Mayor's WINS Address
Hear the Mayor's Message
I think of the transformation in visual terms - maybe that's because I was born in the shadow of Kings County Hospital. Kings County Hospital is very, very high, and in 1993 and 1994 as I was thinking about what was wrong with healthcare in the City of New York, I had the sense that the system was too vertical and not horizontal enough. In other words, we had too many hospital beds and we should be taking down some of those blocks and putting them out into our communities - so that we have community health centers and private clinics and enhanced preventive and primary care.
That's exactly what we've done. We've restructured our healthcare system into a much more common-sense network of care that responds more efficiently to New Yorkers' needs. Between fiscal year 1993 and fiscal year 1998, the number of primary care visits to New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation sites increased 40 percent… and the number of emergency room visits dropped by more 26 percent.
But the real evidence of the shift can be seen in the actual health of the people of the City. We're immunizing children at a record rate… and addressing asthma, which appears to disproportionately impact children in particular parts of New York City, with aggressive outreach to parents along with a sophisticated and comprehensive treatment program. We're also providing more comprehensive prenatal care to expectant mothers than ever before.
In addition, the number of new tuberculosis cases citywide declined by 47.7 percent between 1997 and 1998… from nearly 3,000 new cases in 1994 to just over 1,500 new cases citywide last year. In fact, the New York City Department of Health's TB prevention program has been honored by the World Health Organization for its effectiveness.
That's just a short list of our accomplishments - and a hint of some of the challenges we face in the future. We're always exploring more creative ways for to reach out to uninsured New Yorkers, like the private, independent Citywide Purchasing Alliance, which will enable small business employees to choose their health plan just like the employees of larger corporations do.
As we complement this effort with a citywide focus on encouraging biomedical research and biotechnology development - which are critical industries for the future of the City - we will expand the highest quality health care to more and more New Yorkers, now and into the next generation. From New York City, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.