate easier access to the program, eight CBOs have been authorized to facilitate direct enrollment of members in NYC Care by enrollers who are certified to assist New Yorkers with the New York State of Health application process. Those CBOS are Alliance for Positive Change, Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC), Korean Community Services (KCS), Make the Road NY, Single Stop, Voces Latinas, South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), and MinKwon Center for Community Action.
“As a partner of NYC Care and an essential social service provider, the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) is committed to bringing affordable, culturally, and linguistically competent healthcare to the most marginalized New Yorkers, including immigrants and refugees. Through our role as a direct enrollment site, AAFSC is proud to leverage our trusted relationship with the community to promote equitable access to care,” said Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President and CEO, Arab-American Family Support Center.
“Make the Road New York applauds the efforts of the NYC Care program to enroll over 50,000 New Yorkers during a time when access to affordable, quality healthcare is extremely critical. The partnership with community-based organizations to conduct outreach and directly enroll individuals into the program is essential to the program’s success. Community based organizations are deeply connected to community members and can help eliminate barriers and educate them about the program while also facilitating the enrollment. We look forward to continuing to partner on this project to ensure that immigrants are connected to crucial healthcare services,” said Arline Cruz, Associate Director of Health Programs, Make the Road NY.
Single Stop is proud to play such a pivotal role in enrolling New Yorkers into NYC Care. This work is especially meaningful during a pandemic when health disparities have been heightened. Many of the individuals we serve with this program would not otherwise have access to the high-quality healthcare that NYC Care provides. We are committed doing our part to ensure that New Yorkers can access this innovative, affordable, and life-changing program,” said German Tejeda, Director of Wraparound Services, Single Stop.
“Voces Latinas congratulates NYC Care for the success launching services in Queens. We are so proud to represent our community and be able to connect some of the hardest populations to reach in Queens. We’re even prouder to be a Direct Enrollment site facilitating a smoother process for our clients to connect to care,” said Voces Latinas Executive Director Nathaly Rubio-Torio, LMSW. “With consistent outreach, easy access, accurate information, and services available regardless of immigration status, trust has been established among restaurant workers, day laborers, LGBTQ, survivors of violence, and many more. As a result, our staff has successfully connected 419 individuals to NYC Care in the last 4 months.”
“SACSS has always advocated for a comprehensive health coverage plan for all regardless of immigration status. NYC Care has changed many lives. It has given people access to medical care that many did not have before. Especially in these testing times when access to healthcare is a key to survival. SACSS is proud to be part of NYC Care,” said Sudha Acharya, Executive Director, SACSS.
“Ever since the introduction of the NYC Care direct enrollment, community members, especially those who are undocumented, are able to quickly get the health benefits they need. The process of applying for NYC Care through direct enrollment and one of KCS’ Korean-speaking navigators has made it easier and faster for community members to enroll in NYC Care,” said Jessica Lee, Health Care Navigator, Korean Community Services.
“At MinKwon Center, a Korean American non-profit in Flushing, Queens, we have been able to support over 30 folks who are low-income and face barriers to accessing healthcare due to language and immigration status successfully enroll in NYC Care through direct enrollment. We continue to receive calls for help enrolling in NYC Care. It is a great program that allows access to health care to those not eligible for regular health insurance, without fear of immigration-related repercussions such as Public Charge,” said Hanna Jo, Community Health Navigator, MinKwon Center for Community Action.
NYC Care members speak over 46 different languages with Spanish being the most common with nearly 55 percent identifying as Spanish-speaking. Other top languages include English, Russian, Polish, and Chinese.
To enroll in NYC Care, New Yorkers can call 1-646-NYC-CARE. For more information, visit nyccare.nyc.