New York, NY – New York City Council Speaker Corey
Johnson, Health Committee Chair Mark Levine, and Hospitals Committee Chair
Carlina Rivera introduced groundbreaking legislation to create a citywide
health access program that would greatly increase access to care in the five
boroughs, connecting all participants to coordinated, personalized care in
their communities.

The bill would require the City to develop and administer a
program that would offer individuals a medical home – a model of providing care
where participants have a primary care physician and/or practitioner to develop,
direct, and coordinate their treatment, testing, and service – and assign each
participant a patient navigator to serve as a personal medical concierge. The
concierge will assist with coordinating primary and specialty care, accessing
medication, and understanding/minimizing costs.

This program would benefit individuals without health
insurance, including undocumented New Yorkers, who want care in their
communities and are looking for culturally competent care as well as insured
individuals seeking coordinated care or just need help navigating the
healthcare system in the City. Culturally competent care includes serving the
linguistic needs of patients through clinicians or interpreters and provides a
diverse workforce representative of patients that is responsive to predominant
social and cultural practices.

“Healthcare is an existential issue for so many New Yorkers,
and a deeply personal issue for me as an HIV-positive elected official.
Healthcare is a life or death issue, a make or break financial issue, and a
peace of mind issue, and as a city we could be doing a much better job of
making sure all New Yorkers have access to personalized, coordinated,
culturally competent healthcare. I look forward to working with Council Members
Levine and Rivera and with our colleagues in the Council to make this bill a reality
and change the way New Yorkers interact with the healthcare industry,” said
Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, including
undocumented immigrants, lack the basic security of health insurance–with dire
consequences for their own health and for our city as a whole,” said
City Council Health Chair, Mark Levine. “We need a primary care program
for the uninsured that reaches into every neighborhood in every borough. 
And we need to tap the resources not just of our public hospitals but the
community-based clinics that are rooted in the very immigrant communities we
are seeking to reach.  This legislation will ensure that our city gets
this right, that we go big, and that we create a program on a scale comparable
to the massive challenges our city–and especially immigrants–are facing in
the Trump era.”

“An effective modern medical system starts with easy patient
access to primary care. But far too many New Yorkers, from undocumented
immigrants to the under or uninsured, feel they are forced to use the emergency
room if they have any sort of medical condition. The bill we are introducing
today will guarantee that primary care is an option for every New Yorker in
every neighborhood, at a public hospital or at a community-based clinic. I’m
proud that we are working to make our city’s medical system more accessible and
affordable, and I look forward to the passage of this groundbreaking healthcare
access legislation,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Chair of the
Council’s Committee on Hospitals.

Enacted, this legislation would provide for medical homes
that would be available in every community district in the City. Medical homes
would include H+H facilities, as well as federally qualified health centers
(FQHCs), and other not-for-profit and private medical service providers. A
hospital partner providing specialty care would be guaranteed in every borough.
The City would be required to select providers that provide care that meets the
primary cultural and language needs of those they serve, as well the needs of
special populations, including the LGBT community. The health access program
would also provide telemedicine and require providers to assist in sharing
medical records. Program participants would not pay any participation fees, but
may be required to pay for services on a sliding scale based on their ability
to pay for provided medical services.

“Community Health Centers provide care to everyone –
regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay,” said CHCANYS President
and CEO Rose Duhan. “
This legislation will provide access to community
health centers in every corner of New York City, ensuring that even more New
Yorkers will have access to high-quality primary and preventive care – meaning
healthier New Yorkers and healthier communities. We thank Speaker Johnson and
Council Member Levine for sponsoring this legislation, which aligns with
CHCANYS vision that every New York State community has primary care that
encompasses all aspects of each patient’s health and well-being.”

“Access to affordable and timely health care is
critical,” said Max Hadler, Director of Health Policy at the New York
Immigration Coalition.
“New York City took a major step toward
improving care for uninsured city residents with the launch of NYC Care earlier
this month. We look forward to working with the Council, Health + Hospitals,
and the Administration to build upon NYC Care and create the best possible
system for everyone in our city.”

“New Yorkers in every community deserve access to high
quality culturally and linguistically competent health care, regardless of
income or immigration status,” said Gabby Seay, Political Director of
. “We applaud Speaker Johnson, Councilmember Levine and
Councilmember Rivera for recognizing that through this proposed legislation,
and we look forward to working with them to secure its passage and

“Community Health Centers and Health & Hospitals are the
medical response team for disenfranchised and underserved New Yorkers.” said
Dr. Marjorie Hill, CEO, Addabbo Family Health Center. “Creating a safety
net partnership, dedicated to culturally competent care, is good for our

“The purpose of NYC Care is to guarantee healthcare for
every New Yorker,” said Anne K. Nolon, CEO, Hudson River Healthcare
. “This aim aligns perfectly with the longstanding mission of all
community health centers to provide affordable, culturally responsive health
care to all people, regardless of ability to pay. We commend the City Council
for taking this important step to promote patient choice and support even
greater access to care.”

“For over 50 years, Ryan Health has provided affordable
comprehensive primary care and specialty services to New Yorkers most in need.
We would welcome the opportunity to extend beyond those we currently reach
through NYC Cares,” said Brian McIndoe, President and CEO of Ryan Health.

“Community health centers are a vital part of the health
care safety net, offering the city’s underserved populations culturally competent
and needed access.  Our meaningful participation in the NYC Care
initiative can only result in healthier communities,” said Morris Heights
Health Center’s President and CEO, Mari G. Millet.