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PR- 099-08
March 24, 2008


First-Ever System Allows for Sharing Client Information Among City Health and Human Service Agencies

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the appointment of Kamal Bherwani as the Health and Human Services Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of HHS-Connect, a new system which he announced during the State of the City address. HHS-Connect will link more than a dozen City agencies so that caseworkers are able to share client information without compromising confidentiality. Clients will only need to provide their personal and other pertinent information one time to be included in a virtual integrated case file which they will be able to access and update online. Additional information, relevant only to specific agencies, will be collected on an as-needed basis.

"With HHS-Connect, caseworkers will now spend less time managing paperwork, and will be able to spend more time face-to-face with their clients," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Building upon our online pre-screening and eligibility tool, ACCESS NYC, beginning this year, in a first for any municipal government, we will link the computer systems of health and human service agencies, so that they can share client information without compromising confidentiality."

"With HHS-Connect, the City will fundamentally change how we provide services by connecting clients, agencies, and providers to ensure holistic and integrated services that wrap around a family," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs. "Data sharing will provide a more complete understanding of the clients' needs that will ultimately lead to better client care."

This new office will leverage the technology resources already in place at the City's Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT), furthering the implementation of PlanIT, the City's IT strategy. Mr. Bherwani will oversee technology strategy to ensure a coordinated approach to facilitate data integration and exchange between nine health and human services agencies under the direction of Deputy Mayor Gibbs. HHS-Connect will reduce the paperwork burden for caseworkers, improve customer service, and allow unique accessibility to the City's various programs and services for New Yorkers who need them most.

"Simply put, HHS-Connect transforms the interaction between New Yorkers and the agencies that serve them, by taking a customer-centric approach to the accessibility, transparency, and accountability of health and human services," said DOITT Commissioner Paul Cosgrave.

"The City has developed an aggressive plan for transformative change, and I am proud to have been selected to lead this effort," said Mr. Bherwani. "HHS-Connect will not only greatly increase the quality of life of the clients we serve, but it will also help the City make better and quicker decisions, resulting in better outcomes for families. Collaboratively, we are well-positioned to make real progress towards the goal of integrated health and human services."

Mr. Bherwani's career in technology spans over 20 years in the fields of public health, finance, housing, energy, construction, and marketing. He has served as Chief Information Officer of multi-billion dollar enterprises, both in the public and private sectors, as well as CEO and board member of various technology, investment, and non-profit organizations. Mr. Bherwani was most recently CIO & Associate Commissioner for New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

HHS-Connect will be supported by funding from the HHS agencies.


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

Nicholas Sbordone   (Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications)
(212) 788-6602

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