|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2006
Remarks by Alan D. Aviles
President, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
Press conference to announce City Council funded campaign to promote HHC Child Health Clinics
Good morning and welcome. I'm Alan Aviles, President of the Health and Hospitals Corporation - New York City's public hospital system.
I'm joined by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Dr. Krishnamurthy Balasubramanian, a pediatrician here at the Melrose Houses Child Health Clinic; and two mothers who use this Child Health Clinic: Marisol DeLeon and Thomasina Knowings.
I also want to acknowledge the representatives of numerous community-based organizations who are here today and have been working diligently to improve the health of our children in this city. Many of these representatives serve on Speaker Quinn's Child Health Services Workgroup which has collaborated with us to strengthen the healthcare safety net for children.
We are here to announce a new child health campaign, funded by Speaker Quinn and the City Council, to encourage more New York City children and families to seek preventive and primary health care services at HHC Child Health Clinics.
The City Council has made nearly $1.8 m dollars available for targeted outreach and community marketing, to raise awareness about the availability of child health clinics, like this one, that serve low-income communities with large numbers of new immigrant residents. In addition to funding outreach and marketing, the City Council monies are being used to create more visible signage to make these sites more conspicuous in the community.
Low-income, new immigrant families, in particular, often have difficulty navigating our healthcare system and finding a true medical home where their children can receive essential primary and preventive care, including all recommended vaccinations against a range of childhood diseases.
Too often families come to rely on hospital emergency rooms for the basic care that their children need or wait to seek health care when they have a medical emergency.
In the public hospital system, we provide more than 250,000 pediatric visits annually through our emergency rooms. The majority of those visits would be better handled in a primary care setting, rather than in an emergency room.
Today we want to begin getting the message out to all families in every borough of our city that there's no need to wait for an emergency to get the health services their kids need. We want everyone to understand that it is not necessary to suffer the inconvenience and long waits associated with a busy emergency room simply to get routine care for your child.
HHC Child Health Clinics are located in communities throughout all five boroughs of NYC and they provide all the preventive medical care children need to stay healthy - including immunizations, health screenings, and routine check ups.
The pediatricians and nurse practitioners at these community-based sites can diagnose and treat all of the common illness that children experience from the simple ear ache to the most difficult cases of chronic asthma. And our clinics often have bi-lingual staff, and always have access to telephonic interpretation services in more than 100 languages.
Our child health clinics serve all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status or ability to pay, and in almost every single case, we can help enroll the child of a low-income family into Medicaid or Child Health Plus. Even undocumented children are eligible for coverage under Child Health Plus - and this means that there would be no cost to parents for each clinic visit.
This outreach and awareness campaign, funded by Speaker Quinn and the City Council, will include print, radio and subway ads in different languages. It will include collaborative outreach with various community-based organizations.
We have here a sample of the English and Spanish language ads. And you have in your press kits a copy of all the other languages as well as the radio ads.
On behalf of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and all the children and families we serve, I'd like to thank you, Speaker Quinn, for your commitment to children's health and your continued, unwavering support of HHC.
Before I turn the podium over to the Speaker, I want to note that New Yorkers can call 311 or visit our website, nyc.gov/hhc, to find the location of their neighborhood HHC child health clinic.
As our tag line says, there's no need to go to the emergency room for basic child health services when HHC's Child Health Clinics are like having a doctor in the family.
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The Health and Hospitals Corporation, 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 have no health insurance. HHC provides medical and mental health services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and nearly 100 community based clinics. For more information about HHC, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.