New York City has kicked off an initiative that aims to connect the city’s 600,000 uninsured residents with care.
NYC Care membership is open to people who have lived in the city for six months or longer and who cannot afford health insurance or do not qualify for coverage, New York City officials announced. The program initially offers care at seven locations in the Bronx that are operated by NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public health system.
Program members will be connected with a dedicated primary care provider, and new NYC Health + Hospitals patients will have their first appointment within two weeks of entering the program.
Members will also have access to an around-the-clock helpline to ask questions about their benefits and connect with clinicians. Pharmacy hours in the Bronx will also be expanded, according to the announcement.
“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,” Mitchell Katz, M.D., CEO of the health system, said. “These changes will allow us to have a greater focus on primary care, and they’ll fundamentally change the way our health system connects those who are not eligible for health insurance to the high-quality healthcare we deliver to thousands of New Yorkers every day.”
People that enroll in the program will be given a customized member card that includes pricing information for primary care, specialty care, and drugs for everyone in the household, city officials said.
Herminia Palacio, M.D., New York City’s deputy mayor for health and human services, said that the new program is a crucial one to tackle health inequities in the city.
“NYC Care will unlock the door to the city’s healthcare that had been closed to so many,” Palacio said.