NYC Health + Hospitals
Annual Public Meeting – Bronx
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Report by Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and CEO
MARKING TWO YEARS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
In March, we marked two years since NYC Health + Hospitals admitted our first patient with COVID-19. The second year of fighting the pandemic, and responding to four cycles of COVID, was difficult. Our patients suffered, our families suffered, and we the healers suffered. We remember the lives lost, those who continue to suffer from the impact of this pandemic, and honor the NYC Health + Hospitals health care heroes who have served New Yorkers at every stage of this pandemic.
I began to feel hopeful as we headed into the 2021 end-of-year holiday season — with vaccines and boosters widely available, and new treatment options on the horizon — only to have my hopes dashed by Omicron. Once again, our hospitals filled up with patients needing our help. The demand for our testing and vaccination services reached an all-time high. And so many of us New Yorkers – specially health care workers — got sick and needed to lie under the covers with our sore throats and hacking coughs, worried about our colleagues and teammates left stretched by our absence.
Thankfully, the Omicron wave leveled off and we began to see all the pandemic markers going in the right direction. Our City started to open up and moving to a post pandemic state. But COVID is not going away. Over the last few weeks, we have seen a slight uptick in hospitalizations across the City, and some hotspots in other parts of the country and New York State – and we cannot let our defenses down. We continue to prioritize vaccination and booster shots as our best defense. We continue to offer first and second COVID-19 booster shots to New Yorkers over 50 and others at high risk. We will be following the trends very closely and stand ready to meet the next phase of the pandemic with all the protections, resources, innovation and experience to address future challenges and help New Yorkers safely navigate whatever may lie ahead.
Throughout the entire pandemic, NYC Health + Hospitals, in collaboration with our NYC Test & Trace Corps, provided care, treatment, testing, tracing, vaccination, shelter, food and so much more to New Yorkers who needed it most. I would like to highlight some of our most recent efforts and accomplishments in response to the pandemic.
We provided quality and compassionate care for thousands of patients in our hospitals and nursing homes. And our nursing facilities nurtured and protected hundreds of our most vulnerable and elderly.
We provided more than 10.5 million COVID tests at our hospitals, Gotham Health centers, in the homes of New Yorkers, and Test & Trace sites across the five boroughs, and have distributed over 4 million at-home tests to schools.
In January 2021 we administered our first COVID vaccine and by the end of March we celebrated our 100,000 vaccine. Since then, we continued to prioritize vaccination for our employees and our most vulnerable patients at our facilities and in their homes – and have administered more than 1.7 million vaccine doses across the five boroughs.
Each time the vaccines became available to new populations – including small children and teens – our hospitals and Gotham Health centers quickly geared up to reach those patients and invited members of the community to get vaccinated with us.
We opened three COVID-19 Center of Excellence in Bushwick, Brooklyn; Tremont, Bronx; and Elmhurst, Queens – to serve patients with long-term symptoms. The new health centers are located in neighborhoods that were significantly affected by the virus, and are designed to ensure access to the specialized care New Yorkers will need to address long-term respiratory, cognitive and mental health conditions caused by the virus.
Through contact tracing, the Test & Trace Corps team identified 1.7M contacts. We helped 33,000 people isolate at a quarantine hotel and delivered more than 2.2M free meals to those in isolation or quarantine.
Our amazing Test & Trace Corps team also lunched a number of new programs to serve New Yorkers hardest hit by the pandemic, including:
- Street Health Outreach & Wellness – our SHOW mobile units have offered services to over 119,000 unique New Yorkers, with a focus on people experiencing homelessness. Those services include COVID tests, social worker engagements, medical consultations, and vaccinations.
- COVID Treatment Outreach or CATCH – to help those at the highest risk of developing serious or severe COVID-19 infections, to ensure life-saving oral antiviral treatments, monoclonal antibody treatment, and other healthcare resources are promptly delivered to those in need.
- AfterCare to support New Yorkers living with the long-term effects of COVID-19. The program connects Test & Trace clients with ongoing health and social needs to the full range of resources and referrals relating to Long-COVID including NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 Centers of Excellence.
- COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance Tool to offer personalized guidance to New Yorkers who were exposed to or test positive for COVID-19. In addition to providing appropriate guidance, the tool’s individualized results offer quick connections to critical resources, including isolation hotels, free meal delivery, testing and treatment.
While we have been focused on taking care of New Yorkers, we have not lost sight of the need to take care of our own. We continue to offer our heroic workforce all the resources and support they need to recharge, de-stress and heal through our Helping Healers Heal program. We offer on-site counseling, debriefing support, and thanks to a recent, anonymous $100,000 donation, we will fund new wellness spaces to provide respite and support for health care workers who have served in some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods of New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how necessary New York City’s public health System and its employees truly are. We have proven that there is no challenge we cannot overcome when it is about protecting the health of the most vulnerable New Yorkers under our care. Thanks to our amazing workforce, and their sacrifices and readiness to answer a higher calling over the last year, NYC Health + Hospitals has been there for our patients and all New Yorkers at every step of this pandemic.
BRONX NEWS & HIGHLIGHTS
- Combined Hospital Operating Certificate – We received approval from the State to combine Jacobi and North Central Bronx (NCB) hospitals under one operating certificate to help reduce regulatory burden and streamline delivery of care for our patients. Since the spring of 2019, the Jacobi and NCB teams have worked to prepare for the transition, completing State regulatory requirements, combining their electronic medical record system, and coalescing their medical staffs, among many other critical steps. The State acknowledged that the combined entity – of one hospital in two campuses – met all the conditions. CEO Chris Mastromano ensured this was a seamless process for patients and staff, reflecting our commitment to the strength and sustainability of NCB, and the important role it and its leaders play in the North Central Bronx community.
- New Leadership – In April 2021, we were fortunate to have a very talented individual and one of our own hospital executives, Christopher Roker, take the helm as CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. Chris has served as CEO of two other hospitals in our system – Queens and Metropolitan hospitals – and has proven to be effective, compassionate leader committed to our patients, staff and community. He was able to hit the ground running and seamlessly lead the hospital’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chris also continues to serve as the health system’s Chief Growth Officer. He is an operational expert focused on building, growing, and improving the profitability, performance, and value in organizations with a leadership style that fosters teamwork and motivates staff.
- U.S. News & World Report 2021-22 Best Hospitals ranked our three hospitals in the Bronx as “high performing” for clinical excellence in multiple specialty areas. NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln was recognized for excellence in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes and stroke. NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi was recognized for Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes. NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx was recognized for excellence in Congestive Heart Failure.
- Excellence in Cardiac Care and Stroke Prevention – Our three hospitals in the Bronx also received national recognition by the American Heart Association for their commitment to ensuring patients with heart disease receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines. Lincoln, Jacobi and NCB hospitals earned the recognition by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure and stroke patients, including education, use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies. This was a remarkable achievement given the extreme circumstances and stresses of delivering care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- New Pride Health Centers Serve LGBTQ+ Community – Last year, we opened two new health centers dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) patients in the Bronx. The Pride Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and the Gender Affirming Integrated Services Practice at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln feature specially-trained clinical teams who provide culturally responsive health services to LGBTQ New Yorkers and address barriers that contribute to health disparities among LGBTQ youth and adults. The new health centers build on a commitment to the LGBTQ community that has earned NYC Health + Hospitals national recognition as “Leaders in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.”
- NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx (NCB) welcomes support from U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) – In late January, the DoD sent a medical team to support our heroic health care workers at NCB in the fight against the COVID-19 Omicron variant. The DoD team was trained on hospital policies and procedures, and shadowed staff before they began to serve for 30 days in our ED. In February, Governor Kathy Hochul visited the hospital, along with Representative Adriano Espaillat, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, and Council Member Eric Dinowitz to thank the DoD for working side by side with our staff to provide welcome support during the critical winter surge. Our staff had been working around the clock to care for our neighbors in one of the hardest hit communities in NYC and we were very thankful to the DoD medical team for supporting us as we nursed The Bronx back to health.
OTHER HEALTH SYSTEM NEWS
Looking back through the last year, I am incredibly proud of the many other new programs and services we were able to advance. This is just a partial list that reflects the commitment to excellence among the compassionate and skilled workforce at NYC Health + Hospitals.
- US News Rates All Public Hospitals as High Performing in One or More Specialty Areas
- American Heart Association Recognizes Public Health System for Efforts in Cardiovascular Treatment
- Family Health Program Provides Enhanced Health Services to Children in Foster Care
- MetroPlusHealth Ranks #1 in 2020 Medicaid Quality Incentive Program
- NYC Health + Hospitals Launches the NYC Public Health Corps
- NYC Health + Hospitals Expands Access to Lifestyle Medicine Services City-Wide
- NYC Care Reaches Milestone of 100,000 Members
- Two NYC Health + Hospitals Employees Receive Prestigious Sloan Public Service Award
- Maternal Medical Home Program Provides Wraparound Care, Services to Pregnant Patients
- “Medical Eracism” Initiative Aims to Abolish Race-Based Assessments Used for Medical Decisions
- NYC Health + Hospitals Fundraising Campaign Raises $5.8 Million To Provide Meals For Frontline Workers
- Virtual ExpressCare Proves to Reduce Unnecessary ED Visits
- NYC Health + Hospitals Creates ‘Transgender Health Care Resource Guide’
- Primary Care-Centered Diabetes Management Programs Expanded System-Wide
- NYC Health + Hospitals Further Expands Telemedicine Services
- NYC Health + Hospitals’ “Early Steps” Inpatient Mobility Program Reduces Length of Hospital Stays in Med/Surge Patients
- Nearly 2,000 Nurses to Participate in Nursing Clinical Ladder Program
- NYC Health + Hospitals Accountable Care Organization earns Medicare Shared Savings for 8th Consecutive Year
- NYC Health + Hospitals, CUNY Expand Nursing Partnership