NYC Care: 5,000 New Yorkers Receiving Accessible and Affordable Health Care Oct 04, 2019

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that NYC Care, a health care access program that is a key component of Mayor Bill de Blasio's commitment to guarantee accessible and affordable health care for all New Yorkers, has enrolled more than 5,000 New Yorkers in the Bronx since the August 1 program launch in the borough. The program is on track to meet the Bronx enrollment goal of 10,000 patients in the first six months. In addition, 100 percent of members enrolled in NYC Care continue to be offered a first appointment within two weeks with a primary care provider, and there have been nearly 3,000 low-cost prescriptions filled during the new extended pharmacy hours that are a part of the program. After its successful implementation in the Bronx, NYC Care will launch in Brooklyn and Staten Island in January 2020. In preparation for the launch, the public health system has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to partner with community-based organizations (CBOs) in both boroughs to help engage prospective NYC Care members.

"In New York City, we're making guaranteed health care a reality," said Mayor de Blasio. "Health care is a basic right and with NYC Care, we are ensuring that right for working people across our City, and setting a nationwide model of what it means to provide low-cost, affordable health care."

"I'm proud that we are already half-way to our goal of 10,000 members in the Bronx just two months into the program," said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. "This further demonstrates how necessary it is to make high-quality, affordable healthcare accessible to New Yorkers who often are not given a viable option to live their healthiest lives."

"Over 5,000 people in the Bronx are connected to primary care, low-cost prescriptions, and a new member experience through NYC Care" said NYC Care Executive Director Marielle Kress. "This program helped a mother who has had ear pain for years get connected with a specialist and a person who couldn't afford insurance get a primary care doctor. It helps thousands of patients who need same-day access to medications avoid going to the emergency room. We are excited to bring these same benefits to Brooklyn and Staten Island."

NYC Care is the new no- or low-cost health care access program of NYC Health + Hospitals for New Yorkers who are not eligible for insurance or who cannot afford it. The program, which is now operating in the Bronx and will be available citywide by the end of 2020, is expected to dramatically change the way the City's public health system connects people to personalized, coordinated primary and preventive care at its 70-plus patient care locations throughout the five boroughs, including 11 hospitals and its Gotham Health Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) network. NYC Care offers affordable medications day or night, culturally responsive care, extensive language access and interpretation services, and provides new 24/7 customer service support. Eligible New Yorkers can enroll by calling 646-NYC-CARE to meet with a financial counselor at a health system patient care site and receive a personalized NYC Care membership card in the mail.

As part of outreach efforts, community based organizations BronxWorks, Emerald Isle, Mekong, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, and Sauti Yetu Center for African Women have been conducting culturally appropriate outreach to prospective NYC Care members in the Bronx as part of their partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals as of the August launch. In addition, NYC Health + Hospital launched a borough-wide multilingual advertisement campaign including public transportation, neighborhood locations, social media and LinkNYC terminals.

The RFP for Brooklyn and Staten Island community-based organizations can be found on the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City webpage. Approximately 27.8 percent of Brooklynites and 2.7 percent of Staten Island residents are not eligible for health insurance and therefore would benefit from NYC Care.

Of the current members, nearly 70 percent are between 30 and 59 years of age, and 61.8 percent are Spanish speakers. Over 70 percent of members are below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Sixty-one percent of current members identify as female.

"The successful launch of NYC Care in the Bronx opened the door to health care that had previously been closed to so many," said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "With the release of a request for proposals to engage community-based organizations to lead outreach efforts in Brooklyn and Staten Island, we will work alongside additional community partners to connect even more New Yorkers to the care they need, regardless of their ability to pay and regardless of immigration status."

"NYC Care's launch in the Bronx has been a resounding success and is already helping thousands of New Yorkers access the important healthcare they need and deserve," said Mayor's Public Engagement Unit Director Omar Khan. "I'm proud that GetCoveredNYC, through its existing proactive outreach to uninsured New Yorkers, is helping community members enroll in NYC Care, regardless of their ability to pay or their immigration status. We will continue engaging uninsured New Yorkers until everyone has access to quality, affordable care."

"The NYC Care program has achieved this enrollment milestone in the Bronx because it addresses a critical need for simple connections to free and low-cost primary and preventive care," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. "I commend the NYC Health and Hospitals system for welcoming every New Yorker in need of an affordable, accessible health care program and helping us reduce emergency room visits for those who have nowhere else to go. I look forward to more New Yorkers enjoying access to this innovative program in Brooklyn and Staten Island."

"Healthcare is a human right, and I support the Mayor's office's efforts to help vulnerable New Yorkers access healthcare," said State Senator Julia Salazar. "I am excited to see Brooklynites benefit from NYC Care and look forward to working with the Mayor's office to make this program as successful as possible. I hope that this program will be a first step towards universal healthcare that is free at the point of care in New York City and New York State."

"With 5,000 people enrolled in the first two months, NYC Care is off to a vigorous start in the Bronx, which too often struggles with some of the worst health indicators in the nation, said State Senator Luis Sepúlveda." "I commend the Mayor's Office for their work in expanding health care to so many more New Yorkers in need, particularly the most marginalized among us."

"Enrolling in NYC Care helps previously uninsured New Yorkers access primary care and prescription drugs in a timely manner, avoiding more dangerous and expensive complications down the line," said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. "These enrollment numbers show the clear need for the program, and I commend Mayor de Blasio and Dr. Mitch Katz, president of H+H, for their work in the Bronx and commitment to expanding the program to Brooklyn and Staten Island in the next phase."

"Brooklyn welcomes NY Care because it will afford health care for those who cannot afford or are ineligible for insurance," said Assistant Speaker Felix W Ortiz. "Residents will be able to use their NYC Care Card with their own doctor, get preventative screenings and tests, and connect to a full time service to make appointments. This is a major progressive step forward."

"For the many people who avoid going to doctors and place themselves at risk because they can't afford the high cost of health insurance, NYC Care is a potentially lifesaving initiative with far-reaching benefits for New Yorkers and their families," said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz ."I look forward to this program's expansion to Brooklyn and encourage all eligible residents to take advantage of it."

"Health care is a basic human right. Every New Yorker, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status should have accessible and reliable health care. NYC Care has already established and will continue to provide essential health care services to all New Yorker's, not only short-term but more importantly long-term. I look forward to assisting the city administration and NYC Health + Hospitals in their outreach efforts and establishment of community-based organizations here on Staten Island. Were in this together," said Assemblyman Charles D. Fall.

"Health insurance is one of the single biggest expenses for New Yorkers. Sadly, many New Yorkers must forego insurance because the costs are unmanageable. NYC Care will continue to ensure that preventative care is a priority so that New Yorkers can deal with health problems head on. No one should have to think twice about going to a doctor to get care or having the ability to get a prescription filled. I welcome NYC Care to Brooklyn and applaud the Mayor on this great initiative," said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol.

"I'm thrilled to see that the NYC Care program has been a huge success in The Bronx because access to high quality health care is a human right even if someone cannot afford health insurance. Let's keep the momentum up and continue to spread the word until we've reached the goal of 10,000 Bronx members. Thank you to NYC Health + Hospitals and to all who are working so hard to provide these vital services to vulnerable members of our community," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"The strong start to NYC Care shows the enormous potential of this program, and the desperate need it's meeting for New Yorkers who lack health insurance," said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Committee on Health. "I look forward to the continued growth and expansion of this vital initiative–so that no one in our city ever again has to go without primary medical care."

"In just two months, NYC Care has been successful in enrolling more than 5,000 Bronxites, demonstrating how needed health insurance is in our community. I congratulate Health + Hospitals for their progress thus far and look forward to this initiative being expanded to other boroughs so more New Yorkers can be connected to the high-quality, comprehensive care they deserve," said Council Member Diana Ayala, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction.

"Access to healthcare shouldn't be dependent on an individual's income or status, yet it is becoming increasingly out of reach for millions of individuals in our country. The high enrollment in NYC Care proves that there is a need for quality, affordable healthcare specially in the Bronx. Whoever needs access to healthcare services should consider NYC Care," said Councilman Ritchie Torres.

NYC Care Program – an amazingly innovative approach that provides health care to individuals that do not qualify for health insurance nor can afford to pay outrages medical bills is truly welcomed, said Council Member Andy King. "Thank you for finding a creative solution to taking care of people who are not able to afford high medical bills!"

"I am thrilled that we have been able to enroll 5,000 Bronxites into NYC Care in only two months!" said NYC Council Member Andrew Cohen. "I am immensely proud to live in a City that values providing no- or low-cost health care access to New Yorkers that are unable to obtain or afford insurance. The surge in enrollment since the program started is a testament to the need for high quality, affordable health care access and I commend the Mayor and NYC Health + Hospitals for their dedication to this amazing program."

"Quality health care is a human right. The needs around primary care are stark in Brooklyn and our borough stands to benefit immensely from NYC Care. It is my hope that this collective of community-specific programs will bring targeted, tailored health care services to the places that need it most. I encourage the incredible health care stakeholders in our community to apply to partner with NYC Care to help develop truly accessible programming— we hold the tools to build an equitable system that works for everyone," said Council Member Farah N. Louis.

"We are excited to see NYC Care move closer to fulfilling its mission of being a citywide program for all uninsured New Yorkers," said Max Hadler, Director of Health Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition. "Strong enrollment and engagement – even in the face of relentless attacks from the Trump administration on New York's immigrant communities – demonstrate the power of the inclusive message that accessible health care is a right for all."

"The NYC Care program is enabling us to connect our clients and community with new expanded health care options with respect and dignity," said Juan Grajeda, Emerald Isle Immigration Center Bilingual Program Manager.

"Supporting Bronx residents is intrinsic to our mission statement and work. BronxWorks remains committed to helping ensure that our Bronx neighbors are aware of affordable, comprehensive healthcare options" said Eileen Torres, Executive Director, Bronx Works.


Contact: City Hall Press Office, 212-788-2958