Over 5,000 patients have worked with NYC Health + Hospital community health workers who address patients’ pressing social needs to improve their health

Over 5,000 patients have worked with NYC Health + Hospital community health workers who address patients’ pressing social needs to improve their health

With more than 250 new community health workers, NYC Health + Hospitals has built one of the largest health system-based community health worker programs in the country

In a new testimonial, cancer patient Neville Facey describes how a community health worker helped him with appointments, transport and financial help

October 20, 2022

Patient Neville Facey

NYC Health + Hospitals announced today that more than 5,000 patients have worked closely with community health workers in the first year of the program. Community health workers meet regularly with patients to identify and address barriers to health and well-being, such as housing, financial, nutritional and legal needs, and to help them schedule health care appointments and coordinate transportation. With more than 250 new community health workers, NYC Health + Hospitals has built one of the largest health system-based community health worker programs in the country. In a new testimonial, patient Neville Facey describes how a community health worker helped him with appointments, transport and financial assistance. Community health workers are part of the primary care team at all 11 NYC Health + Hospitals and 6 of the Gotham Health sites and often come from the communities they serve. They can see patients in the clinic, in the community or at home depending on the patient’s preference. The program is open to patients regardless of immigration or insurance status. The NYC Health + Hospitals Community Health Worker Program launched in September 2021 as part of the NYC Public Health Corps, which also includes the NYC Health Department’s Neighborhood Health Corps.

“A patient’s health cannot be managed by medicine alone,” he said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health Dr. Ted Long.“Factors such as housing, food and income have a profound effect on a patient’s ability to manage their health. Our Community Health Worker Program is transforming the way we deliver health care, with NYC Health + Hospitals making a critical investment in the health of our patients by extending the care we provide beyond the four walls of the clinic. This is what the future of healthcare looks like.”

“Our health system has a long history of providing quality health care to every New Yorker who walks through its doors, and we want to raise the bar for how health care is delivered across the country,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Population Health Officer Dr. Nicola Davis.“Health and longevity should not be a privilege tied to wealth. I am so proud that we are helping to level the playing field for our patients by expanding our care teams to include culturally competent, compassionate staff dedicated to helping patients find the social care they need to live healthy and full life.”

“Public health is about being present – day in and day out – to build sustainable relationships that promote health,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “These recommendations demonstrate the positive impact of this work. We are proud of this partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals and honored to work together to make our public health infrastructure stronger.”

“Wanita works very well with me,” said patient Neville Facey. “Anything I needed, I would call her. She helped me with my medications, my doctors, appointments and keeping up with everything. She was next to me. It made me feel great to have the extra help. She made me feel comfortable going through this thing.

“Priscilla helped me from the first day I came here,” said Rosa, mother of a pediatric patient. “She helped me get my son occupational therapy at school. Since he got therapy, he started behaving himself and started talking a lot and stopped fighting with other kids. He helped me with the apartment, talked to my social worker at the shelter and helped me get the voucher. I thank her so much for everything she has done for my son, I really appreciate it.’

“There are so many resources out there and people don’t know where to turn,” said Wanita Skerrett, community health worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County. “Once people know what’s out there to help them, they’re much more relieved and confident that they’ve been able to handle whatever they’re dealing with at the time.” I really enjoy helping people when they are going through a difficult time and seeing them progress.”

“We are doing the best we can to make sure all families are safe,” he said Priscilla Bueno, Community Health Worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “The hospital brings this program into patients’ lives to make sure they are stable and not suffering from insecurity – food, housing or education. For people who think they can’t be helped, we’re here for them.”

Community health workers at NYC Health + Hospitals serve older primary care patients, families with young children, and adults with special needs, such as homelessness, involvement in the criminal justice system, and behavioral health conditions.

  • Primary care program for adults: Community health workers are part of the primary care team at all 11 NYC Health + Hospitals and 6 Gotham Health sites. 1218 adult patients completed the 3-month primary care program for adults in the community health worker. Community health workers primarily assisted patients with food insecurity, financial insecurity, medical bills or gaps in health insurance, transportation, housing insecurity, social support, and legal needs. Almost all patients in the program have one or more chronic conditions. The most common patient diagnoses in the program are hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, chronic kidney disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
  • Behavioral Health Program:About 40 community behavioral health workers serve adult patients with mental health diagnoses, substance use disorders, or both. They have served about 2100 patients. Almost half of these meetings are focused on follow-up care and access to care services, and another quarter are dedicated to connecting patients with specific specific services, such as accommodation assistance, linkage to benefits services, education or employment services, legal and immigration needs, as well as access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and food pantries.
  • Special Populations Program: Community health workers may spend six to twelve months working with patients who have experienced homelessness or incarceration. Over 200 patients were enrolled in this program last year.

Contact: [email protected]; 212.788.3339

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health system in the nation. We are a network of 11 hospitals, trauma centers, community health centers, nursing homes and post-acute care centers. We are a home care agency and health plan, MetroPlus. Our health system provides essential services to more than one million New Yorkers each year in more than 70 locations across the city’s five boroughs. Our diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest lives possible. Visit us at www.nychealthandhospitals.org and connect on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.

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