Mitchell H. Katz, MD
NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
REPORT TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
October 26, 2023
RESPONDING TO THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS – SERVICES FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS
NYC Health + Hospitals’ efforts to provide life-changing assistance to asylum seekers remain at the forefront of the city’s response to this historic humanitarian crisis. Early this month, we began operations of a humanitarian center (HERRC) at Hall Street where we will provide housing and services to over 3,000 people. The city recently announced that we will also manage operations of a humanitarian center at Floyd Bennett Field, a semi-congregate tent facility that will house and provide services to approximately 500 families with children.
Our 15 humanitarian centers ensure that some 22,000 people staying with us — three quarters of whom are families with children — receive humane, dignified care and the services they need to take the next steps in their path for a better life. These facilities ensure asylum seekers and their children have on-site access to medical and mental health care, nutrition, language services, school enrollment, social programs, technology, and reunification resources. In addition, our staff at the Arrival Center have helped register about 55,000 asylum seekers and have administered over 40,000 vaccinations to asylum seekers at the Arrival Center and our humanitarian centers.
The comprehensive casework assessment we launched in early September has now reached 90% of asylum seekers citywide. The results of this survey will help us determine individuals’ goals and the barriers they must clear to move forward with their journey. Day in, day out, our HERRC and hospital staff are working tirelessly to provide housing, comprehensive services and the human right to health care many asylum seekers have long been denied. We are proud to see some of our inspiring work recently recognized by NPR, who highlighted the maternity care coordinated between the HERRC and NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue staff, which has already ensured the delivery of 300 healthy babies born to mothers living in our humanitarian centers.
VACCINES TO PROTECT FROM FALL RESPIRATORY VIRUS SEASON
While it is difficult to predict how severe each year’s respiratory virus season will be, the CDC expects that, similar to last year, respiratory virus hospitalizations in the coming months will be higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Flu and RSV activity in our region will likely increase in the fall and winter months. The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination of people at higher risk for flu complications is especially important. Many people at higher risk from flu are also at higher risk for severe COVID-19. We are encouraging our patients and our workforce to get vaccinated against both the flu and COVID-19 to protect themselves. Even if you already had COVID-19 vaccines in the past, the updated monovalent vaccine will better protect everyone from the current strains of COVID-19 that are circulating in our communities. It is important to get an annual influenza vaccine at the beginning of each influenza season. A new RSV vaccine will also be available this fall for those at higher risk of severe disease
TEAMWORK LEADS TO SAFE, SUCCESSFUL EVACUATION AND
REOPENING OF NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/WOODHULL
When Con Edison told us they needed to shut off power to NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull because of storm related damage late Friday evening of September 29, an amazing thing happened. Our entire health system pulled together to show its true colors with an inspiring display of teamwork, dedication, heart and expertise. The hospital’s skilled emergency managers, clinical leaders and administrators activated a full evacuation plan and began to transfer 116 patients to other NYC Health + Hospitals facilities. Every single one of our other facilities stepped up to volunteer available beds and space. We never had to shut off power completely, but the power source remained unreliable. By early Sunday morning, a safe and successful transfer of all patients was complete.
After a thorough assessment and restoration of the electrical systems, our team was able to resume inpatient hospital operations on Saturday, October 7, opened outpatient clinics by the next Tuesday, and began to safely transferred back approximately 50 patients who remained hospitalized at other NYC Health + Hospitals facilities.
Thank you to all of the first responders, hospital staff, emergency management, engineering, communications and facilities management teams who worked around the clock to make this re-opening possible. When crises come, and they always do, NYC Health + Hospitals staff are ready willing and able to make the seemingly impossible possible, the unmanageable manageable. Their willingness to help colleagues, our patients and our city inspires me, today and every day.
EXPANDING ABORTION CARE WITH TELEHEALTH SERVICES
As part of our steadfast commitment to reproductive freedoms, our New York City patients can now receive abortion counseling and care from the comfort of their own homes, through our Virtual ExpressCare services. Mayor Adams made the announcement along with our team of clinicians and programs leaders. We are the first public health system in the nation to make telehealth abortion services available — and further expand New Yorkers’ access to abortion care while Americans’ reproductive rights remain under attack across the nation. Patients in New York City seeking abortion care will be able to schedule a Virtual ExpressCare appointment to speak with a New York state-licensed health care professional by video or phone, on-demand, for an assessment and counseling. If clinically appropriate and prescribed, patients will be able to receive a medication abortion kit at their New York City address within a few days. This service is available seven days a week, between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, and provides patients with access to safe, legal abortion care. NYC Health + Hospitals offers access to a full spectrum of medication and procedural abortion services at their hospital-based clinics, and this launch will expand care to include telehealth medication abortion.
MAYOR ADAMS CELEBRATES MILESTONE OF 5,000 NEW NURSES
TRAINED BY CITYWIDE NURSE RESIDENCY PROGRAM
Earlier this week, Mayor Adams was joined by NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Nursing Executive Natalia Cineas and NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health staff nurse Wendy Zhao to announce that 5,000 Registered Nurses citywide have participated in the Citywide Nurse Residency program. Since its launch in 2019, the program has helped thousands of New Yorkers get on the path to fulfilling, family-sustaining careers. As the nation’s first city-led nurse residency consortium, the program offers on-the-job training and other supports to recently graduated, newly hired RNs. It has been implemented at over 28 health care facilities across the city – including at 18 NYC Health + Hospitals sites – and supported hospitals in training and retaining nurses — saving millions of dollars — while also helping new nurses succeed in their early careers.
Over 1,700 nurses in the 18 participating NYC Health + Hospitals campuses have completed the program since its launch, and the retention rate for nurses at our locations has increased by over 40 percent and surpassed the national average year to date. By reducing turnover rates and decreasing the costs associated with hiring and training new nurses, the program has saved private and public hospitals tens of millions of dollars. As we saw in 2020, nurses are essential to keeping New Yorkers healthy, and our investment to help nurses go from the classrooms to a hospital room will help keep New Yorkers healthy and prepared for the future.
OUR NURSES HONORED IN CHICAGO
It was a historic moment in Chicago, when more than 150 NYC Health + Hospitals nurses took the stage to celebrate their Pathway to Excellence achievements at the largest nursing conference in the country. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), invited nurses from around the world, more than 13,000 strong, to celebrate their coveted Pathway designations, and our squads from NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens and NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health made the trip together. More than 150 RNs and nurse leaders from NYC Health + Hospitals acute and post-acute facilities attended the conference. It was the first time in the history of NYC Health + Hospitals that 3 facilities celebrated on stage for their ANCC Pathway to Excellence Designations. It was
PROMOTING NYC CARE PROGRAM FOR UNINSURED NEW YORERS
The NYC Health + Hospitals NYC Care program continues to encourage eligible New Yorkers to enroll in the program while ensuring existing members schedule primary care appointments and renew their membership. In September, we launched an NYC Care citywide advertising campaign featuring placements in social media, transit, TV, radio, and print and digital newspapers, among others. This month, we announced a partnership with the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit to reach out to over 30,000 NYC Care members and encourage them to connect to primary care. Our work was prominently featured as the cover story in El Diario newspaper. Our NYC Care team also joined the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, LinkNYC, and NYC Office of Technology and Innovation last week to host a media roundtable on digital equity for immigrant New Yorkers, where NYC Care Executive Director Dr. Jonathan Jiménez reiterated the program’s commitment to reaching New Yorkers without internet access. As was highlighted in the Mayor’s Management Report, enrollment in NYC Care increased 5.4% from 113,178 members in Fiscal Year 2022 to 119,234 in Fiscal Year 2023, and is up 352% from its first year in 2019.
EXPANDING LANGUAGE ACCESS THROUGH MYCHART PATIENT PORTAL
This month we expanded the MyChart Patient Portal to now include 11 languages. This portal is a convenient and secure way for patients to access their information and communicate with their care team using a computer, smartphone or tablet. This means more NYC Health + Hospitals patients can access MyChart’s many features without any language barriers. The 11 languages are: Arabic, Bengali, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish. This is up from the six languages originally available when we first launched MyChart in 2016. The 11 languages now available are more aligned with the needs of our health system’s diverse patient population.
NEW COMMUNITY MURAL UNVAILED AT
NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/SOUTH BROOKLYN HEALTH
We unveiled a new mural as part of the Community Mural Project, run by our Arts in Medicine department. The mural, Together We Heal at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health, was developed by artist Kristy McCarthy through a series of focus groups with community members, staff and patients and brought to life at a paint party where the community was invited to paint the mural together. Together We Heal is a two-part mural that pays homage to the vibrant history and culture of Coney Island. Located in the waiting room for adult primary care, the first section of the mural, includes rabbits, which originally inhabited the area and give Coney Island its name. The second section of the mural, located in the waiting room for pediatric primary care, portrays an enchanting underwater realm. Together We Heal is one of nine new murals that have been created this year, building on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the Community Mural Project. The first 26 murals are featured in a new book, Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project 2019-2021. This program is made possible through the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
RENOVATED CLINICAL UNITS MAKE ROOM FOR FUTURE OUTPOSTED THERAPEUTIC
HOUSING UNITS AT NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/WOODHULL
NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull and NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services (CHS) celebrated the completion of two renovated patient clinical units and various administrative spaces that have been relocated to make room for a new Outposted Therapeutic Housing Unit in the hospital that will serve patients in custody with serious health conditions. More than 40 guests – including Council Member Chi Ossé, and representatives from Woodhull Hospital, CHS, Behavioral Health, Facility Management, and the architects– cut a ceremonial ribbon to celebrate what is not only a major accomplishment for Woodhull Hospital, but a significant milestone in our pioneering housing efforts. This will be the second or three Outposted Therapeutic Housing Units that will improve access to care for incarcerated individual with complex medical, mental health and substance use needs.
EXTERNAL & COMMUNITY AFFAIRS UPDATE
Federal –Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, with all 220 Republicans in favor and all 209 Democrats in opposition, was elected as the 56th speaker of the House of Representatives. The Continuing Resolution passed in late September extended federal government funding through November 17, so Congress must reach a funding agreement prior to then to avoid a government shutdown. We continue to advocate on behalf of the system’s priorities, including ensuring that the Medicaid DSH cuts do not go into effect after November 17.
State – External Affairs is tracking the bills that passed both houses of the NYS Legislature earlier this year — 896 bills passed both houses and 285 bills still need to be delivered to and acted on by the Governor before the end of the calendar year. We have also begun budget meetings for the upcoming cycle, reinforcing our needs and priorities. Last week, the Governor signed into law a bill that would make community violence prevention services available to Medicaid beneficiaries who receive medical treatment eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. NYC Health + Hospitals supported this bill as it will help with our continued efforts to support our hospital-based violence intervention programs which have a meaningful impact on victims and their families and can interrupt the cycle of violence.
City – On October 16, NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health secured $4.85 million from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. to support infrastructure improvements and enhance patient services in the borough. On October 18, Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson announced the allocation of $6 million to NYC Health + Hospitals facilities in the Bronx. The allocation is as follows: NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx: $2 million, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi: $2 million, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln: $1 million, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health: $1.6 million. NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst secured $17.5 million from the City Council to help with critical facility improvements throughout the hospital including emergency room updates, relocation of the neonatal intensive care unit, an MRI suite expansion, a mother baby lab, upgrades to the cardiac catheterization lab and a new surgical subspecialty suite for hand surgery.
Community Affairs – In partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), we are hosting free health insurance symposium to prepare New Yorkers for the upcoming open enrollment periods. The first session was held at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull in Brooklyn on October 12, and the next one is scheduled for NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst in Queens on November 16. As our Community Advisory Members begin a new year of volunteer service, we are hosting several orientation sessions for new and returning members, and our External Affairs team also plans to visit each CAB at its facility to support them.
NEWS AROUND THE HEALTH SYSTEM
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Celebrates Opening of $8M State-of-the-Art Adult Mental Health Outpatient Treatment Practice
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi|North Central Bronx Celebrates New Partnership with the Norwood Community Library
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health Receives $4.85M from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.
- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: NYC Health + Hospitals Urges New Yorkers to Get Mammograms
- NYC Health + Hospitals Recognized for High Quality Diabetes Care
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Resumes Hospital Operations at 8am Saturday, October 7th
- NYC Health + Hospitals Unveils the First of Nine New Community Murals, Starting with NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
- In Recognition of National Primary Care Week, NYC Care and Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Partner to Connect NYC Care Members to Primary Care
- Fierce Media Company Selects NYC Care as One of its Fierce 50 Honorees of 2023
- As Part of its Annual Daisy Awards, NYC Health + Hospitals Celebrates 10 Nurses Across its Five Skilled Nursing Facilities and Long-Term Acute Care Hospital
- Mayor Adams Makes Abortion Care Available via Telehealth to New Yorkers Through NYC Health + Hospitals
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Completes Successful Evacuation: 116 Patients Transferred Across the Health System
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull to Temporarily Evacuate, Transfer All Patients Because of Power Outage, Electrical Damage Caused by Flood