|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2006
Remarks by Alan D. Aviles
President, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
Press conference to announce “Health of Immigrants in New York City” report by the New York City Department of Health
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation has a long and proud history of serving all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
Two months ago, I was joined by Commissioner Linares and several immigrant advocacy groups to announce a public awareness campaign to reassure immigrant New Yorkers that the city's public hospitals will honor their right to privacy and keep confidential all patient information, including their immigration status.
Our aim was to dispel fears and reaffirm trust among immigrant New Yorkers who depend on the public hospitals system for their health care.
But, HHC's commitment to serving immigrant New Yorkers goes well beyond reassuring patient privacy.
Our commitment is reflected in our efforts to increase access to health care, increase health insurance enrollment, provide high quality services, invest in preventive care, build healthy communities and respond to the very specific health needs of our city's immigrant populations.
Many of our health care strategies to keep communities healthy are supported by the great partnership we have with the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and their vital work in data collection and health policy leadership.
With the publication of the “Health of Immigrants in New York City” report, the New York City Department of Health has once again provided a useful tool that will inform the strategies of many of the city's health care providers - not just the public hospitals - as we respond to changes in our population and the health trends among the diverse communities we serve.
I'm proud to say that HHC has long ago put in place all of the recommendations DOH makes to help improve the health status of immigrants in our city.
In fact, this report's findings support and reaffirm the activist approach and programs that HHC deploys through our network of 11 hospitals and more than 80 clinics across the city.
Some of HHC's interventions targeting foreign-born New Yorkers include initiatives like Bellevue's Hepatitis B program targeting Chinese and Korean Americans, Coney Island's Healthy Heart campaign focused on South Asians, Jacobi's outreach to Albanian New Yorkers, and a wide variety of efforts targeting the city's Latino communities.
Through our HHC Options program we have helped thousands of uninsured foreign-born patients enroll in health insurance programs for which they are eligible.
Our clinics are redesigning the way they schedule patient visits to reduce wait time and ensure continuity of care with the same primary care provider.
In recent years, we have invested nearly $30 million to fund interpretation services, as well as translation of patient information, policies, and signage. In fact, most of our policies and health education materials are available in at least the 11 most common languages spoken by HHC patients.
And, we are making significant headway in fighting chronic diseases that disproportionately affect New Yorkers of diverse backgrounds, including:
- helping diabetic patients control their sugar
levels and blood pressure;
- fighting asthma with the most appropriate
medications to keep children in school and out of the emergency room;
- aggressively screening for colon, breast and
other cancers to ensure early detection and treatment;
- and expanding our HIV testing program to link those with HIV to care at the earliest possible time.
We have accomplished all this with the cultural and linguistic competence, as well as the pledge of confidentiality, that is sensitive to the specific health care needs of immigrant New Yorkers.
I want to again thank Commissioner Frieden for his leadership and vision and his committed colleagues at the DOHMH for providing the information and tools that all of the city's medical community can use to target and improve health care services to all New Yorkers.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $4.5 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers and nearly 450,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based clinics. For more information about HHC, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc .
Click here to read the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's press release, "Immigrants are Generally Healthier than U.S.-Born New Yorkers."