NYC Health + Hospitals
Annual Public Meeting – Brooklyn
Tuesday, June 14, 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. We recently had a slight uptick in hospitalizations across the City, and some hotspots in other parts of the country and New York State – so we cannot let our defenses down. We continue to prioritize vaccination and booster shots to children and adults as our best defense. And we continue to follow 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.
BROOKLYN NEWS & HIGHLIGHTS
Despite the tremendous demand on our health System created by the pandemic, we never lost sight of our goals to expand access to care for more New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status, offer the highest quality of care, and advance our values of equity, diversity and inclusion. Here are just a few highlights that reflect our commitment to the health and wellness of the people of this borough.
- New COVID-19 Center of Excellence in Brooklyn – Mayor Adams joined me and our NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health team earlier this year to open our third COVID-19 Centers of Excellence — all three in communities of color hit hardest by the pandemic. The new community health clinic is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn to support recovering COVID-19 patients and provide comprehensive ambulatory services to the community. We are excited to have these Gotham Health COVID-19 Center of Excellence in communities that has suffered so much during this pandemic. As we continue to learn more about the long-lasting health impacts of this pandemic, we are being proactive to create medical homes for New Yorkers. This site will not only provide critical health support to those still recovering from COVID-19, but will also provide new opportunities for this community to access high-quality, ongoing primary care.
- U.S. News & World Report 2021-22 Best Hospitals ranked our three hospitals in Brooklyn as “high performing” for clinical excellence in multiple specialty areas. NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island was recognized for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes and Kidney Failure services. NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County was recognized for Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes and Stroke care. NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull was recognized for Congestive Heart Failure and Pneumonia care.
- Excellence in Cardiac Care and Stroke Prevention – Our three hospitals in Brooklyn 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. Coney Island, Kings County and Woodhull 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.
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island welcomes support from U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) – In January 2022, the DoD sent a medical team to support our heroic health care workers at Coney Island Hospital in the fight against the COVID-19 Omicron variant. The DoD team included physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, army medics, respiratory technicians and command staff. They trained on hospital policies and procedures, and shadowed our staff before they began to serve for 30 days in our ED. Our staff had been working around the clock to care for our neighbors in the hard-hit communities of South Brooklyn and we were very thankful to the DoD medical team for supporting us.
- Expect Excellence for All in the New South Brooklyn Health – In July 2021 we announced a milestone in the transformation of the future health care campus on the current grounds of NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island. The new health care complex, expected to open before the end of this year, will be renamed NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn and the new 11-story hospital building and the existing Tower building within the renovated campus will be named after United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a figure who espoused truth, equality and justice. The redevelopment is part of a major $922.7 million hospital campus renovation funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to demolish, replace and repair flood damaged buildings from Superstorm Sandy. We are grateful that the family of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has allowed us to honor her memory in this historic way. Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly for justice and equality, giving voices to the voiceless, and as patients walk into the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health, they will do so knowing they will receive high quality health services with compassion, dignity, and respect, regardless of their income, gender identity, or immigration status.
- New Emergency Department at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull – We completed a major modernization and expansion of the hospital’s emergency department (ED), adding 5,000 square feet of space to meet the emergency and trauma care needs of the community. The new ED includes 16 additional exam rooms, a new and improved state-of-the-art nurse’s station, a new isolation room, and a “transition hub”, where patients who are being discharged from the ED are linked to a primary care or specialty service follow up visit, can receive consultation regarding their medications, and access care management services. The expansion project was fully funded by a $5 million capital allocation from the New York City Council’s Brooklyn Delegation. The strategic expansion of the ED reflects the public health System’s broader goals of building a sustainable organization that will continue to offer high-quality and accessible health care to the people of New York City. We thank the Council’s Brooklyn Delegation for their funding, and congratulate the Woodhull team that made this expansion happen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Improving Breast Cancer Screening – NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull marked the installation of a new $2.5 million, state-of-the-art MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) device that will be used for breast cancer screening for high risk patients. Breast MRI is a technology that uses magnets and radio waves to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. It does not use X-rays, so it does not involve any radiation exposure. The new technology has a number of different uses for breast cancer, including screening high-risk women, gathering additional information about an area of suspicion found on a mammogram or ultrasound, and monitoring for recurrence after treatment. We are excited to enhance our ability to diagnose and treat diseases and health conditions more effectively for the benefit of our patients and community.
- LGBTQ+ Inclusive Long Term Care Services – NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney is one of our five long term care facilities participating in the first edition of the Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI) – a demonstration of our continued commitment to providing comprehensive, culturally-sensitive care to all in our skilled-nursing facilities This national benchmarking tool evaluates long-term care communities based on the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ residents and patients. The team at McKinney joined the “Commitment to Caring” pledge and have completed the LEI self-assessment, which measures the long-term care communities’ adoption of LGBTQ inclusive and culturally competent policies and practices. NYC Health + Hospitals has long been a leader in caring for LGBTQ+ patients and continues its commitment to providing staff with specialized trainings to ensure LGBTQ+ patients who seek care at any location across the health system receive responsive health care in a welcoming environment.
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
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Thank you for being here tonight and for your support of our essential public health care system.
Now let’s proceed to the main purpose of tonight’s meeting – to hear from you, members of our community. Your input is so important to the future success of NYC Health + Hospitals. We are ready to listen.
I will now turn to Blanche Greenfield to outline the proceeding for tonight’s meeting.