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REPORT TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS – October 2022

Mitchell H. Katz, MD
NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
REPORT TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
October 27, 2022

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

NYC Health + Hospitals/Test & Treat Corps announced plans to help the City distribute 10,000 COVID-19 at-home test kits that are more accessible to New Yorkers who are blind or have low vision. The at-home test kits — manufactured by Ellume and sent to New York City by the CDC — utilize easier-to-use test components for people who are blind or have low vision and communicate with a user’s smartphone to give an electronic text readout of their result. The more accessible test kits will be distributed in the coming weeks through the City and community-based organizations.

We continue to provide all New Yorkers access to COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots, testing and treatment. We have 75 mobile Test to Treat units out in the community, and have distributed over 60 million home tests, with over 300 sites each day offering free testing. We also continue to offer New Yorkers the convenience to get tested in the comfort of their homes and receive immediate access to life-saving treatment by calling 212-COVID-19, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

PREPARING FOR TOUGH FLU SEASON

Before COVID-19, flu season was something we were all familiar with and were well trained to prepare for every year. Protecting ourselves and our patients from flu was just part of operating a sophisticated public health system. But COVID-19 changed all that. Now we must prepare for a different kind of flu season; one that comes hand in hand with an on-going COVID-19 pandemic. This flu season arrives with an added sense of urgency with both respiratory viruses co-circulating. Luckily, we have effective vaccines in place. Our annual staff flu vaccine drive began this month, and we are also offering flu vaccines to all our patients and the public at large.  Flu vaccines are available at NYC Health + Hospitals at no charge. New Yorkers can call 844-NYC-4NYC to schedule their flu shot at one of our hospitals or Gotham Health centers nearby. We also accept walk-ins. I know many people are wondering if it is safe to get both the flu shot and COVID-19 booster on the same day. The answer is yes, but they should be given in different arms. We cannot know exactly what a flu season will be like. However, based on what we are seeing in the southern hemisphere, we anticipate it may be a serious one in the U.S. We do know that flu vaccination can keep us from getting sick with the flu, reduce the severity of illness, and reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization. I already got my flu shot and encourage all our patients and staff to get theirs too.

HELPING ASYLUM SEEKERS

NYC Health + Hospitals continues to collaborate with the Mayor’s Office and a number of City agencies to help the asylum seekers who continue to arrive in New York City. Our health system helped to open two emergency humanitarian centers (HERRCs), one for families with children and one for single adult men.  The sites offer medical care, hot meals, phones to call family members in other countries, DOE staff to connect children to school, and resettlement services to help asylum seekers complete their journey.

INVESTING IN MINORITY AND WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES

Minority and Women owned businesses are major beneficiaries of a concerted change in the way NYC Health + Hospitals is managing our supply chain. As part of a new vendor diversity strategy, our health system spent more than $747 million with minority and women owned business enterprises (M/WBE) in the last year. This represents a 3,000% growth in spending with M/WBEs since 2017 and 32% of all eligible spending. In 2022, NYC Health + Hospitals did business with 363 unique M/WBE’s. They were responsible for an array of goods and services the health system depends on, including information technology, office furniture, facilities maintenance, marketing, moving services, and temporary staff. As a health system, we want to invest in the communities we serve. Every day our procurement team looks for ways to expand our M/WBE portfolio. Not only does it make sense, it is the right thing to do. These investments are good for business, but they also reflect our core values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS HONORS SCHOLAR NURSES

After years of school and training, seventy-two NYC Health + Hospitals nurses have been welcomed into the Doctoral Circle of Excellence: a singular honor bestowed upon nurses who have achieved the highest level of nursing education available. NYC Health+ Hospitals celebrated these scholar nurses with a first of its kind event: A Doctoral Circle of Excellence ceremony held at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue last month to recognize these highly educated nurses and honor academic achievement. As the U.S. health care system evolves and patient care becomes more complex, nurses with doctoral degrees are taking on larger roles in problem solving and advocacy and acting as liaisons with other medical professionals. The advanced degrees earned by our nurses include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Health Administration (DHA), PhD, and EdD in nursing.  We are so proud of our scholar nurses and grateful for all they do for our patients and for serving as mentors to help other nurses advance in their careers.

IN RECOGNITION OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

As we celebrated Hispanic Heritage this month, we had a special opportunity to express our appreciation and awe for the Latino workforce at NYC Health + Hospitals. Many of our facilities hosted celebrations of food, music and culture.  We also hosted a panel discussion featuring our Latino colleagues talking about their identity and experiences—and ultimately how our diversity unites us.  That’s why we customized the theme this year from “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation” to say “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger NYC Health + Hospitals.”

A full 25 percent of our NYC Health + Hospitals workforce is of Hispanic or Latin heritage. Our Latino staff come from families, cultures and traditions as rich and diverse as the more than 20 nations on earth that claim Spanish as a primary language. They are a mirror image of our patient population as well, as 27.5 percent of New Yorkers are of Hispanic descent — more than 2 million people. In our health system, our Hispanic colleagues are hospital CEOs, senior executives in HR and Communications, doctors, nurses, administrative staff, technicians, hospital police officers, food service workers – and more.  Their contributions and dedication to the public health of New York City cannot be measured. That is why we single out this month to show our respect and admiration. Despite challenges, obstacles, and discrimination, Latino Americans have demonstrated their dedication, perseverance and success in this country and city, time after time. That so many choose to build careers in health care, serving other New Yorkers, is truly wonderful. There is no question this inclusivity makes us a stronger health care system.

NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/SOUTH BROOKLYN HEALTH CELEBRATES FUTURE OPENING OF RUTH BADER GINSBURG HOSPITAL

In a historic ceremony, NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health staff, patients, and community members celebrated the future opening of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital, marking a new era of health care services for the South Brooklyn community. Jane Ginsburg, daughter of the late Supreme Court Justice, joined us to unveil a 7-foot bronze statue of her mother, and fellow Brooklynite, that will be prominently located in the lobby of the new hospital. The nearly completed hospital will feature a storm-resilient design, a flood-proof Emergency Department, private patient rooms and modern equipment to serve South Brooklyn and its neighboring communities. It is the first new public hospital in New York City since 1982, when the health system opened NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.

The ceremony marked a major milestone in the extensive process to repair and protect the health care campus after sustaining significant damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Construction of the new hospital is funded by $923 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and includes upgrades to the rest of the health care campus, including a 4-foot wall to withstand a 500-year storm and flood-resilient power, heating, cooling, and water. The Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospital will be beautiful — with skyline views, private patient beds, and state-of-the-art operating rooms. We are honored the Ginsburg family trusted us to carry on the Supreme Court Justice’s legacy with a hospital in her name, and we can’t wait to welcome patients to the new space in early 2023.

NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/KINGS COUNTY EARNS COVETED PATHWAY TO EXCELLENCE DESIGNATION FOR ITS COMMITMENT TO NURSES

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County received the prestigious Pathway to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The hospital is the first in Brooklyn, and only the second facility in New York City to receive this recognition. The Pathway designation is a globally-recognized credential earned by health care institutions that demonstrate a commitment to creating a healthy work environment where nurses feel empowered and valued. The designation is akin to receiving an Olympic medal. It symbolizes being at the absolute top of the nursing profession nationally and globally, but also represents the years of hard work and training and planning it took to get there. It’s not just this award that is cause for celebration, but the way our nurses engage in and deliver patient care every single day.  They are happier, and our patients are happier and healthier as a result. Congratulations to NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County for this special honor.

NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/QUEENS WILL BUILD HEALTH SYSTEM’S FIRST DIALYSIS CENTER

 TO TRAIN PATIENTS TO DO AT-HOME DIALYSIS;

COUNCIL MEMBER MENG PROVIDES $1 MILLION

NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens announced plans to open a 1700-square-foot dialysis treatment center to train patients with end-stage liver disease or kidney failure to safely and confidently do at-home peritoneal dialysis. U.S. Representative Grace Meng provided $1 million to support the construction of the new center on the hospital’s campus, which will expand access to this life-saving treatment to a diverse, underserved population in the borough of Queens. Every year, the center will be able to serve approximately 2,400 patients with chronic kidney disease. This will be the first dialysis training program for patients in the NYC Health + Hospitals system. The project is expected to take a few years to complete.

With some training and support, peritoneal dialysis can be done at home, at school, at work, and while traveling. The treatment increases the patients’ quality of life as it allows them more independence and lifestyle flexibility. It is also known to help patients retain kidney function longer than through hemodialysis. We are extremely grateful to U.S. Representative Meng for this essential funding on our behalf, which will enable us to provide a state-of-the-art outpatient dialysis center right in the heart of Queens for members of our patient family.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS UPDATE

Federal – Across this city, NYC Health + Hospitals’ facilities are on the frontlines of existing or emerging infectious disease threats, which is why I was proud to stand with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand last Friday at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue as she announced her One Health Security Act legislation.  The One Health Security Act would create a federal council charged with preventing, detecting and responding to biological threats that significantly impact our national health, economy, and national security. Support for the One Health Security Act legislation includes NYC Health + Hospitals, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Right to Health Action, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Entomological Society of America. The legislation will be critical to the health system’s pandemic preparedness work and for the efforts to treat patients who might come through our doors. Bellevue Hospital has been addressing infectious diseases for over 200 years, and I’m grateful to the Senator for all her work so that we can do it for 200 more.

City – Last week, I also joined Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers in Far Rockaway as she announced the formation of the Taskforce on Trauma and Healthcare Access. The Council Member will be partnering with our health system, other local elected officials, medical professionals, local residents, and other key stakeholders to evaluate health care access across the region, including the feasibility of a trauma hospital in Far Rockaway, and the creation of a plan around strategic health infrastructure in the eastern portion of the Rockaways. The first meeting will be November 18th. I look forward to working with the Council Member to address the need for trauma services for residents of the Rockaways.

OTHER NEWS AROUND THE HEALTH SYSTEM