Mayor de Blasio Announces Plan to Guarantee Health Care for All New Yorkers Aug 01, 2019

The de Blasio Administration today launched NYC Care, a key component of Mayor Bill de Blasio's commitment to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers, by offering quality and affordable health care for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are not eligible for insurance or who cannot afford it. With today's launch of NYC Care in the Bronx, eligible New Yorkers in that borough are able to begin their enrollment process by calling 646-NYC-CARE and receiving a personalized NYC Care membership card in the mail.

Today's launch gives New Yorkers in that borough access to a dedicated primary care provider, allows them to receive preventive care and routine screenings, gives them access to specialty care services, allows them to make appointments and navigate their health care needs through a new 24/7 customer service center. New Yorkers will also get access to affordable medications day or night. The customized membership card will also detail the specific discounted costs for primary care, specialty visits, and prescription drugs for each member based on household size and income. All services are provided by NYC Health + Hospitals and all information about patient care and treatment is kept private and confidential in accordance with the law.

"Health care is a human right, and New York City is leading the way in making that right a reality for all," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "The launch of NYC Care means thousands of New Yorkers will now have access to quality, affordable care when they need it, helping keep all New Yorkers – starting with those in the Bronx – healthier."

"Today's launch affirms New York City's commitment to ensuring every New Yorker has access to the health care they need – and that includes mental health," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "New York is pioneering a better, more inclusive approach and will continue to lead the nation in providing behavioral health services for every person in our city."

"In this city we believe that health care is a human right, not a privilege," said Dr. Herminia Palacio Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. "NYC Care will unlock the door to the City's health care that had been closed to so many. Starting today, Bronxites will have access to high quality primary care and low cost medications at Health + Hospital locations. Guaranteeing health care for all New Yorkers will improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities."

"In preparation for NYC Care, NYC Health + Hospitals has spent the last two years making systemic changes to modernize its operations and stabilize its finances," said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. "These changes will allow us to have a greater focus on primary care, and they will fundamentally change the way our health 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."

"With the launch of NYC Care, we are one step closer to realizing a truly inclusive vision of health care for all New Yorkers," said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "In partnership with dedicated, multilingual community-based organizations, we are excited to help connect thousands of New Yorkers to the health care they need, regardless of their ability to pay and regardless of immigration status."

"Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental right that all New Yorkers deserve, regardless of income or immigration status," said Omar Khan, Director of the Mayor's Public Engagement Unit. "I am excited that PEU's GetCoveredNYC staff will play an integral role in partnering with NYC Care to help New Yorkers receive that care and ensure that our communities are healthier."

"It is critically important that Bronx residents and New Yorkers in general, especially in underserved communities, have access to healthcare services. I appreciate the mayor's office and the Health & Hospitals Corporation launching NYC Care in The Bronx, and I encourage my constituents who need health coverage to get themselves enrolled," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"In January Mayor de Blasio made a huge commitment to New Yorkers to expand upon its already strong public health program to improve access to healthcare services for everyone, regardless of their immigration status. Today we are proud to stand alongside our city and advocates for the launch of the NYC Care Program. This program will go a long way in increasing access to healthcare services for immigrants and low income communities and is a symbol that all New Yorkers are welcome and valued in our City. We look forward to working with the administration and Health + Hospitals to get the word out about this initiative and are looking forward to this ongoing partnership as the program is expanded citywide," said Becca Telzak, Director of Health Programs at Make the Road New York.

"We are thrilled to stand with the Mayor's Office and NYC Health + Hospitals as we collectively launch NYC Care," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "At a time when immigrant communities are under constant attack from Washington, New York City is taking an important step to improve access to healthcare for all its residents. With NYC Care, we are making clear: Everyone is welcome in this city, and everyone should have access to the care they need, when they need it."

In January 2019, Mayor de Blasio announced the launch of the largest, most comprehensive initiative in the nation to guarantee health care for every New Yorker. When fully implemented, New York City will ensure the estimated 600,000 New Yorkers currently without insurance are connected to health care – including NYC's Public Option, MetroPlus – or have direct access to the nation's largest public health care system through the NYC Care program. Of the 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers, approximately half of them are currently ineligible for health insurance or unable to afford it based on the Affordable Care Act definition, and would be eligible to enroll in NYC Care. The $100 million program will be implemented in all five boroughs by the end of 2020, ensuring that all New Yorkers to have the health care access they need.

NYC Care MEMBERSHIP ENROLLMENT

Beginning today, NYC Care membership will be open to anyone who has lived in New York City for six months or longer and cannot afford or does not qualify for health insurance. These New Yorkers can initially receive their care at one of seven patient care sites in the Bronx.

  • Existing patients of NYC Health + Hospitals who have been screened for health insurance or have been found not eligible within the last six months can call 646-NYC-CARE to enroll and be fast tracked. The call center will confirm a NYC address and help the member select a primary care provider and get a care appointment if needed.
  • New Yorkers who are not existing NYC Health + Hospitals patients can make an appointment with an NYC Health + Hospitals insurance counselor by calling 646-NYC Care. The patient will be screened for insurance eligibility and their length of time living in NYC.

For all its patients, NYC Health + Hospitals does not store immigration status as a part of its electronic medical record system. NYC Care membership data, like all NYC Health + Hospital patient data, is protected under federal law and cannot and will not be released under any circumstances.

NYC Care MEMBER BENEFITS

  • A dedicated primary care provider: NYC Care members can choose a primary care provider who will learn about a patient's medical history and health goals and provide continuity of care.
  • Initial primary care appointment within two weeks: NYC Care members who are new patients to NYC Health + Hospitals will be able to secure a primary care appointment within two weeks from enrollment. Patient care facilities in the Bronx have added new evening and weekend hours to accommodate members. There will be more than 70 primary care providers across NYC Health + Hospitals' seven patient care sites in the Bronx seeing members.
  • 24/7 customer assistance: NYC Care members 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. Members will also be able to schedule appointments at convenient times and will have assistance to help navigate members through the NYC Health + Hospitals system.
  • Expanded pharmacy hours: NYC Care members will have 24/7 access to medications in the Bronx. This includes expanded pharmacy hours at all five pharmacies in the Bronx. Until now, uninsured patients have been limited to NYC Health + Hospital pharmacy access during business hours, which makes it challenging for patients to get their medications if they are at work. After hours, patients will have access to one 24-hour CVS pharmacy in the North Bronx for urgent medication needs.
  • Dedicated membership card: The blue and orange card features the city skyline as part of the NYC Care logo and the tagline "Your Key to the City's Health Care." All members will receive this card, which will be the key to providing members with valuable information. NYC Care's logo "Your Key to The City's Health Care" is a joint effort between City Hall and Area 23, an FCB Health Network company. This is the first project assigned by NYC's Creative Council, recently formed to advise and provide the city with creative solutions. Susan Credle, FCB's Global Chief Creative Officer, is a founding member of the council.

REACHING ELIGIBLE NYC Care MEMBERS

NYC Health + Hospital has a multi-pronged strategy to reach NYC Care-eligible New Yorkers:

Partnerships: Working jointly with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City to engage key constituencies and thought leaders to reach potentially eligible New Yorkers. NYC Health + Hospitals is also leveraging GetCoveredNYC's existing outreach to uninsured New Yorkers in the Bronx to refer eligible people to NYC Care for enrollment.

Working with the city's Public Option, MetroPlus: As the city's public health insurance option, MetroPlus plays a critical role in connecting New Yorkers to affordable health insurance. MetroPlus's network of locations provide another access point for potentially eligible NYC Care members. New Yorkers who apply for insurance and are found ineligible or are unable to afford any options will be directed to NYC Care.

Outreach with Community-based Organizations: The health system has contracted with five community based organizations to do outreach. These organizations will identify, recruit, and refer uninsured New Yorkers for screening and enrollment in NYC Care. The five CBOs are:

  • BronxWorks
  • Emerald Isle
  • Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
  • Mekong NYC
  • Sauti Yetu Center for African Women

As part of the outreach effort, there will be 15 full-time outreach workers who will conduct direct, grass-roots outreach to targeted population in a culturally appropriate and sensitive manner and make appointments with NYC Care enrollment staff. In preparation for the launch of NYC Care, staff from NYC Health + Hospitals and the Mayor's Public Engagement Unit have done individual outreach to thousands of potentially eligible New Yorkers and helped them begin the enrollment process.

Public Awareness Campaign: The campaign consists of advertising, initially in English and Spanish followed by additional languages, including Bengali, French, Haitian Creole, Armenian and Arabic, in key neighborhoods in the Bronx and near all NYC Health + Hospital facilities, including public transportation, neighborhood locations, and LinkNYC terminals. There will also be significant multilingual digital advertisement and ethnic and community media engagement to reach those eligible for NYC Care. As part of the campaign, New Yorkers can also learn more about the program through a dedicated website at nycare.nyc where they can download brochures and other materials available in multiples languages.

NYC Health + Hospital, in conjunction with the Mayor's Creative Council, partnered with Area 23 to develop the insightful creative concepts of the campaign that bands NYC Care as "the key to the city's health care" services and urges New Yorkers to "unlock" their right to guaranteed health care with dignity and respect. Area 23 is one of the top health advertising agencies in the world, and it worked pro bono to develop the concepts.

WORKFORCE RECRUITMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

NYC Health + Hospitals actively prepared for the launch of NYC Care by taking steps to hire dedicated patient teams, including 37 new primary care providers system wide. With the full NYC Care rollout there will be a total of more than 60 new primary care teams. Each of the physicians will have team of nurses, patient coordinators, and other clinical staff to assist NYC Care members be the healthiest they can be.

HEALTH INSURANCE ENROLLMENT UPDATES

As part of the its mission to ensure every New Yorker has access to quality, affordable health care, the City has doubled down on its outreach to connect eligible New Yorkers to health insurance options that fit their needs. Since its creation in November 2016, GetCoveredNYC – which is overseen by the Mayor's Public Engagement Unit – has now helped more than 190,000 New Yorkers enroll in the New York State's Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace. About 2.5 million New York City residents are now insured through the state's insurance marketplace as of January 2019, according to the New York State Department of Health's county-level data on health insurance enrollment.

GetCoveredNYC
GetCoveredNYC, the City's health insurance outreach and enrollment program, has enrolled more than 34,000 New Yorkers in health care coverage from February through June 2019, exceeding Mayor de Blasio's stated goal of enrolling 31,000 New Yorkers by July 2019. Since the Mayor signed Executive Order 40: Connecting New Yorkers to Health Insurance, GetCoveredNYC has collaborated with more than 35 City agencies on outreach and enrollment opportunities that make it easier for New Yorkers to determine their eligibility for coverage, especially outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period, and sign up for insurance.

MetroPlus, the City's Public Option
MetroPlus provides affordable health insurance that connects insurance-eligible New Yorkers to a network of providers that includes NYC Health + Hospitals' 70 patient care sites, including 11 hospitals. MetroPlus serves as an affordable, quality option for people on Medicaid, Medicare, and those purchasing insurance on the exchange.

In May, MetroPlus launched its latest public awareness advertising campaign, "Health Care is Your Right Not a Privilege," available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Polish and Russian. The campaign's platforms included subway cars, bus shelters near NYC/Health + Hospitals locations, ethnic and community-based print media, and it was featured at other venues across New York City, including Brooklyn Cyclones games. The ads were available in eight languages, including

NYC Care NOW AVAILABLE AT THESE NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS FACILITIES IN THE BRONX

Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, 1400 Pelham Parkway South, Bronx, NY 10461
NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, 234 East 149th Street, Bronx, NY 10451
NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx, 3424 Kossuth Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467

Neighborhood Health Centers
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania, 1225 Gerard Avenue, Bronx, NY 10452
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Belvis, 545 East 142nd Street, Bronx, NY 10454
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gunhill, 1012 East Gunhill Road. Bronx, NY 10469
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Tremont, 1826 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY

"Mayor de Blasio and the team behind NYC Care have it exactly right: health care is a right, not a privilege. While we continue the fight for universal health care, or Medicare for All, at the federal level, its reassuring to know our city is taking the initiative to provide quality health care to those in need," said Rep. Eliot Engel.

"Quality healthcare is a human right that belongs to everyone – not just the people who can afford the rising costs of insurance and prescription drugs. NYC Care will provide Bronx residents, who are ineligible for or cannot afford insurance, with access to the critical health services they need for free or at a low cost. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and the work of NYC Health + Hospitals to provide New Yorkers with the necessary coverage to keep our communities healthy," said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.

"Access to healthcare is a basic human right, regardless of income or status, and I am thrilled that thousands of New Yorkers who cannot afford or are ineligible for health insurance will now have the opportunity to enroll in NYC Care," State Senator Jose Serrano. "Studies have shown that primary and preventative care helps people live healthier, longer lives by ensuring that chronic conditions are diagnosed and managed- not to mention the financial benefits of avoiding costly emergency room visits. I commend Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and NYC Health + Hospitals for their commitment to a healthy New York City."

"Prompt access to care, especially primary care, and prescription drugs is critical to maintaining health and avoiding more dangerous and expensive complications down the line," said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. "And patients benefit from building trust by consistently seeing the same primary care practitioners. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Dr. Mitch Katz, president of H+H, for the NYC Cares program to expand access to care for all New Yorkers regardless of insurance status or ability to pay."

"All New Yorkers should have health care available to them. My Brooklyn communities include large immigrant populations in need of special care," said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. "We've had tuberculosis outbreaks and many residents suffer from high asthma rates. I am pleased that they will have access to doctors and medical facilities without having to resort to ER visits."

Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "We have a moral obligation as a society to make sure that all people have access to quality, affordable healthcare. A healthy society is a strong society, and I am proud that Mayor de Blasio is taking steps towards the ultimate goal of universal health coverage in New York City."

"NYC Care will bring much needed healthcare services, preventative and otherwise, to individuals who cannot and do not seek medical care because the cost is prohibitive. The lack of affordable medical care is an issue for all members of our community, and so many people fail to seek care or are driven into massive debt due to the extraordinary cost of proper medical treatment, and this program will be a monumental improvement to the quality of life of all New Yorkers. I applaud the Mayor and NYC Health and Hospital for their commitment to this initiative, and the people of New York. We are looking forward to the expansion of this program to Queens in the very near future," said Assembly Member Catalina Cruz.

"Far too many New Yorkers are living without health insurance because of their immigration status or inability to pay. NYC Care seeks to remedy this issue by expanding our public healthcare system and affording patients unprecedented access to primary care, behavioral health services, and affordable medications," said Council Member Diana Ayala, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addictions. "I look forward to a successful launch in the Bronx and thank Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Palacio, and Dr. Katz of Health + Hospitals for establishing this much-needed initiative."

"NYC Care will be available to every New Yorker, regardless of immigration status – as it should be, for healthcare is a human right, and that means everyone. I am proud to call myself a New Yorker today knowing that such a program will soon be a reality," said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration.

"Every day, far too many New Yorkers are faced with the difficult choice of whether or not they can afford to seek necessary medical care. Rather than make it easier for people to receive quality healthcare, our federal administration has made it their mission to slash protections for those most vulnerable to illness. NYC Cares steps in and fills the critical need for individuals and families by committing to provide affordable and quality to every New Yorker who lacks healthcare. I look forward to working with community stakeholders here in the Bronx and across the city to ensure medical access for every man, woman and child is a reality," said Council Member Rafael Salamanca.

"I am excited for the Launch of NYC Care in the Bronx. This program will provide vital resources for many immigrant communities who are currently ineligible for insurance or cannot afford current insurance options. From receiving a primary care provider, to routine screenings and access to specialty care services, NYC Care will guarantee that every New Yorker has access to affordable and quality health care," said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

"Low-income New Yorkers need access healthcare before they find themselves in peril! I commend Mayor de Blasio and the Office and Health + Hospitals on their launch "NYC Care" and for zeroing in on the biggest problem with healthcare: affordable access to care. Now, New Yorkers who have been ineligible or who could not afford insurance will be able to receive preventive care and routine screenings and a primary care doctor. This is a great step forward for healthcare in our City," said Council Member Andrew Cohen.

"Today the city takes a significant step toward fulfilling the promise of providing quality health care to New Yorkers who cannot afford or are ineligible for health insurance. On behalf of the 18,000 hardworking DC 37 members who are employed by NYC Health + Hospitals, I urge everyone who can benefit from NYC Care to make the call that begins the enrollment process," said Henry Garrido, DC 37 Executive Director.

"Health care is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. NYC Care ensures that New Yorkers can access the quality health care they need and deserve – including preventive care, gynecological care, mental health care and other vital services. The NYC Care program affirms that New York City is a place where everyone can live and thrive, free of barriers and limitations," said Frank Proscia, M.D., President, Doctors Council.

"Health care is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. NYC Care ensures that New Yorkers can access the quality health care they need and deserve – including preventive care, gynecological care, mental health care and other vital services," Laura McQuade, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City. "The NYC Care program affirms that New York City is a place where everyone can live and thrive, free of barriers and limitations."

"It is important to have a primary healthcare provider for ensuring your overall health. The American Heart Association supports efforts to extend health care coverage to all City resident and works to ensure timely access along the entire care continuum, including preventive medicine, emergency care, telemedicine, rehabilitation and recovery services," said Robin Vitale, American Heart Association, Vice President of Health Strategies for New York City. "The city's uninsured are far less likely to receive appropriate and timely medical care and often suffer worse medical outcomes, including higher mortality rates. Closing the gaps, connecting our city's most under-served to quality health care will help us all live longer, healthier lives."

"ACS CAN applauds Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to ensuring that all New Yorkers have comprehensive health insurance and we are pleased to see that preventive screenings are an important component of NYC Care, "said Michael Davoli, Director, New York Metro Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "Preventive screenings that can detect serious illnesses like cancer, at the earliest and most treatable stage, are a critical component to any proactive health policy."

"The Community Service Society of New York commends Health and Hospitals for doing everything it can to improve access to health care for New Yorkers who have no coverage options due to their immigration status," said Elisabeth R. Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives and a co-founder of Health Care for All New York. "We hope New York's state leaders will follow the City's lead to target health care resources for this vulnerable population by better allocating funds to safety net hospitals and enacting a state law to offer state-funded insurance coverage to immigrants."

"LiveOn NY applauds the de Blasio Administration on the launch of NYC Care "said Allison Nickerson, Executive Director of LiveOn NY. "As the older adult population continues to increase in the Bronx and citywide, meaningful investment in focused services and supports for older adults and their caregivers, including access to health care services are critical. We also know that community based organizations, including LiveOn NY members Emerald Isle and BronxWorks, along with other CBOs who will provide outreach for NYC Care, are integral to supporting these programs so that they reach New Yorkers. We applaud the city's commitment through NYC Care and know that programs like this are exemplary and support our collective efforts to make New York a better place to age."

"NYC Care builds on the commitment and mission of NYC Health + Hospitals to provide care to every New Yorker regardless the ability to pay, especially as fears rises on access to vital services due to Trump attacks on our health care and social safety net programs. Anyone of us could lose our job and could become sick. You never know when it will happen to you — and the city has a plan to increase access to primary care and reduce reliance solely on the ER," said Anthony Feliciano, Director of the Commission on the Public's Health System. "We want to ensure the pilot works in the Bronx and gives the most disenfranchised communities in the borough and eventually citywide some belonging to a more stable health care setting and in turn an opportunity to be well and stay well."

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