Uninsured New Yorkers Share Personal Stories About Benefits Of NYC Care Membership Jul 14, 2021
NYC Health + Hospitals today released new video testimonials featuring four immigrant New Yorkers who share their personal tales of struggles without health insurance and how the public health system’s NYC Care program got them back on track to live their healthiest life. Thanks to NYC Care, Maura, who recently emigrated from Ecuador, was connected to the cancer screenings she had avoided out of fear of being deported for seeing a doctor. Luis, a 78-year old construction worker born in Venezuela who lives in Queens, was finally able to get regular primary care to keep him young and working. Maxine, a native of Jamaica who lives in the Bronx, was able to get low-cost, lifesaving medications after an emergency. Born in India, Padma, who lives Queens, is able to get affordable specialty care for a chronic condition from compassionate health care professionals who communicate with her in Hindi. Click here to view the videos.
NYC Care, the de Blasio administration’s health care access program to fulfill its commitment of guaranteed health care access for all New Yorkers regardless of income or immigration status, first launched in the Bronx in August 2019 and became available at all NYC Health + Hospitals patient-care sites city-wide in September 2020. The testimonials demonstrate the life-changing benefits of NYC Care membership in helping New Yorkers who cannot afford or are not eligible for health insurance to access their own primary care doctor, affordable specialty care services, low-cost medications and a special 24-hour customer service hotline with health care navigators who speak many languages.
“These four NYC Care member stories are just a few within our thousands of members that help prove this program’s necessity and how impactful it can be – not just to someone’s health, but their entire life,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care Ted Long, MD, MBA. “We intend to continue to reach prospective members and give every New Yorker equitable access to comprehensive, high-quality primary and specialty care. This ideology is the basic foundation of our public health system and NYC Care strengthens our ability to deliver on this promise.”
“We are so proud to serve these four NYC Care members and grateful to them for coming forward to share their personal stories and encourage other New Yorkers to access the affordable and comprehensive health care services they need and deserve,” said NYC Care Executive Director Marielle Kress. “We have been able to enroll more than 50,000 New Yorkers from every borough, and we owe much of our success to our culturally sensitive public awareness campaign that includes partnering with a diverse group of community-based organization (CBO) partners who lead our outreach efforts and have exceptional trust among their communities and ability to reach New Yorkers who need us most.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the health of our most marginalized communities defines the health of our city,” said Raquel Batista, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “NYC Health + Hospitals’ new video series offers an important reminder that all New Yorkers can access the resources they need to live their healthiest life through NYC Care, no matter their income or immigration status. MOIA looks forward to amplifying these narratives to our immigrant communities as we work to help ensure full health care access to all New Yorkers.”
“When everyone has access to strong healthcare, whole families and communities thrive,” said New Immigrant Community Empowerment Director of Support Services Macarena Moraga. “I work with new immigrants to our city and – that for many – healthcare is a priority but considered unobtainable. Being able to help people become members of NYC Care means I’m helping a person, family, and community become healthier and achieve more.”
NYC Care Members Featured in the Videos
Maura grew up in a very poor family in Ecuador. She came to New York a little less than three years ago seeking a better life. Shortly after coming to the US, she began having pain in her chest. After the pandemic hit, the pain became worse but Maura avoided seeing the doctor out of fear of being deported. Her husband had been connected to New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), an organization that supports day laborers, for assistance in finding work. Through NICE, a NYC Care CBO partner, he learned about the NYC Health + Hospitals program and how anyone, regardless of their immigration status, can receive comprehensive health care and feel confident that their information will be kept confidential. He told Maura about the program and she was quickly signed up for NYC Care membership, giving her access to the preventive care and screening checks she needed to rule out any serious health problems.
Luis is a 78-year-old Queens resident who immigrated to the United States from Venezuela and works in construction. He was also connected to NYC Care through NICE, to access comprehensive health care despite the fact that he is not eligible for health insurance due to his immigration status. Luis has been able to connect with a doctor for preventative care services, like screenings and vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, so he can stay healthy and continue to work.
Maxine is a native of Jamaica and lives in the Bronx. She became an NYC Care member and began receiving primary, preventive and specialty care services close to two years ago. In late 2020, Maxine went on a family road trip to Maryland when she had a pulmonary embolism (PE) and was rushed to a local hospital there. Because she is uninsured, she was discharged without the Maryland hospital filling her follow-up medications, which can be extremely dangerous for PE patients. Maxine reached out to her dedicated primary care provider at NYC Health + Hospitals and thanks to the 24/7pharmacy access provided to NYC Care members, she was able to get her medication at no cost, potentially avoiding another costly trip to the ED and further complications. Maxine has continued to get her follow-up care, as well as specialty services like ophthalmology and orthopedics to live a healthier life.
Padma, who lives in Queens, was connected to NYC Care through the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), another CBO partner that helps conduct outreach and direct enrollment to prospective NYC Care members. When Padma and her husband lived in India, they did not get the health care they needed, mostly to avoid the high cost. However, Padma suffers from a chronic condition and cannot work. Once she became an NYC Care member, she was able to access affordable primary, preventative, and specialty care to help manage her condition. Most of all, Padma appreciates she can receive care in her native language, Hindi.
More About NYC Care
As announced in February 2021, NYC Care has dramatically changed the way the City’s public health care system connects the most vulnerable and low-income New Yorkers to primary and specialty care.
- Over two-thirds of NYC Care members fall under the Federal Poverty Line
- More than 60 percent of members live in the 33 neighborhoods identified by the NYC Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity as hardest hit by COVID-19
- More than 50 percent of patients enrolled in NYC Care today are receiving primary care at NYC Health + Hospitals for the first time
- NYC Care members have had more than 35,000 cancer screenings
- 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 improved A1C readings and 57 percent now have well-controlled diabetes
- 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
To enroll in NYC Care, New Yorkers can call 1-646-NYC-CARE. For more information, visit nyccare.nyc.
Contact: Press Office, 212-788-3339