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Press Releases

Lincoln Hospital Allows Artists to Barter Talent for Healthcare

Jan 23, 2012

New York, NY

Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center today officially announced an innovative program that allows artists of all disciplines the opportunity to exchange their creative services for medical care. The program, branded as the Lincoln Art Exchange, is designed to address the growing number of independent and freelance artists who cannot afford to enroll in health insurance plans and have become an at-risk population that lacks access to quality health care. Accompanied by Tony and Grammy Award winning actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hip Hop celebrity Roxanne Shante and representatives from arts and philanthropy organizations, Iris Jimenez-Hernandez, HHC Sr. Vice President and Lincoln Hospital Executive Director and Alan D. Aviles, HHC President and CEO, officially launched and gave details of the program during a press conference held in the lobby of the Bronx facility.


HHC President Alan Aviles, Tony and Grammy
Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and
HHC Senior VP Iris

“I am pleased to announce that, as of January 2012, uninsured New York City artists will be able to trade their artistic talents for health care at Lincoln Hospital,” said Mrs. Jimenez Hernandez. “This invaluable initiative is an effort aimed at reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes among our artists. In this effort, the collective participation of our partners is an important element in identifying and recruiting artists that will benefit from our program.”
Tony and Grammy award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, most celebrated for writing and starring in the Broadway musical In the Heights, is among the personalities who have partnered with Lincoln Hospital in this effort. He said, “This is an exciting, potentially win-win venture for both New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and the artistic community. There are many uninsured artists in New York City; and to be able to contribute their creativity and talents at Lincoln Hospital while simultaneously gaining access to medical care, is ingenious.”
“We welcome this important partnership with Lin Manuel Miranda, Roxanne Shante, The Fund for HHC, The Actors’ Fund, The Bronx Council on the Arts, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Teatro Pregones and Comunilife,” said HHC President and CEO Alan D. Aviles. “This is a timely program for the growing number of artists who perform and reside in New York City, too many of whom lack health insurance. It will empower artists of all types – who add immeasurably to our City’s vibrancy and cultural riches — to access quality health care on the basis of their art and live longer and healthier lives.”
Through the Lincoln Art Exchange program, rather than paying for health care out-of- pocket, artists may pay through an art exchange barter system. For example, for every hour of musical performances, painting a mural or any other creative activity or service, the artist earns 40 “health credits” (the equivalent of $40) toward medical care. Eligible artists—ranging from actors, musicians, dancers, poets, writers and anyone making a living through a creative means—can access an array of affordable, comprehensive services, that include doctor visits, laboratory tests, hospitalizations, emergency care, medical and surgical procedures, dental care, prescriptions, ambulatory surgery and other services provided by the hospital. Eligibility will be based on the HHC Options program, a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s financial services program that offers a sliding fee scale to low income or uninsured New Yorkers with fees starting as low as $15 for a doctor’s visit.
Once enrolled in the program, artists will participate in activities throughout the hospital, such as reading to patients, performing at hospital special events, painting murals in our clinics and in-patient units, art gallery presentations and other events that will enhance the hospital environment and the patient and staff experience.
First initiated at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn in 2005, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center is the second HHC facility to implement the program and the only one in Bronx County. Other cultural organizations who have partnered with the hospital for recruitment of artists are The Bronx Museum, Teatro Pregones and Comunilife.
The inspiration for the Lincoln Art Exchange was born when The Fund for HHC (the public hospital system’s philanthropic arm) engaged seminal Bronx hip-hop artists as part of HHC’s STAT! 2011 performance and fundraising series. “Artists who were part of the creation of an important musical genre and rose to fame in the 1980s were now battling major health issues. Lincoln and The Fund for HHC saw an opportunity to do something about it,” said Joe Schick, Executive Director of The Fund for HHC.
Hip hop celebrity and WLIB radio personality Roxanne Shante, who performed at the Stat! 2011 Hip-Hop concert in the Bronx this past October, made reference to the significance of preventative health care. She said, “It’s not the money you’ve saved after your career that makes you wealthy. It’s being able to make money after your career because you’re healthy.” She added, “The artistic community is a vital part of our population and it deserves to get the highest quality of medical care. The Lincoln Art Exchange program can be the path to help artists take charge of their own health.”
Renata Marinaro, Director of Health Services for the Actors’ Fund Eastern Region, said, “Artists often work on a freelance basis and aren’t eligible for job-based insurance. Many have lower incomes and can’t afford the astronomically high private insurance rates in New York. Lincoln Art Exchange makes health care accessible to artists and recognizes the value of creative workers to the health and vitality of our community.”
“It’s a wonderful and creative way to leverage the value of artistic work toward obtaining affordable care, especially given our national health care crisis,” said Deirdre Scott, Bronx Council on the Arts Executive Director. “With Lincoln’s new program, hundreds of artists will now have access to medical care. I encourage artists and those from the creative industries to take advantage of the program and access health care services right here in our borough.”
Those artists who are interested in joining or need more information can call the dedicated Art Exchange Program telephone line at 855-LIN-ARTS (546-2787) and speak with Colette M. Barrow, Program Coordinator. You may also visit our website at the Lincoln Art Exchange.

Contact : Ian Michaels (HHC) (212) 788-3339

About HHC

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 420,000 member health plan, MetroPlusHealth, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit www.nychhc.org/hhc or find us on facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or twitter.com/NYCHealthSystem.

About Lincoln Hospital

About The Fund for HHC

The Fund for HHC (Fund) is the philanthropic arm of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. The Fund secures financial support for a wide range of citywide healthcare programs that benefit all New Yorkers. Gifts from individuals, corporations, and other foundations help strengthen programs and services in New York City public hospitals. The Fund’s most recent activities include Stat! 2011 For NYC’s Hospitals. Stat! 2011 was a call to action to raise awareness and funding for HHC programs.