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Manhattan Public Meeting

NYC Health + Hospitals
Annual Public Meeting – Staten Island
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Report by Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and CEO

MARKING TWO YEARS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Last month, 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 have begun to see all the pandemic markers going in the right direction. Our City is opening up and moving to a post pandemic state. But COVID is not going away and we cannot let our defenses down. We continue to prioritize vaccination and booster shots as our best defense. Last week we began to offer the second booster shot to New Yorkers over 50 and others at high risk. And we continue to monitor the developments in other parts of the state, country and Europe where there is a spike in new cases related to the Omicron subvariant. We will be following that trend very closely and we 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.

MANHATTAN 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 Leadership – This past year we were fortunate to have amazingly talented individuals take the helm at a few of our patient care sites in Manhattan.
  • U.S. News & World Report 2021-22 Best Hospitals ranked all our hospitals in Manhattan as “high performing” for clinical excellence in at least one specialty area. NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem and Metropolitan were rated as high performers in the treatment of Congestive Heart Failure; NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue ranked high for the treatment of Congestive Heart Failure, Heart Attack, Stroke and Psychiatry services.
  • Two of our hospitals in Manhattan were recognized for how well they serve people of color in their surrounding communities. The Lown Institute — a leading health care think tank — ranked NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan and NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem among the top ten most racially inclusive hospitals nationwide. The rankings are based on how well the demographics of a hospital’s Medicare patients match the demographics of the hospital’s surrounding communities. Our health System had four hospitals among the top ten. This is an important recognition and shows how we are leading the way by being true to our mission. No one should have to leave their neighborhood and travel for an extended period of time in order to get high-quality, comprehensive healthcare. That’s why our hospitals, Gotham Health clinics, and post-acute/long-term care facilities are close to home for many New Yorkers. We are proud to be recognized for the great care our public health care system provides, regardless of a person’s race, zip code, immigration status or ability to pay.
  • Newsweek magazine named NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue one of America’s Best Physical Rehabilitation Centers for 2021, ranking it among the nation’s top inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) based on quality of care, quality of service, quality of follow-up care and accommodation and amenities.
  • We commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with community events at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, where we have the flagship clinic for our dedicated center of excellence, the WTC Environmental Health Center. We have served more than 13,000 members at our three clinic sites – which includes Bellevue, Gotham Health/Gouverneur clinic and NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.
  • We opened a new Same-Day Surgery Unit at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue with state-of-the-art technology that will enable doctors, nurses, social workers, and other staff to provide advanced support services for patients, promoting a speedy recovery and allowing patients to go home the same day.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan announced an innovative partnership with the Government of the Dominican Republic to provide health care services to employees of the Dominican government while they are working or traveling in New York City. The team at Metropolitan will serve as the provider of choice for primary and specialty services to these government employees and their families. This collaboration can serve as a national model and underscores the hospital’s role as a champion of culturally-competent care to varied immigrant communities.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan received national recognition the “Million Hearts” initiative for providing exceptional cardiovascular services, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The hospital was selected based on its use of innovative care strategies and its prevention and treatment achievements, including a focus on blood pressure control, cholesterol management and aspirin use.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan reached a significant milestone – they performed their 100th gender-affirming surgery. Twenty-seven-year-old Megan Maguire, who is non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them, underwent a successful masculinizing ‘top surgery.’ Megan was tremendously grateful to the surgical team and all the other clinical professionals who work in the hospital’s Pride Center and have a long history of providing expert, culturally-competent care to LGBTQ patients. Metropolitan is one of the few public hospitals in the country that offer this service and is setting the standard for inclusive, equitable health care to addresses the barriers that contribute to health disparities among LGBTQ youth and adults.

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.