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Press Releases

Over 5,000 Patients Have Worked With NYC Health + Hospital Community Health Workers, Who Address Patients’ Pressing Social Needs To Improve Their Health

With more than 250 new Community Health Workers, NYC Health + Hospitals has built one of the largest health system-based community health worker programs in the country

In a new testimonial, cancer patient Neville Facey describes how a community health worker helped him with appointments, transportation, and financial assistance

Oct 20, 2022

Patient Neville Facey

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that over 5,000 patients had worked closely with Community Health Workers in the program’s first year. Community Health Workers meet regularly with patients to identify and address barriers to health and well-being, such as housing, financial, food, and legal needs, as well as helping them schedule healthcare appointments and coordinate transportation. With more than 250 new Community Health Workers, NYC Health + Hospitals has built one of the largest health system-based community health worker programs in the country. In a new testimonial, patient Neville Facey describes how a community health worker helped him with appointments, transportation, and financial assistance. Community Health Workers are part of the primary care team at all of NYC Health + Hospitals’ 11 hospitals and 6 of its Gotham Health sites, and they often come from the communities they serve. They can meet patients in the clinic, in the community, or at home depending on the patient’s preference. The program is open to patients regardless of immigration or insurance status. NYC Health + Hospitals’ Community Health Worker Program was launched in September 2021 as part of the NYC Public Health Corps, which also includes the NYC Health Department’s Neighborhood Health Corps.

“A patient’s health can’t be managed by medicine alone,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Care and Population Health Dr. Ted Long.“Factors like housing, food, and income have a profound impact on a patient’s ability to manage their health. Our Community Health Worker program transforms how we deliver healthcare, with NYC Health + Hospitals making a critical investment in our patients’ health by extending the care we provide beyond the clinic’s four walls. This is what the future of healthcare looks like.”

“Our health system has a long history of providing quality healthcare to every New Yorker who walks through its doors, and we want to raise the bar for how healthcare is delivered across the country,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Population Health Officer Dr. Nichola Davis.“Health and longevity should not be a privilege tied to wealth. I am so proud that we are helping to level the playing field for our patients by expanding our care teams to include culturally competent, compassionate staff dedicated to helping patients find the social care they need to live a healthy and full life.”

“Public health means being present — day in and day out — to build the sustainable relationships that promote health,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “These testimonials showcase the positive impact of this work. We’re proud of this partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals and honored to work together to make our public health infrastructure stronger.”

“Wanita worked with me very well,” said patient Neville Facey. “Anything I needed, I’d call her. She helped me with my medications, my doctors, appointments, and keep up with everything. She was there for me. It made me feel great to have the extra help. She made me feel comfortable to get through this thing.”

“Prisilla helped me from the first day I came here,” said Rosa, the mother of a pediatric patient. “She helped me get my son occupational therapy at school. Since receiving therapy, he started behaving himself and he started speaking a lot of words and stopped fighting with other kids. She’s helped me with the apartment, talking with my social worker at the shelter, and she’s helping me get the voucher. I thank her so much for everything she’s done for my son, I really appreciate it.”

“There are so many resources out there and people don’t know where to turn,” said Wanita Skerrett, a community health worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County. “Once people know what is there to assist them, they are so much more relieved and confident that they were able to deal with what whatever they were dealing with in that moment. I really enjoy helping people when they are facing a difficult time and seeing them progress.”

“We are doing the best we can to make sure that all families are secure,” said Prisilla Bueno, a community health worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “The hospital is introducing this program in the patient’s life to make sure that they’re steady and they’re not suffering any insecurity – food, housing, or educational. For the people that think that they cannot be helped, we are here for them.”

NYC Health + Hospitals Community Health Workers serve adult patients in primary care, families with young children, and adults with special needs, such as homelessness, involvement in the criminal-legal system, and behavioral health conditions.

  • Adult primary care program: Community Health Workers are part of the primary care team at all of NYC Health + Hospitals’ 11 hospitals and 6 of its Gotham Health sites. 1,218 adult patients have graduated from the 3-month adult primary care Community Health Worker program. Community Health Workers primarily helped patients with food insecurity, financial insecurity, medical bills or gaps in health insurance, transportation, housing insecurity, social supports, and legal needs. Nearly all of the patients in the program have one or more chronic diseases. The most common diagnoses of patients in the program are hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, chronic kidney disease, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.
  • Behavioral health program:About 40 behavioral health Community Health Workers serve adult patients with mental health diagnoses, substance use disorders, or both. They have served approximately 2,100 patients. Almost half of these encounters focused on aftercare follow-up and access to care services and another quarter are dedicated to connecting patients to specific concrete services, such as housing assistance, connection to services for benefits, education or employment services, legal and immigration needs, as well as accessing the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and food pantries.
  • Special populations program: Community Health Workers may spend six to twelve months working with patients who have experience with homelessness or incarceration. In the past year, over 200 patients have been enrolled in this program.

Contact: pressoffice@nychhc.org; 212.788.3339

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation. We are a network of 11 hospitals, trauma centers, neighborhood health centers, nursing homes, and post-acute care centers. We are a home care agency and a health plan, MetroPlus. Our health system provides essential services to more than one million New Yorkers every year in more than 70 locations across the city’s five boroughs. Our diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. Visit us at www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.