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Staten Island Public Meeting

NYC Health + Hospitals
Annual Public Meeting – Staten Island
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Report by Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and CEO

MARKING TWO YEARS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Two years ago, 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.

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 in 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. And we now have our eye on the developments in Europe where there is a spike in new cases. 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.

STATEN ISLAND 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 Staten Island.

  • U.S. News Ranked NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View as a high-performing long-term rehabilitation facility in the nation based on patient and resident care, safety, and outcomes. The staff at Sea View have worked tirelessly to not only meet but exceed the industry standards. Maintaining these high standards during the global pandemic has had unique challenges but once again, the Sea View family has risen to the occasion to be a leader in quality, care and compassion.
  • Newsweek ranked NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View as one the of nation’s “Best Nursing Homes“. Sea View ranked 3rd in the state based on excellence in a number of indicators, including key performance data, reputation surveys, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals opened a new Diabetes Center of Excellence at Gotham Health, Vanderbilt clinic – the new center will help address the prevalence of diabetes in the northern sections of Staten Island, which has one of the City’s highest rates of diabetes.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals is partnering with two Staten Island CBOs — Make the Road New York (MRNY) and Project Hospitality — to conduct culturally sensitive and ethnically inclusive outreach to connect eligible Staten Islanders to our NYC Care program – our membership program for New Yorkers who are not eligible for health insurance. With their help, we will be able to reach even more eligible New Yorkers who do not think they are able to obtain high-quality, affordable health care. NYC Care has already touched the lives of nearly 100,000 New Yorkers – connecting them to primary and specialty care that not only improves their quality of life, but can sometimes even prove to be life-saving.

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.

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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 Andrea Cohen to outline the proceeding for tonight’s meeting.

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