FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, September 30, 2004
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Launches October as Take Care New York Month
City-wide Screenings and Events Expected to Draw Thousands; HHC Options Program Introduced
HHC kicked off an aggressive city-wide outreach program that includes hundreds of no cost or low-cost health screenings, information and education on disease prevention and affordable health insurance.
"Ultimately, our mission with Take Care New York Month in October is to help save as many lives as we can," said Benjamin Chu M.D.,M.P.H., president and chief executive officer of HHC, the largest municipal health system in the United States.
"Our screenings and events educate those who are at risk for a disease, and identify those who need treatment," added Dr. Chu. Events and screenings will take place in the five boroughs the first four Saturdays in October.
At a kickoff event today at Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Chu also introduced HHC Options, a financial assistance program to help patients apply for government-sponsored health insurance and reduce the patient's bill to a more affordable level.
City commissioners joined HHC executives in recognizing the value of regular health exams for prevention and early detection of disease, and applauded HHC for providing health advice, screenings and affordable health coverage solutions to New Yorkers.
Take Care New York screenings diagnose high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and other illnesses that can be managed and the risks reduced. Take Care New York screenings also offer lifestyle-improvement sessions, such as smoking cessation, weight loss, nutrition and exercise.
Additionally, New Yorkers eligible for health care coverage, including government-sponsored health insurance like Medicare and Medicaid, can get help on-site to apply for insurance. HHC Options is also available to assist patients in reducing existing HHC medical bills to a more affordable level.
New Yorkers looking for specific information about Take Care New York screenings can dial 311 or visit the HHC web site at www.nyc.gov/hhc.
"Take Care New York, the City's health policy, outlines ten key areas for intervention based on the leading causes of preventable illness and death. The policy sets goals to make New York City healthier," said Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, and Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene , at the Bellevue Hospital event today.
"The goals include increasing the proportion of New Yorkers who keep their blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels, helping New Yorkers quit smoking, increasing life-saving cancer screenings, reducing the number of children who are poisoned by lead, and reducing the number of New Yorkers who die prematurely each year. The Health and Hospitals Corporation is an essential partner in this effort and the screenings offered this month and throughout the year can save thousands of lives," said Frieden.
"The Department for the Aging encourages all seniors and their caregivers to take advantage of the free health screenings available throughout the city as part of HHC's Take Care New York Month," said Edwin Méndez-Santiago, MSW, CSW, and Commissioner of New York City Department for the Aging. "Prevention and early detection are critical for the elderly, who are at higher risk for developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other debilitating or life-threatening illnesses."
"The rising cost of health care services inflicts great financial and emotional stress on seniors, many of whom are uninsured and live on fixed incomes," added Méndez-Santiago. "The Department for the Aging applauds the introduction of HHC Options, a financial assistance program that will help make health care more accessible and affordable for seniors and their caregivers."
"Take Care New York Month is a wonderful initiative that coincides with Fire Prevention Week and helps us deliver our message of fire safety and prevention," said Nicholas Scoppetta, Commissioner of the Fire Department of New York. "By joining together, we can ensure that New Yorkers not only stay safe, but also healthy throughout the year. Fire Prevention Week and Take Care New York Month may only last a finite period, but the lessons about prevention and early detection will last a lifetime."
"HRA is proud to be a part of Take Care New York," said Verna Eggleston, Commissioner, Human Resources Administration. "We work collaboratively with HHC to ensure that people have health insurance to support access to the care they need. Enrollment in our public health insurance programs has reached a record number of more than 2.5 million New Yorkers. Our efforts to help eligible New Yorkers enroll in public health insurance support HHC and private providers in reaching those who need insurance to pay for care. We are doing that in our new, consumer-friendly Model Medicaid Offices throughout the City, of which the newest one is right here at Bellevue."
Each year, HHC provides health care to 1.3 million New Yorkers - nearly 500,000 of whom have no health insurance - at its 11 acute care public hospitals and more than 100 community health clinics located throughout the five boroughs.