FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 10, 2003
CITYWIDE HEALTH FAIRS TO HIGHLIGHT
NATIONAL "COVER THE UNINSURED WEEK"
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) will sponsor a week-long series of health improvement fairs throughout the city next week (March 10-16) as part of the unprecedented national campaign to raise awareness of the plight of America's 41 million uninsured persons.
An estimated 1.6 million New York City residents -- or one of every four persons under 65 -- lack health insurance.
"We believe that New Yorkers' access to health insurance is critical to the health of every community in this great city," said HHC President Dr. Benjamin Chu. "We are pleased to spread the message of Cover the Uninsured Week by organizing health fairs in every borough. We urge uninsured New Yorkers to visit a health insurance enrollment fair this week at their neighborhood HHC facility."
Many of the fairs offer free health screenings as well as information on health insurance options and opportunities to enroll in health insurance plans that are available to New Yorkers.
Among the highlights will be the grand opening on Wednesday (March 12) of the Tzu Chi Health Clinic at 41-60 Main Street in Flushing. The new clinic is administered by HHC's Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. One in three Queens residents between the ages of 18 and 65 lack health insurance, and officials believe the new clinic will play an important role in providing healthcare to the uninsured as well as others who have been unable to find quality healthcare elsewhere.
For additional information about Cover the Uninsured Week and a list of HHC events in New York City, visit HHC's web site at nyc.gov/hhc or call 1-888-NY-B-WELL.
In addition to health fairs, the week-long schedule of activities will include Town Hall meetings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, on-campus discussions with medical practitioners and students at eight New York City medical schools and universities and symposiums with business and labor leaders as well as religious leaders.
HHC is the umbrella organization for 11 acute care public hospitals and more than 100 other healthcare facilities that annually provide healthcare for 1.3 million New Yorkers -- including 500,000 who are uninsured. HHC also provides health insurance through its wholly owned subsidiary, MetroPlus, which is licensed to enroll people who are eligible for Medicaid Managed Care, Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus and who live in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, as well as HHC employees. For more information about applying for health insurance through MetroPlus, interested people can call 1-800-475-METRO.
According to Dr. Chu, providing coverage for the uninsured will not only enable New York City residents to receive the healthcare they need, but also will strengthen the public hospitals, clinics and nursing homes that serve as the nation's health safety net.
Cover the Uninsured Week, co-chaired by former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, is a national nonpartisan effort to encourage the development of solutions to the problem of the uninsured. The 18 chief sponsors include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the American Hospital Association and the United Way of America.