Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/health-care 2018-02-21T09:13:42+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com What's The [Data] Point? $72.4 Billion, with Charles Brecher 2018-02-08T05:00:00+00:00 2018-02-08T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7464:what-s-the-data-point-72-4-billion-with-charles-brecher Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 30</strong><strong> -- $72.4 Billion, with Charles Brecher [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/wtdp-w-cbrecher-120.jpg" alt="wtdp w cbrecher 120" width="440" height="120" style="display: block; margin: 10px auto;" /></p> <!--<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/wtdp-w-cbrecher.jpg" alt="wtdp w cbrecher" width="277" height="143" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></p>--> <p>Health care policy and health care funding are among the most pressing issues facing the country, state, and city. Chuck Brecher is an expert on those and related topics, having been research director at Citizens Budget Commission for more than 30 years and now health policy advisor for CBC. Brecher joined the podcast to discuss recent news out of Washington, D.C. that is important to New York, as well as a variety of health care related issues facing New York State and City.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>) and guest Charles Brecher. Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/396465705&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="170" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 30</strong><strong> -- $72.4 Billion, with Charles Brecher [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/wtdp-w-cbrecher-120.jpg" alt="wtdp w cbrecher 120" width="440" height="120" style="display: block; margin: 10px auto;" /></p> <!--<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/wtdp-w-cbrecher.jpg" alt="wtdp w cbrecher" width="277" height="143" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></p>--> <p>Health care policy and health care funding are among the most pressing issues facing the country, state, and city. Chuck Brecher is an expert on those and related topics, having been research director at Citizens Budget Commission for more than 30 years and now health policy advisor for CBC. Brecher joined the podcast to discuss recent news out of Washington, D.C. that is important to New York, as well as a variety of health care related issues facing New York State and City.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>) and guest Charles Brecher. Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/396465705&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="170" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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Community Health Centers, Essential But At Risk, Must Be Funded Now 2018-02-05T05:00:00+00:00 2018-02-05T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7459:community-health-centers-essential-but-at-risk-must-be-funded-now Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/doctors-and-nurses-hearts.jpg" alt="doctors and nurses hearts" width="600" height="373" /></p> <p>Doctors and nurses (photo via @NYCHealthSystem)</p> <hr /> <p>It is no secret that a war is here – a war on immigrants, on LGBTQ people, and communities of color, on the 99%, and more. Health, a part of politics that affects all facets of life, has suffered a brutal onslaught. While some of 2017’s greatest grassroots successes were in defeating Affordable Care Act repeal efforts, recent federal tax overhauls and budget proposals threaten to further strain a healthcare system millions have come to rely on.</p> <p>Lost in the conversation have been critical federal health programs like the Community Health Center Fund. Introduced as part of the original Affordable Care Act legislation in 2010, the Community Health Center Fund has come to represent <a href="https://www.milbank.org/quarterly/articles/community-health-center-fund-whats-risk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">70% of federal grant funding</a> for the nation’s community health centers.</p> <p>Community health centers reaffirm the fundamental right to health for all. They provide health care for low costs regardless of age, ability to pay, insurance access, or immigration status. Community health centers are culturally responsive neighborhood clinics families rely on, not just for primary care but also for specialized services like dental, vision, and behavioral health. Without the full funding they and the communities they serve have come to depend upon, these centers may not be able to serve their patients to their full ability.</p> <p>The Community Health Center Fund was renewed for two years in 2015 as part of the funding renewal for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – and in September, these programs and others expired. The last continuing resolution to address this issue, signed by President Trump on December 22, included short-term renewal funding of CHIP, community health centers, and other vital health programs. However, this resolution provided only <a href="http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20171218/BILLS-115HR1370-RCP115-52.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a portion of the funds these programs need to operate at full strength, and only through March</a>, thus jeopardizing their long-term sustainability.</p> <p>While the latest continuing resolution reopening the federal government through this Thursday, February 8, included a <a href="http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/370314-community-health-centers-await-funding-that-expired-four-months-ago" target="_blank" rel="noopener">six- year renewal of CHIP</a>, community health centers were one of several health initiatives that were surprisingly left once again without any updates. Thus, thanks to Congressional inaction, anywhere between 10 and 50 percent of revenue dollars for over 400 New York City and over 700 New York State community health centers serving 2.2 million residents across the state, is now at risk.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://fpwa.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">FPWA</a> counts community health centers among its member agencies and coalition partners across New York City – and these organizations are alarmed at this political failure.</p> <p>Community Healthcare Network (CHN), which includes 14 community health centers and a fleet of mobiles operating across four boroughs, says that while CHN centers are not at risk of cutting services or staff, cuts to funding will force many centers in New York to curtail care. Care for the Homeless, a social and health services provider that includes substance abuse among its treatment focuses, believes that without federal funding, health centers may have to consider cutting less financially-sustainable services like Medication Assisted Treatment, a tactic critical to combating the opioid epidemic.</p> <p>Without the Community Health Center Fund, New York City will lose over $88 million in 2018, affecting more than a million patients. In addition, Medicaid and CHIP patients make up <a href="http://www.nachc.org/policy-matters/federal-issues/medicaid-and-chip/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">50% of patients served at health centers</a> - and threats to these programs also threaten these centers. While losing this money doesn’t necessarily mean these centers will close, it does impact what services they’re able to provide, how many hours they are able to put in, how many people they can staff, which puts more pressure on the resources they have left. It also limits patients’ other options – and taxes those other options significantly by forcing these other health providers, such as New York City’s fiscally-challenged public hospitals, to provide potentially uncompensated care. This isn’t responsible, nor is it healthy.</p> <p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2018/01/23/the-health-202-chip-won-in-the-government-shutdown-but-community-health-centers-did-not/5a66316730fb0469e88402e7/?utm_term=.eb2512a64ed8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Recent Capitol Hill rumors</a> indicate that community health center funding would be addressed in the next round of budget negotiations in the coming weeks. But these centers, and the communities they serve, have been waiting long enough.</p> <p>For many Americans, health care is anything but routine. When you’re forced to make the choice between your family’s dinner or your dentist co-pay, between your MetroCard for the week or your prescription glasses, what might you choose? Health shouldn’t be a privilege – it should be a norm. Community health centers validate that right every single day.</p> <p>Congressional legislative efforts and comments over the past few months have made it clear – the Trump administration wants tax cuts for the wealthy now at the expense of programs that help everyday Americans access affordable care while still making ends meet.</p> <p>Renewing federal funding for community health centers and other health programs is absolutely a priority and it should have happened by now. It must happen immediately.</p> <p>Tuesday, February 6, is a nationwide Day of Demonstration for America’s Health Centers. Centers have been waiting for over four months to get their federal funding renewed and we need to do everything in our power to get this prioritized in the next piece of budget legislation.</p> <p>It was a battle to keep CHIP and the Affordable Care Act alive – but the war on health isn’t over. As an umbrella organization for New York social services agencies with strong ties to community health centers, FPWA urges all New Yorkers to not let our health care fall victim to politics.</p> <p>Call your senators and representatives – tell them to demand legislation that fully funds the Community Health Center Fund and other crucial health programs now without jeopardizing the health of millions.</p> <p>***<br />Winn Periyasamy is a health policy analyst at <a href="http://www.fpwa.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">FPWA</a>, an advocacy and anti-poverty nonprofit based in New York. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/FPWA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@FPWA</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/doctors-and-nurses-hearts.jpg" alt="doctors and nurses hearts" width="600" height="373" /></p> <p>Doctors and nurses (photo via @NYCHealthSystem)</p> <hr /> <p>It is no secret that a war is here – a war on immigrants, on LGBTQ people, and communities of color, on the 99%, and more. Health, a part of politics that affects all facets of life, has suffered a brutal onslaught. While some of 2017’s greatest grassroots successes were in defeating Affordable Care Act repeal efforts, recent federal tax overhauls and budget proposals threaten to further strain a healthcare system millions have come to rely on.</p> <p>Lost in the conversation have been critical federal health programs like the Community Health Center Fund. Introduced as part of the original Affordable Care Act legislation in 2010, the Community Health Center Fund has come to represent <a href="https://www.milbank.org/quarterly/articles/community-health-center-fund-whats-risk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">70% of federal grant funding</a> for the nation’s community health centers.</p> <p>Community health centers reaffirm the fundamental right to health for all. They provide health care for low costs regardless of age, ability to pay, insurance access, or immigration status. Community health centers are culturally responsive neighborhood clinics families rely on, not just for primary care but also for specialized services like dental, vision, and behavioral health. Without the full funding they and the communities they serve have come to depend upon, these centers may not be able to serve their patients to their full ability.</p> <p>The Community Health Center Fund was renewed for two years in 2015 as part of the funding renewal for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – and in September, these programs and others expired. The last continuing resolution to address this issue, signed by President Trump on December 22, included short-term renewal funding of CHIP, community health centers, and other vital health programs. However, this resolution provided only <a href="http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20171218/BILLS-115HR1370-RCP115-52.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a portion of the funds these programs need to operate at full strength, and only through March</a>, thus jeopardizing their long-term sustainability.</p> <p>While the latest continuing resolution reopening the federal government through this Thursday, February 8, included a <a href="http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/370314-community-health-centers-await-funding-that-expired-four-months-ago" target="_blank" rel="noopener">six- year renewal of CHIP</a>, community health centers were one of several health initiatives that were surprisingly left once again without any updates. Thus, thanks to Congressional inaction, anywhere between 10 and 50 percent of revenue dollars for over 400 New York City and over 700 New York State community health centers serving 2.2 million residents across the state, is now at risk.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://fpwa.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">FPWA</a> counts community health centers among its member agencies and coalition partners across New York City – and these organizations are alarmed at this political failure.</p> <p>Community Healthcare Network (CHN), which includes 14 community health centers and a fleet of mobiles operating across four boroughs, says that while CHN centers are not at risk of cutting services or staff, cuts to funding will force many centers in New York to curtail care. Care for the Homeless, a social and health services provider that includes substance abuse among its treatment focuses, believes that without federal funding, health centers may have to consider cutting less financially-sustainable services like Medication Assisted Treatment, a tactic critical to combating the opioid epidemic.</p> <p>Without the Community Health Center Fund, New York City will lose over $88 million in 2018, affecting more than a million patients. In addition, Medicaid and CHIP patients make up <a href="http://www.nachc.org/policy-matters/federal-issues/medicaid-and-chip/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">50% of patients served at health centers</a> - and threats to these programs also threaten these centers. While losing this money doesn’t necessarily mean these centers will close, it does impact what services they’re able to provide, how many hours they are able to put in, how many people they can staff, which puts more pressure on the resources they have left. It also limits patients’ other options – and taxes those other options significantly by forcing these other health providers, such as New York City’s fiscally-challenged public hospitals, to provide potentially uncompensated care. This isn’t responsible, nor is it healthy.</p> <p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2018/01/23/the-health-202-chip-won-in-the-government-shutdown-but-community-health-centers-did-not/5a66316730fb0469e88402e7/?utm_term=.eb2512a64ed8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Recent Capitol Hill rumors</a> indicate that community health center funding would be addressed in the next round of budget negotiations in the coming weeks. But these centers, and the communities they serve, have been waiting long enough.</p> <p>For many Americans, health care is anything but routine. When you’re forced to make the choice between your family’s dinner or your dentist co-pay, between your MetroCard for the week or your prescription glasses, what might you choose? Health shouldn’t be a privilege – it should be a norm. Community health centers validate that right every single day.</p> <p>Congressional legislative efforts and comments over the past few months have made it clear – the Trump administration wants tax cuts for the wealthy now at the expense of programs that help everyday Americans access affordable care while still making ends meet.</p> <p>Renewing federal funding for community health centers and other health programs is absolutely a priority and it should have happened by now. It must happen immediately.</p> <p>Tuesday, February 6, is a nationwide Day of Demonstration for America’s Health Centers. Centers have been waiting for over four months to get their federal funding renewed and we need to do everything in our power to get this prioritized in the next piece of budget legislation.</p> <p>It was a battle to keep CHIP and the Affordable Care Act alive – but the war on health isn’t over. As an umbrella organization for New York social services agencies with strong ties to community health centers, FPWA urges all New Yorkers to not let our health care fall victim to politics.</p> <p>Call your senators and representatives – tell them to demand legislation that fully funds the Community Health Center Fund and other crucial health programs now without jeopardizing the health of millions.</p> <p>***<br />Winn Periyasamy is a health policy analyst at <a href="http://www.fpwa.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">FPWA</a>, an advocacy and anti-poverty nonprofit based in New York. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/FPWA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@FPWA</a>.</p> <p>

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Amid Health Care Funding Fights, Cuomo Explores Special Session 2017-10-11T04:00:00+00:00 2017-10-11T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7244:amid-health-care-funding-feud-cuomo-explores-special-session Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/andrew-cuomo.jpg" alt="andrew cuomo" width="600" height="381" /></p> <p>Gov.&nbsp;Cuomo with top health and budget aides (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo has been floating the idea of a special legislative session to address federal cuts to the state’s health care programs, as well as other concerns that have developed, since the state budget was agreed to in April.</p> <p>In that budget, Cuomo pushed to include and won a provision granting him nearly unilateral power to adjust the state’s financial plan mid-year in the event of at least $800 million in federal cuts to the state. In April, the governor said the provision would ensure that “we do not overcommit ourselves financially” and indicated it allowed him to sign off on a budget that did not otherwise account for likely federal cuts. But, it appears as if Cuomo may call lawmakers back to Albany -- likely with agreement from the legislative majorities to an agenda -- regardless of whether the threshold has been met.</p> <p>When the state Legislature finished its legislative year in June with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7042-mayoral-control-extended-in-special-session-with-usual-albany-process" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a brief special session</a> to pass mayoral control of schools as well as several smaller measures, such as $55 million in state aid for businesses and homeowners impacted by flooding around Lake Ontario, unknowns surrounding President Donald Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” loomed large.</p> <p>As chatter of a special session to address two lapsed federally subsidized health care programs escalated this week, so did a feud between Cuomo’s administration and that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over $380 million that was earmarked to reimburse New York City Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital network, for expenses incurred treating uninsured and indigent patients over the last two years.</p> <p>In recent weeks, Cuomo has sounded the alarm over four essential funding streams to New York health care systems that are being threatened by Trump and a Republican-led Congress. While the federal Graham-Cassidy bill -- a replacement to the Affordable Care Act that would have cost New York $16.9 billion by 2025, according to projections -- was defeated, and parts of Trump’s sweeping tax plan that target blue states are on shaky ground, the federal government failed to renew the Disproportionate Share Hospitals funds, known as D.S.H., by October 1, creating a potential $2.6 billion shortfall that is expected to disproportionately hit New York City’s public hospital system over the next year and a half.</p> <p>If they remain in effect, the cuts will place a $330,000 burden on Health + Hospitals for federal fiscal year 2018, but the city says the state is also unlawfully holding $380 million in federal funds owed to city hospitals for federal fiscal year 2017, which just ended, for services already provided.</p> <p>This federal funding, which passes through the state, is allocated for municipal and state-run hospitals that treat high volumes of uninsured and indigent patients.</p> <p>While it is unclear whether the cut would justify a budget adjustment by the executive branch given the April budget provision, Cuomo appears to be courting lawmakers to return for a special session that could address D.S.H. and other looming health care deficits.</p> <p>Also lapsing earlier this month is the federal Child Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), which subsidizes New York’s Child Health Plus plan, putting New York in a $1.1 billion hole and potentially jeopardizing the health coverage of 330,000 lower-income New York children, according to Cuomo’s office, though it seems likely a federal deal over the children’s health program may soon be reached. Still, the state has been placed in a precarious position.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/DOHLettertoActingSecretaryWright.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a letter</a> sent Wednesday to Eric Hargan, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker warned that New York will not be able to continue the current Child Health Plus program if Congress fails to renew $1 billion in federal funding, and he said that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will “have no choice but to call a special session of the Legislature.”</p> <p>On Tuesday, Cuomo had dangled the special session idea before 13 upstate lawmakers, and in reality a much wider audience, suggesting in <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/GAMC_Letter.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a letter</a> that an extraordinary legislative session could also be used to amplify and speed up relief funding for Lake Ontario flood victims.</p> <p>“I would support a special session of the legislature to return and appropriate an additional $35 million for this program to fund all eligible applicants in a time frame that recognizes the urgency of the situation,” Cuomo wrote. “There are other pending issues that could also be addressed at a special session, including the financial hardship the State will face from potential federal cutbacks.”</p> <p>In addition to the 11 public hospitals in New York City’s Health + Hospitals system, the D.S.H. cuts directly impact the state-run SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and SUNY Downstate hospitals in Brooklyn, Westchester County Medical Center, Nassau University Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center.</p> <p>None of these facilities will receive payments until adjustments are made, according to Cuomo’s office.</p> <p>The state has retained an outside consultant, KPMG, to figure out how to help health care facilities manage the cuts and Cuomo has repeatedly suggested that the Legislature may be forced to reconvene Congress signals that the money will not be restored by December 31. In a press conference on the topic last Tuesday, the governor suggested that local governments step up to offset some of the cuts.</p> <p>“Nassau needs to help their public hospitals, New York City -- with a $4 billion surplus -- needs to help H+H, and SUNY will need to help Downstate and Upstate hospitals,” he said.</p> <p>The cuts and Cuomo’s approach to dealing with them have ignited another episode in the feud between the governor and de Blasio and on Friday, the&nbsp;de Blasio administration announced its intention to sue New York State for D.S.H funds which administration officials say were expected by the city’s cash-strapped public hospital system for the federal fiscal year that ended on September 30.</p> <p>City officials say they had budgeted with the expectation that $380 million would come through and Health + Hospitals Interim President and CEO Stan Brezenoff revealed that that the hospital system had begun to cut back on hiring to account for the deficit and was prepared to take other undesirable and risky measures.</p> <p>“Our ability to deliver on our mission also relies on all levels of government. Unfortunately, the State is showing a shocking disregard for our mission and appears to have confirmed in public statements that they will not be releasing the $380 million Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) funds that we need and deserve for serving more than one million Medicaid, uninsured and immigrant New Yorkers who relied on our care last fiscal year,” Brezenoff wrote in a letter to staff members last week.</p> <p>As of Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said the lawsuit would be filed “in state court,” but could say when it would be filed, or who would be named in the suit.&nbsp;De Blasio himself has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2017/10/03/de-blasio-says-no-excuse-for-cuomos-holding-onto-dsh-funds-114845" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said</a>&nbsp;that the state’s withholding of past D.S.H payments designated for H+H, "is not normal and there is no excuse for it.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s administration maintains that it is withholding its final payment to New York City’s public hospitals for the 2017 cycle in September because it is still unclear whether the federal government will renew the D.S.H. program.</p> <p>“There’s no way to fund the public hospitals with a $1.1 billion cut unless it is rolled back,” the governor said during a press briefing last week. “In the meantime, we have made no D.S.H. payments to any public hospitals since October 1, which is when the law went into effect. You can’t distribute funding until you know how much you have to distribute.”</p> <p>Cuomo officials say city hospitals should have anticipated the cut, noting that the program, which is associated with the Affordable Care Act, was always intended to be phased out as more New Yorkers became insured.</p> <p>“The federal cuts to DSH have been pending for seven years and we are sure that all responsible CEOs of the state’s public hospitals have been accounting for these potential shortfalls in that time,” said Jason Helgerson, New York State Medicaid Director, in a statement. “The suggestion that the state is somehow in a position to reverse federal cuts is willful political ignorance and a distortion of reality -- only the federal government can possibly restore cuts they’ve enacted. Save for the federal government restoring these funds, there is no way the remaining DSH dollars can reimburse all hospitals at 100 percent.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s office says that it has been in contact with city hospital officials and shared a letter Helgerson sent Brezenoff on September 29, referencing a meeting of healthcare providers to discuss the potentially imminent demise of D.S.H.</p> <p>“While we implored Congress to act, as the October 1 deadline approaches, it is clear&nbsp;they are failing to do so,” the state Medicaid director wrote. “The Governor convened health care providers on September 19 to discuss the possibility of these cuts and held a press conference with the group outlining how harmful they will be.”</p> <p>City officials claim that they have been singled out, and that all the state-run public hospitals have received their payments for the past fiscal year.</p> <p>Regarding the potential lawsuit from New York City, Cuomo spokesperson Dani Lever called the threat “political theatre.”</p> <p>“A more productive action would be to sue the federal government since they are making these devastating cuts, or if it actually cared about patient care, to use its funds to improve the hospital network that it owns,” said Lever.</p> <p>One strategy -- requiring a legislative fix enacted through a special session -- would be to disperse the initial $380 million burden across hospitals throughout the state, most of which do not treat a large number of uninsured patients, state budget director Robert Mujica said in <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/inside-city-hall/2017/10/06/city-vs--state-in-hospital-fight--the-state-side" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an interview with NY1</a> last week.</p> <p>“The way the federal law interacts with the state law presently, is the first year of the cuts really impacts H+H first, under the law,” said Mujica. “So does that mean trying spreading the pain across all of the hospitals? That’s something we really have to look at. But always, redistributing is going to be very challenging. We hope it doesn’t come to that. We hope that the feds restore restore the cuts.”</p> <p>U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2017/09/schumer-reed-say-theyll-do-their-best-to-fight-medicaid-dsh-cuts/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">told State of Politics</a> he’s been leading the charge to restore the hospital funding, described the battle in Congress as “neck-and-neck.”</p> <p>The expiration of CHIP appears less dire; while the funding ended on September 30, states will not run out of the money for several months, and protecting children’s health is an issue that has bipartisan appeal. Schumer, who has been pushing to attach the renewal of CHIP funding to an Obamacare fix intended to stabilize markets and lower premiums, <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/353852-schumer-calls-for-attaching-obamacare-fix-to-childrens-health-insurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said</a> he is working with his Republican colleagues to find a way to pay for the program.</p> <p>About one-third of patients at the city’s public hospitals are uninsured and the network currently receives the largest D.S.H share. However, divvied up across state health care institutions, the $380 million burden would only account for less 1 percent of all hospital revenue, according to Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy, a think tank.</p> <p>"The lost money, if you look at just the federal losses, it’s about $330 million and that grows to $500 million in the second year, so it grows more and more every year. Spread across all the hospitals it would not be such a big deal, but right now it’s concentrated among 11 H+H hospitals, which is a problem,” Hammond said.</p> <p>The ongoing federal health care crisis has also breathed new life into <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/personality/interviews-and-profiles/new-york-health-care-debate.html#.Wd549WJSw6U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the debate</a> over whether New York State would be well-served by a single-payer healthcare system, which Cuomo recently signalled tepid support for in an interview <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/governor-cuomo-talks-daca-and-hurricane-irma-damage-mayor-de-blasio/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">with WNYC radio’s Brian Lehrer.</a></p> <p>A state-level universal health care bill, which guarantees health coverage to all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status, has repeatedly passed the Democratically-controlled Assembly, but has been defeated in the Republican-led state Senate by a sliver of a margin.</p> <p>Assemblymember Dick Gottfried of Manhattan, who sponsors the bill, acknowledged that even if a version of his legislation was enacted tomorrow, it would take several years to fully implement, but said it warranted a second look given the uncertainty coming from Washington.</p> <p>"It would not provide immediate relief, but the cuts that are likely to come from Washington will not come all at once, they will like snowball over the next couple of years," said Gottfried. “If we recognize health care as a right and provide health care coverage to every single New Yorker…Under a single-payer system, safety net hospitals and public hospitals would make out much better than they do today.”</p> <p>Hospitals would save millions of dollars in administrative costs and the state would be in a much better position to bargain with drug companies, as it would represent 20 million patients, Gottfried added.</p> <p>“Those savings are about the only way, realistically, that we can fill the gaps from whatever federal cuts are coming, without significantly damaging other programs or raising taxes,” he said. Critics, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bill-hammond-n-y-s-preposterous-single-payer-fantasy-article-1.2694958" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">including Hammond</a>, have said that Gottfried’s single-payer plan would be far costlier to the state that the Assembly member suggests.</p> <p>When reached for comment on the health care cuts and whether the Assembly is prepared to return to Albany to deal with the situation, Mike Whyland, spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, said, “We care deeply about these hospitals and are closely monitoring it.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan did not respond to a request for comment.&nbsp;</p> <p>

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by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/andrew-cuomo.jpg" alt="andrew cuomo" width="600" height="381" /></p> <p>Gov.&nbsp;Cuomo with top health and budget aides (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo has been floating the idea of a special legislative session to address federal cuts to the state’s health care programs, as well as other concerns that have developed, since the state budget was agreed to in April.</p> <p>In that budget, Cuomo pushed to include and won a provision granting him nearly unilateral power to adjust the state’s financial plan mid-year in the event of at least $800 million in federal cuts to the state. In April, the governor said the provision would ensure that “we do not overcommit ourselves financially” and indicated it allowed him to sign off on a budget that did not otherwise account for likely federal cuts. But, it appears as if Cuomo may call lawmakers back to Albany -- likely with agreement from the legislative majorities to an agenda -- regardless of whether the threshold has been met.</p> <p>When the state Legislature finished its legislative year in June with <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7042-mayoral-control-extended-in-special-session-with-usual-albany-process" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a brief special session</a> to pass mayoral control of schools as well as several smaller measures, such as $55 million in state aid for businesses and homeowners impacted by flooding around Lake Ontario, unknowns surrounding President Donald Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” loomed large.</p> <p>As chatter of a special session to address two lapsed federally subsidized health care programs escalated this week, so did a feud between Cuomo’s administration and that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over $380 million that was earmarked to reimburse New York City Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital network, for expenses incurred treating uninsured and indigent patients over the last two years.</p> <p>In recent weeks, Cuomo has sounded the alarm over four essential funding streams to New York health care systems that are being threatened by Trump and a Republican-led Congress. While the federal Graham-Cassidy bill -- a replacement to the Affordable Care Act that would have cost New York $16.9 billion by 2025, according to projections -- was defeated, and parts of Trump’s sweeping tax plan that target blue states are on shaky ground, the federal government failed to renew the Disproportionate Share Hospitals funds, known as D.S.H., by October 1, creating a potential $2.6 billion shortfall that is expected to disproportionately hit New York City’s public hospital system over the next year and a half.</p> <p>If they remain in effect, the cuts will place a $330,000 burden on Health + Hospitals for federal fiscal year 2018, but the city says the state is also unlawfully holding $380 million in federal funds owed to city hospitals for federal fiscal year 2017, which just ended, for services already provided.</p> <p>This federal funding, which passes through the state, is allocated for municipal and state-run hospitals that treat high volumes of uninsured and indigent patients.</p> <p>While it is unclear whether the cut would justify a budget adjustment by the executive branch given the April budget provision, Cuomo appears to be courting lawmakers to return for a special session that could address D.S.H. and other looming health care deficits.</p> <p>Also lapsing earlier this month is the federal Child Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), which subsidizes New York’s Child Health Plus plan, putting New York in a $1.1 billion hole and potentially jeopardizing the health coverage of 330,000 lower-income New York children, according to Cuomo’s office, though it seems likely a federal deal over the children’s health program may soon be reached. Still, the state has been placed in a precarious position.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/DOHLettertoActingSecretaryWright.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a letter</a> sent Wednesday to Eric Hargan, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker warned that New York will not be able to continue the current Child Health Plus program if Congress fails to renew $1 billion in federal funding, and he said that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will “have no choice but to call a special session of the Legislature.”</p> <p>On Tuesday, Cuomo had dangled the special session idea before 13 upstate lawmakers, and in reality a much wider audience, suggesting in <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/GAMC_Letter.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a letter</a> that an extraordinary legislative session could also be used to amplify and speed up relief funding for Lake Ontario flood victims.</p> <p>“I would support a special session of the legislature to return and appropriate an additional $35 million for this program to fund all eligible applicants in a time frame that recognizes the urgency of the situation,” Cuomo wrote. “There are other pending issues that could also be addressed at a special session, including the financial hardship the State will face from potential federal cutbacks.”</p> <p>In addition to the 11 public hospitals in New York City’s Health + Hospitals system, the D.S.H. cuts directly impact the state-run SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and SUNY Downstate hospitals in Brooklyn, Westchester County Medical Center, Nassau University Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center.</p> <p>None of these facilities will receive payments until adjustments are made, according to Cuomo’s office.</p> <p>The state has retained an outside consultant, KPMG, to figure out how to help health care facilities manage the cuts and Cuomo has repeatedly suggested that the Legislature may be forced to reconvene Congress signals that the money will not be restored by December 31. In a press conference on the topic last Tuesday, the governor suggested that local governments step up to offset some of the cuts.</p> <p>“Nassau needs to help their public hospitals, New York City -- with a $4 billion surplus -- needs to help H+H, and SUNY will need to help Downstate and Upstate hospitals,” he said.</p> <p>The cuts and Cuomo’s approach to dealing with them have ignited another episode in the feud between the governor and de Blasio and on Friday, the&nbsp;de Blasio administration announced its intention to sue New York State for D.S.H funds which administration officials say were expected by the city’s cash-strapped public hospital system for the federal fiscal year that ended on September 30.</p> <p>City officials say they had budgeted with the expectation that $380 million would come through and Health + Hospitals Interim President and CEO Stan Brezenoff revealed that that the hospital system had begun to cut back on hiring to account for the deficit and was prepared to take other undesirable and risky measures.</p> <p>“Our ability to deliver on our mission also relies on all levels of government. Unfortunately, the State is showing a shocking disregard for our mission and appears to have confirmed in public statements that they will not be releasing the $380 million Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) funds that we need and deserve for serving more than one million Medicaid, uninsured and immigrant New Yorkers who relied on our care last fiscal year,” Brezenoff wrote in a letter to staff members last week.</p> <p>As of Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said the lawsuit would be filed “in state court,” but could say when it would be filed, or who would be named in the suit.&nbsp;De Blasio himself has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2017/10/03/de-blasio-says-no-excuse-for-cuomos-holding-onto-dsh-funds-114845" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said</a>&nbsp;that the state’s withholding of past D.S.H payments designated for H+H, "is not normal and there is no excuse for it.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s administration maintains that it is withholding its final payment to New York City’s public hospitals for the 2017 cycle in September because it is still unclear whether the federal government will renew the D.S.H. program.</p> <p>“There’s no way to fund the public hospitals with a $1.1 billion cut unless it is rolled back,” the governor said during a press briefing last week. “In the meantime, we have made no D.S.H. payments to any public hospitals since October 1, which is when the law went into effect. You can’t distribute funding until you know how much you have to distribute.”</p> <p>Cuomo officials say city hospitals should have anticipated the cut, noting that the program, which is associated with the Affordable Care Act, was always intended to be phased out as more New Yorkers became insured.</p> <p>“The federal cuts to DSH have been pending for seven years and we are sure that all responsible CEOs of the state’s public hospitals have been accounting for these potential shortfalls in that time,” said Jason Helgerson, New York State Medicaid Director, in a statement. “The suggestion that the state is somehow in a position to reverse federal cuts is willful political ignorance and a distortion of reality -- only the federal government can possibly restore cuts they’ve enacted. Save for the federal government restoring these funds, there is no way the remaining DSH dollars can reimburse all hospitals at 100 percent.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s office says that it has been in contact with city hospital officials and shared a letter Helgerson sent Brezenoff on September 29, referencing a meeting of healthcare providers to discuss the potentially imminent demise of D.S.H.</p> <p>“While we implored Congress to act, as the October 1 deadline approaches, it is clear&nbsp;they are failing to do so,” the state Medicaid director wrote. “The Governor convened health care providers on September 19 to discuss the possibility of these cuts and held a press conference with the group outlining how harmful they will be.”</p> <p>City officials claim that they have been singled out, and that all the state-run public hospitals have received their payments for the past fiscal year.</p> <p>Regarding the potential lawsuit from New York City, Cuomo spokesperson Dani Lever called the threat “political theatre.”</p> <p>“A more productive action would be to sue the federal government since they are making these devastating cuts, or if it actually cared about patient care, to use its funds to improve the hospital network that it owns,” said Lever.</p> <p>One strategy -- requiring a legislative fix enacted through a special session -- would be to disperse the initial $380 million burden across hospitals throughout the state, most of which do not treat a large number of uninsured patients, state budget director Robert Mujica said in <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/inside-city-hall/2017/10/06/city-vs--state-in-hospital-fight--the-state-side" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an interview with NY1</a> last week.</p> <p>“The way the federal law interacts with the state law presently, is the first year of the cuts really impacts H+H first, under the law,” said Mujica. “So does that mean trying spreading the pain across all of the hospitals? That’s something we really have to look at. But always, redistributing is going to be very challenging. We hope it doesn’t come to that. We hope that the feds restore restore the cuts.”</p> <p>U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2017/09/schumer-reed-say-theyll-do-their-best-to-fight-medicaid-dsh-cuts/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">told State of Politics</a> he’s been leading the charge to restore the hospital funding, described the battle in Congress as “neck-and-neck.”</p> <p>The expiration of CHIP appears less dire; while the funding ended on September 30, states will not run out of the money for several months, and protecting children’s health is an issue that has bipartisan appeal. Schumer, who has been pushing to attach the renewal of CHIP funding to an Obamacare fix intended to stabilize markets and lower premiums, <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/353852-schumer-calls-for-attaching-obamacare-fix-to-childrens-health-insurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said</a> he is working with his Republican colleagues to find a way to pay for the program.</p> <p>About one-third of patients at the city’s public hospitals are uninsured and the network currently receives the largest D.S.H share. However, divvied up across state health care institutions, the $380 million burden would only account for less 1 percent of all hospital revenue, according to Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy, a think tank.</p> <p>"The lost money, if you look at just the federal losses, it’s about $330 million and that grows to $500 million in the second year, so it grows more and more every year. Spread across all the hospitals it would not be such a big deal, but right now it’s concentrated among 11 H+H hospitals, which is a problem,” Hammond said.</p> <p>The ongoing federal health care crisis has also breathed new life into <a href="http://cityandstateny.com/articles/personality/interviews-and-profiles/new-york-health-care-debate.html#.Wd549WJSw6U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the debate</a> over whether New York State would be well-served by a single-payer healthcare system, which Cuomo recently signalled tepid support for in an interview <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/governor-cuomo-talks-daca-and-hurricane-irma-damage-mayor-de-blasio/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">with WNYC radio’s Brian Lehrer.</a></p> <p>A state-level universal health care bill, which guarantees health coverage to all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status, has repeatedly passed the Democratically-controlled Assembly, but has been defeated in the Republican-led state Senate by a sliver of a margin.</p> <p>Assemblymember Dick Gottfried of Manhattan, who sponsors the bill, acknowledged that even if a version of his legislation was enacted tomorrow, it would take several years to fully implement, but said it warranted a second look given the uncertainty coming from Washington.</p> <p>"It would not provide immediate relief, but the cuts that are likely to come from Washington will not come all at once, they will like snowball over the next couple of years," said Gottfried. “If we recognize health care as a right and provide health care coverage to every single New Yorker…Under a single-payer system, safety net hospitals and public hospitals would make out much better than they do today.”</p> <p>Hospitals would save millions of dollars in administrative costs and the state would be in a much better position to bargain with drug companies, as it would represent 20 million patients, Gottfried added.</p> <p>“Those savings are about the only way, realistically, that we can fill the gaps from whatever federal cuts are coming, without significantly damaging other programs or raising taxes,” he said. Critics, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bill-hammond-n-y-s-preposterous-single-payer-fantasy-article-1.2694958" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">including Hammond</a>, have said that Gottfried’s single-payer plan would be far costlier to the state that the Assembly member suggests.</p> <p>When reached for comment on the health care cuts and whether the Assembly is prepared to return to Albany to deal with the situation, Mike Whyland, spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, said, “We care deeply about these hospitals and are closely monitoring it.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan did not respond to a request for comment.&nbsp;</p> <p>

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by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
A Victory for School Based Health Centers, But More To Do 2017-08-24T04:00:00+00:00 2017-08-24T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7151:a-victory-for-school-based-health-centers-but-more-to-do Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/carroll_simon.jpg" alt="carroll simon" width="600" /></p> <p>Assemblymembers Carroll &amp; Simon, the authors (photo via @Bobby4Brooklyn)</p> <hr /> <p>School based health centers (SBHCs) are a critical safety net for immigrants and the uninsured. There are 145 SBHCs serving students in more than 345 schools across the city, regardless of their ability to pay. SBHCs provide primary and preventive care, reproductive and mental health care, and first aid; manage chronic illnesses; and more. From asthma and diabetes to food allergies and anxiety, these clinics can make the difference between life and death for many of our schoolchildren.</p> <p>The clinics yield positive health outcomes and are cost-effective through their provision of preventive health care. They are also wildly popular with parents, students, and school administrators. The city wholeheartedly supports the clinics, which have been shown to reduce absenteeism and enhance school performance. The clinics also fulfill the state’s goal of access to community-based care.</p> <p>Therefore, it was alarming when four schools in&nbsp;District 15 received a letter in June from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which operates five SBHCs, informing them that state funding had been dramatically reduced and that the SUNY Downstate SBHCs were in jeopardy.&nbsp;</p> <p>A combination of a 20% cut in non-Medicaid funding in the 2017-18 State Budget ($3.9M), a May 2017 change by the State Department of Health to the funding methodology for the distribution of non-Medicaid funds, and a July 1, 2018 deadline to be carved-in to Medicaid Managed Care has created underfunding and instability to the SBHCs.&nbsp;</p> <p>SUNY Downstate was a big loser in the state’s funding methodology changes that followed closely on the heels of the state’s budget cuts: SUNY Downstate’s budget for 2017-18 was slashed by 70%, from $669,322 to $198,187. While some sponsors received more money and are scheduled to open new centers this year, some of the larger sponsors took significant blows to their budget; NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers also took a cut of over $500,000, as did Mt. Sinai Hospital, which experienced a nearly $700,000 loss.</p> <p>SUNY Downstate later announced that the cuts were unsustainable and that it could not operate four of its five centers. This included the centers at M.S. 51 William Alexander; Brooklyn New School (BNS) and Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies; P.S. 38 the Pacific School; and the School for International Studies and Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School.</p> <p>Quickly, a coalition of parents, administrators, community leaders, labor unions, and elected officials came together to organize and fight back and everyone pitched in.&nbsp;An online petition in support of the centers was launched by the local elected officials. Jeremy Amar, a parent at MS 51, created posters of several student beneficiaries of the SBHCs with the slogan: “save your school based health center; community health starts here.” Amy Sumner, a parent coordinator from BNS 146, put out the call for personal stories about an SBHC and they poured in.</p> <p>Thankfully, the coalition’s advocacy efforts were successful. SUNY Downstate decided that no matter the level of state funding that it received, it will continue to operate the four clinics for this year.&nbsp;We are very grateful that SUNY Downstate has stepped up for our children, but recognize the need to ensure the long-term viability of the SBHCs. It’s very likely that we will need to find a new sponsor for the four centers next year and we all need to make sure SBHCs across the city and state are properly funded going forward.</p> <p>According to a study by the Children’s Defense Fund, next year’s Medicaid carve-in will reduce revenues to SBHCs by $16.3 million -- on top of this year’s cuts. Legislation was passed by the State Legislature to enact a permanent Medicaid Managed Carve-Out for SBHCs (A7866 /S6012). We are hopeful that Governor Cuomo will sign that bill into law by the end of the year.</p> <p>SBHCs are only one piece in a very complex and large health care system, but this experience has demonstrated that these small pieces often have a significant impact on the daily lives of New Yorkers and their children. We are proud that our coalition came together to save these clinics because they are vital to the health of our students in District 15 and as elected members of the state Assembly we are committed to seeing to it that they are preserved for many school years to come.&nbsp;</p> <p>***<br /> By Robert Carroll, Assemblymember, 44th District, &amp; Jo Anne Simon, Assemblymember, 52nd District. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Bobby4Brooklyn" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@Bobby4Brooklyn</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/JoAnneSimonBK52" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JoAnneSimonBK52</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/carroll_simon.jpg" alt="carroll simon" width="600" /></p> <p>Assemblymembers Carroll &amp; Simon, the authors (photo via @Bobby4Brooklyn)</p> <hr /> <p>School based health centers (SBHCs) are a critical safety net for immigrants and the uninsured. There are 145 SBHCs serving students in more than 345 schools across the city, regardless of their ability to pay. SBHCs provide primary and preventive care, reproductive and mental health care, and first aid; manage chronic illnesses; and more. From asthma and diabetes to food allergies and anxiety, these clinics can make the difference between life and death for many of our schoolchildren.</p> <p>The clinics yield positive health outcomes and are cost-effective through their provision of preventive health care. They are also wildly popular with parents, students, and school administrators. The city wholeheartedly supports the clinics, which have been shown to reduce absenteeism and enhance school performance. The clinics also fulfill the state’s goal of access to community-based care.</p> <p>Therefore, it was alarming when four schools in&nbsp;District 15 received a letter in June from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which operates five SBHCs, informing them that state funding had been dramatically reduced and that the SUNY Downstate SBHCs were in jeopardy.&nbsp;</p> <p>A combination of a 20% cut in non-Medicaid funding in the 2017-18 State Budget ($3.9M), a May 2017 change by the State Department of Health to the funding methodology for the distribution of non-Medicaid funds, and a July 1, 2018 deadline to be carved-in to Medicaid Managed Care has created underfunding and instability to the SBHCs.&nbsp;</p> <p>SUNY Downstate was a big loser in the state’s funding methodology changes that followed closely on the heels of the state’s budget cuts: SUNY Downstate’s budget for 2017-18 was slashed by 70%, from $669,322 to $198,187. While some sponsors received more money and are scheduled to open new centers this year, some of the larger sponsors took significant blows to their budget; NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers also took a cut of over $500,000, as did Mt. Sinai Hospital, which experienced a nearly $700,000 loss.</p> <p>SUNY Downstate later announced that the cuts were unsustainable and that it could not operate four of its five centers. This included the centers at M.S. 51 William Alexander; Brooklyn New School (BNS) and Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies; P.S. 38 the Pacific School; and the School for International Studies and Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School.</p> <p>Quickly, a coalition of parents, administrators, community leaders, labor unions, and elected officials came together to organize and fight back and everyone pitched in.&nbsp;An online petition in support of the centers was launched by the local elected officials. Jeremy Amar, a parent at MS 51, created posters of several student beneficiaries of the SBHCs with the slogan: “save your school based health center; community health starts here.” Amy Sumner, a parent coordinator from BNS 146, put out the call for personal stories about an SBHC and they poured in.</p> <p>Thankfully, the coalition’s advocacy efforts were successful. SUNY Downstate decided that no matter the level of state funding that it received, it will continue to operate the four clinics for this year.&nbsp;We are very grateful that SUNY Downstate has stepped up for our children, but recognize the need to ensure the long-term viability of the SBHCs. It’s very likely that we will need to find a new sponsor for the four centers next year and we all need to make sure SBHCs across the city and state are properly funded going forward.</p> <p>According to a study by the Children’s Defense Fund, next year’s Medicaid carve-in will reduce revenues to SBHCs by $16.3 million -- on top of this year’s cuts. Legislation was passed by the State Legislature to enact a permanent Medicaid Managed Carve-Out for SBHCs (A7866 /S6012). We are hopeful that Governor Cuomo will sign that bill into law by the end of the year.</p> <p>SBHCs are only one piece in a very complex and large health care system, but this experience has demonstrated that these small pieces often have a significant impact on the daily lives of New Yorkers and their children. We are proud that our coalition came together to save these clinics because they are vital to the health of our students in District 15 and as elected members of the state Assembly we are committed to seeing to it that they are preserved for many school years to come.&nbsp;</p> <p>***<br /> By Robert Carroll, Assemblymember, 44th District, &amp; Jo Anne Simon, Assemblymember, 52nd District. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Bobby4Brooklyn" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@Bobby4Brooklyn</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/JoAnneSimonBK52" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JoAnneSimonBK52</a>.</p> <p>

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100 Years Later, Planned Parenthood of NYC is Still Growing to Meet New Yorkers’ Needs 2016-10-28T04:00:00+00:00 2016-10-28T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6597:100-years-later-planned-parenthood-of-nyc-is-still-growing-to-meet-new-yorkers-needs Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/ppnyc100.jpg" alt="ppnyc100" width="600" height="363" />&nbsp;</p> <p>PPNYC celebrates 100 years with First Lady McCray</p> <hr /> <p>One hundred years ago, in 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn as a small birth control clinic. Since then, PPNYC has grown to five health centers—one in each borough—and provides sexual and reproductive health care services and information to more than 64,000 New Yorkers each year, and reaches another 25,000 through our extensive sex education programs.</p> <p>Incredible gains have been made over the past century. PPNYC has been at the forefront of increasing access to birth control, ensuring the availability of safe and legal abortion, and getting coverage for preventive care and birth control under the Affordable Care Act. Today, we continue to be a champion for access to sexual and reproductive health care, improving sexuality education, and advocating for policies that make the lives of New Yorkers better every day.</p> <p>But even with all the progress we’ve made, we are only just getting started. As the city has grown, we’ve changed and adapted as the communities we serve have changed. Our goal is to expand our services to better meet the needs of all New Yorkers—including men, young adults, gender nonconforming people, and the LGBTQ community.</p> <p>Today, PPNYC continues to serve Brownsville not as a stand-alone clinic, but through Project Street Beat, an innovative street-based outreach program that provides HIV prevention services and counseling. The Project Street Beat - Keith Haring Foundation Mobile Medical Unit delivers care to some of our city’s most vulnerable individuals by meeting them right in their own community. This year, PPNYC is rolling out new services to provide more care to the communities we serve. In August, we began offering PrEP at our health centers, a daily pill that helps prevent HIV. By the end of 2016, we’ll be offering vasectomies and transgender hormone therapy.</p> <p>Providing welcoming and trans-affirming care is essential to meet our goal of providing the best possible health care to all New Yorkers. And as always, our services are offered to everyone who comes through our doors—regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.</p> <p>Along with our new services, our Education Department is also expanding and developing innovative strategies to reach even more New Yorkers, including the launch of a new program called Sexuality Education for Adults. Additionally, Promotores de Salud, PPNYC’s initiative that trains neighborhood residents to serve as peer health educators in the community, will partner with Project Street Beat to offer medical interpreting alongside sexual and reproductive health services.</p> <p>PPNYC’s work is grounded in the idea that reproductive health and rights are closely intertwined with social justice issues. Many of the communities that we serve experience systemic oppressions dictated by race, gender, ethnicity, income, immigration status, ability, and more. We work alongside community-based organizations and reproductive justice organizations in the fight for a world where access to health care and rights are a reality for all people.</p> <p>We are determined to fight for this goal now and always, and we are committed to improving the lives of New Yorkers—no matter what. We are 100 years strong and getting stronger. Our vision has always been to work toward a world where people have full control of their bodies and destinies. As we commemorate the extraordinary achievements made over our first 100 years, we are proud to launch our second century with as much passion, courage and conviction as our first.</p> <p>***<br />Joan Malin is President and CEO of <a href="http://www.ppnyc.org" target="_blank">Planned Parenthood of New York City</a>.</p> <p>

***
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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/ppnyc100.jpg" alt="ppnyc100" width="600" height="363" />&nbsp;</p> <p>PPNYC celebrates 100 years with First Lady McCray</p> <hr /> <p>One hundred years ago, in 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn as a small birth control clinic. Since then, PPNYC has grown to five health centers—one in each borough—and provides sexual and reproductive health care services and information to more than 64,000 New Yorkers each year, and reaches another 25,000 through our extensive sex education programs.</p> <p>Incredible gains have been made over the past century. PPNYC has been at the forefront of increasing access to birth control, ensuring the availability of safe and legal abortion, and getting coverage for preventive care and birth control under the Affordable Care Act. Today, we continue to be a champion for access to sexual and reproductive health care, improving sexuality education, and advocating for policies that make the lives of New Yorkers better every day.</p> <p>But even with all the progress we’ve made, we are only just getting started. As the city has grown, we’ve changed and adapted as the communities we serve have changed. Our goal is to expand our services to better meet the needs of all New Yorkers—including men, young adults, gender nonconforming people, and the LGBTQ community.</p> <p>Today, PPNYC continues to serve Brownsville not as a stand-alone clinic, but through Project Street Beat, an innovative street-based outreach program that provides HIV prevention services and counseling. The Project Street Beat - Keith Haring Foundation Mobile Medical Unit delivers care to some of our city’s most vulnerable individuals by meeting them right in their own community. This year, PPNYC is rolling out new services to provide more care to the communities we serve. In August, we began offering PrEP at our health centers, a daily pill that helps prevent HIV. By the end of 2016, we’ll be offering vasectomies and transgender hormone therapy.</p> <p>Providing welcoming and trans-affirming care is essential to meet our goal of providing the best possible health care to all New Yorkers. And as always, our services are offered to everyone who comes through our doors—regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.</p> <p>Along with our new services, our Education Department is also expanding and developing innovative strategies to reach even more New Yorkers, including the launch of a new program called Sexuality Education for Adults. Additionally, Promotores de Salud, PPNYC’s initiative that trains neighborhood residents to serve as peer health educators in the community, will partner with Project Street Beat to offer medical interpreting alongside sexual and reproductive health services.</p> <p>PPNYC’s work is grounded in the idea that reproductive health and rights are closely intertwined with social justice issues. Many of the communities that we serve experience systemic oppressions dictated by race, gender, ethnicity, income, immigration status, ability, and more. We work alongside community-based organizations and reproductive justice organizations in the fight for a world where access to health care and rights are a reality for all people.</p> <p>We are determined to fight for this goal now and always, and we are committed to improving the lives of New Yorkers—no matter what. We are 100 years strong and getting stronger. Our vision has always been to work toward a world where people have full control of their bodies and destinies. As we commemorate the extraordinary achievements made over our first 100 years, we are proud to launch our second century with as much passion, courage and conviction as our first.</p> <p>***<br />Joan Malin is President and CEO of <a href="http://www.ppnyc.org" target="_blank">Planned Parenthood of New York City</a>.</p> <p>

***
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To Prevent Zika Threats, Reproductive Health Care is Necessary 2016-08-21T04:00:00+00:00 2016-08-21T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6490:to-prevent-zika-threats-reproductive-health-care-is-necessary Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/bassett_mayor_zika_nychealthy.jpg" alt="bassett mayor zika nychealthy" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p dir="ltr">City's health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, discusses Zika (photo: @nychealthy)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">As the Zika virus continues to make headlines around the world, it is crucial that our city, state and federal governments do all that they can to prevent the spread of Zika. This is especially important in New York City, home to approximately 25% of the cases in the United States. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Our elected officials are doing just that. The Mayor&rsquo;s Office has unveiled <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/365-16/mayor-de-blasio-three-year-five-borough-plan-protect-new-yorkers-the-zika-virus#/0" target="_blank">a three-year plan</a> focused on increasing clinical services, controlling mosquito populations, and raising public awareness through media campaigns and outreach to over 200 health care providers that serve New York City women. Additionally, just this week, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;<a href="http://advocate.nyc.gov/news/articles/pa-james-announces-recommendations-protect-new-yorkers-zika-virus">put forth a list of recommendations</a>&nbsp;to prevent the spread of Zika in our city, which among its many important proposals, calls for more education and increased access to sexual and reproductive health services to protect New Yorkers from exposure to Zika and its related health risks.</p> <p dir="ltr">Zika is primarily spread by mosquito bites. However, we now understand that it can also be transmitted sexually. The <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/protect-yourself-during-sex.html" target="_blank">CDC recommends</a> that men with symptoms abstain from sex or use condoms for at least six months and that all people who travel to places where Zika is spreading abstain from sex for at least eight weeks or use barrier methods like condoms or dental dams, whether they have symptoms or not.</p> <p dir="ltr">At Planned Parenthood of New York City, we have long recognized how integral it is to public health that all people have the services and information they need to decide if and when to have children, and to protect their sexual health. This is even more critical with the threat of the Zika virus and its effects on infant development.</p> <p dir="ltr">As one of the city&rsquo;s leading provider of high-quality sexual and reproductive health care services, PPNYC delivers the care New Yorkers need to reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission of Zika through the provision of condoms and other forms of birth control that can prevent or delay pregnancy until the risk has passed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, we understand that in the face of Zika, it is imperative that we continue to protect access to safe and legal abortion. As of August 2016, <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/zika-virus-new-york-city-49-cases-confirmed-pregnant-women-2402761" target="_blank">49 pregnant women have tested positive for the Zika virus</a> in New York City. PPNYC is committed to making sure that all people have the information and services necessary to make the best decision for them, whether that is to prevent unintended pregnancy, safely end a pregnancy, or carry a pregnancy to term and raise a child.</p> <p dir="ltr">The importance of sexual and reproductive health services to public health cannot be overstated.</p> <p dir="ltr">We <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/08/16/de-blasio-zika-congress-funding/" target="_blank">applaud Mayor de Blasio</a> and Public Advocate James for emphasizing the importance of stemming the spread of Zika, and for recognizing how PPNYC&rsquo;s services can help ensure that all New Yorkers have the resources and care they need to protect themselves and their families against Zika.</p> <p dir="ltr">PPNYC is proud to be working alongside our city&rsquo;s other health care providers and elected officials to reduce the transmission of the Zika virus to keep New Yorkers healthy.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Joan Malin is President and CEO of <a href="https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-new-york-city" target="_blank">Planned Parenthood of New York City</a>.</p> <p>

***
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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/bassett_mayor_zika_nychealthy.jpg" alt="bassett mayor zika nychealthy" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p dir="ltr">City's health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, discusses Zika (photo: @nychealthy)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">As the Zika virus continues to make headlines around the world, it is crucial that our city, state and federal governments do all that they can to prevent the spread of Zika. This is especially important in New York City, home to approximately 25% of the cases in the United States. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Our elected officials are doing just that. The Mayor&rsquo;s Office has unveiled <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/365-16/mayor-de-blasio-three-year-five-borough-plan-protect-new-yorkers-the-zika-virus#/0" target="_blank">a three-year plan</a> focused on increasing clinical services, controlling mosquito populations, and raising public awareness through media campaigns and outreach to over 200 health care providers that serve New York City women. Additionally, just this week, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;<a href="http://advocate.nyc.gov/news/articles/pa-james-announces-recommendations-protect-new-yorkers-zika-virus">put forth a list of recommendations</a>&nbsp;to prevent the spread of Zika in our city, which among its many important proposals, calls for more education and increased access to sexual and reproductive health services to protect New Yorkers from exposure to Zika and its related health risks.</p> <p dir="ltr">Zika is primarily spread by mosquito bites. However, we now understand that it can also be transmitted sexually. The <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/protect-yourself-during-sex.html" target="_blank">CDC recommends</a> that men with symptoms abstain from sex or use condoms for at least six months and that all people who travel to places where Zika is spreading abstain from sex for at least eight weeks or use barrier methods like condoms or dental dams, whether they have symptoms or not.</p> <p dir="ltr">At Planned Parenthood of New York City, we have long recognized how integral it is to public health that all people have the services and information they need to decide if and when to have children, and to protect their sexual health. This is even more critical with the threat of the Zika virus and its effects on infant development.</p> <p dir="ltr">As one of the city&rsquo;s leading provider of high-quality sexual and reproductive health care services, PPNYC delivers the care New Yorkers need to reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission of Zika through the provision of condoms and other forms of birth control that can prevent or delay pregnancy until the risk has passed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, we understand that in the face of Zika, it is imperative that we continue to protect access to safe and legal abortion. As of August 2016, <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/zika-virus-new-york-city-49-cases-confirmed-pregnant-women-2402761" target="_blank">49 pregnant women have tested positive for the Zika virus</a> in New York City. PPNYC is committed to making sure that all people have the information and services necessary to make the best decision for them, whether that is to prevent unintended pregnancy, safely end a pregnancy, or carry a pregnancy to term and raise a child.</p> <p dir="ltr">The importance of sexual and reproductive health services to public health cannot be overstated.</p> <p dir="ltr">We <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/08/16/de-blasio-zika-congress-funding/" target="_blank">applaud Mayor de Blasio</a> and Public Advocate James for emphasizing the importance of stemming the spread of Zika, and for recognizing how PPNYC&rsquo;s services can help ensure that all New Yorkers have the resources and care they need to protect themselves and their families against Zika.</p> <p dir="ltr">PPNYC is proud to be working alongside our city&rsquo;s other health care providers and elected officials to reduce the transmission of the Zika virus to keep New Yorkers healthy.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Joan Malin is President and CEO of <a href="https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-new-york-city" target="_blank">Planned Parenthood of New York City</a>.</p> <p>

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A Budget for the City of Immigrants 2016-05-24T15:21:53+00:00 2016-05-24T15:21:53+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6353:a-budget-for-the-city-of-immigrants Aaron Holmes <p>&nbsp;<img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2015/adult-lit-classes-12.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="adult lit classes 12" /></p> <p>Students of an adult literacy class (photo: Make the Road New York)</p> <hr /> <p>In recent years, New York City has taken major strides forward in its engagement with immigrant communities. Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the Council as a whole, our city has adopted and invested in new initiatives to welcome and protect immigrants and embrace their tremendous economic, cultural, and political contributions.</p> <p>Now, with the 2017 budget process in final negotiations, our leaders have a key opportunity to further address the barriers to opportunity and equity that immigrant communities continue to face. That’s why today, five leading immigrant organizations are releasing a new report, “<a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4279" target="_blank">A Budget for the City of Immigrants</a>,” which identifies key policy areas in which immigrant communities need further investment.</p> <p>Despite path-breaking initiatives like IDNYC (the municipal identification card program), ActionNYC (one of the nation’s first large-scale municipal navigation and outreach programs to connect people to free immigration legal screenings), and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (the nation’s first program to guarantee counsel to low-income immigrants facing deportation), immigrants still face enormous challenges in accessing public services, getting the support to succeed in the workforce, and being informed of their rights.</p> <p>The new report highlights key priorities across various issue areas, ranging from adult education to youth programs to health care access, but a few priorities bear particular mention.</p> <p>First, our City must expand its investment in adult literacy to a baselined $16 million per year.</p> <p>Adult newcomers who have come here to work and support their families often struggle with limited English proficiency (LEP). Despite enormous demand for adult literacy classes, supply has lagged—less than three percent of those in need can access community-based adult education programs. A recent Make the Road New York and Center for Popular Democracy report, “<a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4259" target="_blank">Teaching Toward Equity</a>: The Importance of English Classes to Reducing Economic Inequality in New York,” highlights how meeting the language needs of LEP New Yorkers would both further immigrant integration and generate billions of dollars in new earnings. New York City can lead again by making sure that adult immigrants can learn English and develop the tools they need to thrive.</p> <p>Second, our city must direct $13.5 million for immigration legal services for complex cases.</p> <p>Currently, New York City provides few resources for complex immigration legal cases where an individual is facing imminent deportation yet cannot be served under most existing funding streams. This leaves thousands of immigrants on waiting lists. A survey by the New York Immigration Coalition of the city's legal services providers noted that 60% of immigrants seeking their services had complex cases that need intensive representation. Further resources must focus on these complex immigration cases—especially for families who are on the verge of being torn apart without adequate legal representation.</p> <p>Third, our city must expand its investment in Access Health NYC to $5 million.</p> <p>This new City Council initiative has shown tremendous promise by working with community organizations like the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families to educate immigrants about health care options and enroll them for coverage, wherever possible. Health care access is another area where our city has shown leadership, and it should expand its commitment in this budget year.</p> <p>Fourth, our city must move forward with the investment of $868 million in capital funding for the construction of new classrooms and schools to combat overcrowding and pursue additional means to meet the more than 100,000 school seats needed citywide.</p> <p>The 2017 budget must include strong investment to address this widespread problem, while our leaders explore further action in future years to fix it once and for all.</p> <p>Finally, New York City must take further steps to strengthen the landscape of grassroots, immigrant-led nonprofit organizations that are the backbone of our communities yet often struggle, as the Asian American Federation and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies have noted, to operate on a level playing field with larger organizations.</p> <p>By increasing the Nonprofit Stabilization Fund to $5 million and amending municipal contracting policies to open new opportunities for these smaller organizations, the city can go a long way to strengthening immigrant communities as well.</p> <p>The priorities outlined in A Budget for the City of Immigrants, of which these are just a few, show concrete opportunities to consolidate the progress our city has made with respect to immigrant communities and ensure that we continue to move forward. With immigrant communities at the heart of our global city, we must use this budget cycle to continue to lead the way in welcoming and protecting immigrants.</p> <p>What is good for immigrant communities is good for New York City, the city of immigrants.</p> <p>***<br /><em>Javier H. Valdés is the Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. Steve Choi is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. On Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/maketheroadny" target="_blank">@MaketheRoadNY</a> &amp; <a href="http://twitter.com/thenyic" target="_blank">@thenyic</a>.</em></p> <p>

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<p>&nbsp;<img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2015/adult-lit-classes-12.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="adult lit classes 12" /></p> <p>Students of an adult literacy class (photo: Make the Road New York)</p> <hr /> <p>In recent years, New York City has taken major strides forward in its engagement with immigrant communities. Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the Council as a whole, our city has adopted and invested in new initiatives to welcome and protect immigrants and embrace their tremendous economic, cultural, and political contributions.</p> <p>Now, with the 2017 budget process in final negotiations, our leaders have a key opportunity to further address the barriers to opportunity and equity that immigrant communities continue to face. That’s why today, five leading immigrant organizations are releasing a new report, “<a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4279" target="_blank">A Budget for the City of Immigrants</a>,” which identifies key policy areas in which immigrant communities need further investment.</p> <p>Despite path-breaking initiatives like IDNYC (the municipal identification card program), ActionNYC (one of the nation’s first large-scale municipal navigation and outreach programs to connect people to free immigration legal screenings), and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (the nation’s first program to guarantee counsel to low-income immigrants facing deportation), immigrants still face enormous challenges in accessing public services, getting the support to succeed in the workforce, and being informed of their rights.</p> <p>The new report highlights key priorities across various issue areas, ranging from adult education to youth programs to health care access, but a few priorities bear particular mention.</p> <p>First, our City must expand its investment in adult literacy to a baselined $16 million per year.</p> <p>Adult newcomers who have come here to work and support their families often struggle with limited English proficiency (LEP). Despite enormous demand for adult literacy classes, supply has lagged—less than three percent of those in need can access community-based adult education programs. A recent Make the Road New York and Center for Popular Democracy report, “<a href="http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=4259" target="_blank">Teaching Toward Equity</a>: The Importance of English Classes to Reducing Economic Inequality in New York,” highlights how meeting the language needs of LEP New Yorkers would both further immigrant integration and generate billions of dollars in new earnings. New York City can lead again by making sure that adult immigrants can learn English and develop the tools they need to thrive.</p> <p>Second, our city must direct $13.5 million for immigration legal services for complex cases.</p> <p>Currently, New York City provides few resources for complex immigration legal cases where an individual is facing imminent deportation yet cannot be served under most existing funding streams. This leaves thousands of immigrants on waiting lists. A survey by the New York Immigration Coalition of the city's legal services providers noted that 60% of immigrants seeking their services had complex cases that need intensive representation. Further resources must focus on these complex immigration cases—especially for families who are on the verge of being torn apart without adequate legal representation.</p> <p>Third, our city must expand its investment in Access Health NYC to $5 million.</p> <p>This new City Council initiative has shown tremendous promise by working with community organizations like the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families to educate immigrants about health care options and enroll them for coverage, wherever possible. Health care access is another area where our city has shown leadership, and it should expand its commitment in this budget year.</p> <p>Fourth, our city must move forward with the investment of $868 million in capital funding for the construction of new classrooms and schools to combat overcrowding and pursue additional means to meet the more than 100,000 school seats needed citywide.</p> <p>The 2017 budget must include strong investment to address this widespread problem, while our leaders explore further action in future years to fix it once and for all.</p> <p>Finally, New York City must take further steps to strengthen the landscape of grassroots, immigrant-led nonprofit organizations that are the backbone of our communities yet often struggle, as the Asian American Federation and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies have noted, to operate on a level playing field with larger organizations.</p> <p>By increasing the Nonprofit Stabilization Fund to $5 million and amending municipal contracting policies to open new opportunities for these smaller organizations, the city can go a long way to strengthening immigrant communities as well.</p> <p>The priorities outlined in A Budget for the City of Immigrants, of which these are just a few, show concrete opportunities to consolidate the progress our city has made with respect to immigrant communities and ensure that we continue to move forward. With immigrant communities at the heart of our global city, we must use this budget cycle to continue to lead the way in welcoming and protecting immigrants.</p> <p>What is good for immigrant communities is good for New York City, the city of immigrants.</p> <p>***<br /><em>Javier H. Valdés is the Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. Steve Choi is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. On Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/maketheroadny" target="_blank">@MaketheRoadNY</a> &amp; <a href="http://twitter.com/thenyic" target="_blank">@thenyic</a>.</em></p> <p>

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Home Care Workers Need a Dedicated Advocate 2016-05-22T04:00:00+00:00 2016-05-22T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6345:home-care-workers-need-a-dedicated-advocate Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/home_health.jpg" alt="home health" height="314" width="600" /></p> <p>photo via PHI&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>Nearly 175,000 New York City residents go to work each day in the homes of New Yorkers who are elderly or living with disabilities. Predominantly immigrant women of color, these aides assist with personal care, medications and other health-related tasks, meals, housekeeping, and a variety of other activities. They are crucial to keeping people who are frail or suffering from chronic illnesses healthy, safe, and independent. They have become vital to system reform efforts intended to improve the health of New Yorkers while also reducing costly and unnecessary visits to emergency rooms.</p> <p>Home care workers, who may be home health aides or personal care aides, comprise the single largest occupational group in New York City. Nonetheless, they have a long history of marginalization: poverty-level wages, lack of standard labor protections, part-time hours, insufficient training and support on the job. That situation is beginning to change as policymakers recognize that the city faces a potential care crisis: a rapidly growing older population that requires a stable, skilled workforce to provide home care services.</p> <p>Over the past five years, a raft of new federal, state, and local regulations - Wage Parity for personal care and home health aides, Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and expansion of Fair Labor Standards Act to include home care aides - have been put in place to raise wages and improve working conditions. In addition, home care aides are affected by the rising minimum wage and new paid leave regulations. These measures are critical to improving the quality of home care jobs and attracting new workers, but they also have created a level of complexity that makes it difficult for employers to comply and for workers to know their rights.</p> <p>The Wage Parity law requires that a home care aide be paid $10 per hour during the time she is with her client. She is paid minimum wage, currently $9 an hour, for travel time between clients. If her total number of weekly hours, including travel, is 45 hours, she must be paid time-and-a-half on her base wage for the hours over 40. The employer must calculate the base wage using a formula that accounts for hours worked ($10/hour) and paid travel time ($9/hour). How is this worker able to determine if she is being paid the right amount? What if she has an overnight shift? For how many hours should she be paid, and at what wage?</p> <p>Both employers and home care aides need an unbiased source of information and assistance to navigate these rules and regulations. That is why PHI supports the proposal to include a Division of Paid Care, with a public advocate devoted to supporting the home care and day care workforces, in the new city Office of Labor Standards. For New York City’s home care workforce, this office could offer several crucial services:</p> <p><strong>Education:</strong> Assist home care workers and their employers in learning about labor laws and regulations. For example, the advocate could spearhead public education on rules regarding compensation and labor protections. The advocate would also be available via a toll-free number to answer any questions workers had about their rights.</p> <p><strong>Tracking and Reporting:</strong> Create a system for reporting complaints, cataloguing questions, and providing timely answers to frequently asked questions. An effective system would provide workers with a supportive environment in which to learn about their rights and file a complaint, if warranted. The advocate could track complaints and issue an annual report describing type and frequency, and propose appropriate measures to reduce violations.</p> <p><strong>Assistance and Support:</strong> Help workers access state and local services for low-wage workers - for example, connecting workers to child care or health care resources. In addition, the advocate could provide information on available training programs and their costs.</p> <p>To keep up with growing demand, it is estimated that New York City will need to grow its home care workforce 45 percent - more than 72,000 workers - over the next decade. To ensure quality home care services, New York City also needs to increase retention of well-trained, experienced aides. A Division of Paid Care could help to ensure quality jobs, with fair pay and adequate support, making home care a more attractive career for thousands of workers who could easily choose fast-food or other jobs over caring for the city’s most vulnerable elders.</p> <p>***<br />Carol A. Rodat is the New York Policy Director for <a href="http://www.phinational.org/" target="_blank">PHI</a>, a national nonprofit affiliated with a New York health care system that includes Cooperative Home Care Associates, a worker-owned home care agency, and Independent Care System, a managed-care organization. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/phinational/" target="_blank">@PHInational</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/home_health.jpg" alt="home health" height="314" width="600" /></p> <p>photo via PHI&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>Nearly 175,000 New York City residents go to work each day in the homes of New Yorkers who are elderly or living with disabilities. Predominantly immigrant women of color, these aides assist with personal care, medications and other health-related tasks, meals, housekeeping, and a variety of other activities. They are crucial to keeping people who are frail or suffering from chronic illnesses healthy, safe, and independent. They have become vital to system reform efforts intended to improve the health of New Yorkers while also reducing costly and unnecessary visits to emergency rooms.</p> <p>Home care workers, who may be home health aides or personal care aides, comprise the single largest occupational group in New York City. Nonetheless, they have a long history of marginalization: poverty-level wages, lack of standard labor protections, part-time hours, insufficient training and support on the job. That situation is beginning to change as policymakers recognize that the city faces a potential care crisis: a rapidly growing older population that requires a stable, skilled workforce to provide home care services.</p> <p>Over the past five years, a raft of new federal, state, and local regulations - Wage Parity for personal care and home health aides, Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and expansion of Fair Labor Standards Act to include home care aides - have been put in place to raise wages and improve working conditions. In addition, home care aides are affected by the rising minimum wage and new paid leave regulations. These measures are critical to improving the quality of home care jobs and attracting new workers, but they also have created a level of complexity that makes it difficult for employers to comply and for workers to know their rights.</p> <p>The Wage Parity law requires that a home care aide be paid $10 per hour during the time she is with her client. She is paid minimum wage, currently $9 an hour, for travel time between clients. If her total number of weekly hours, including travel, is 45 hours, she must be paid time-and-a-half on her base wage for the hours over 40. The employer must calculate the base wage using a formula that accounts for hours worked ($10/hour) and paid travel time ($9/hour). How is this worker able to determine if she is being paid the right amount? What if she has an overnight shift? For how many hours should she be paid, and at what wage?</p> <p>Both employers and home care aides need an unbiased source of information and assistance to navigate these rules and regulations. That is why PHI supports the proposal to include a Division of Paid Care, with a public advocate devoted to supporting the home care and day care workforces, in the new city Office of Labor Standards. For New York City’s home care workforce, this office could offer several crucial services:</p> <p><strong>Education:</strong> Assist home care workers and their employers in learning about labor laws and regulations. For example, the advocate could spearhead public education on rules regarding compensation and labor protections. The advocate would also be available via a toll-free number to answer any questions workers had about their rights.</p> <p><strong>Tracking and Reporting:</strong> Create a system for reporting complaints, cataloguing questions, and providing timely answers to frequently asked questions. An effective system would provide workers with a supportive environment in which to learn about their rights and file a complaint, if warranted. The advocate could track complaints and issue an annual report describing type and frequency, and propose appropriate measures to reduce violations.</p> <p><strong>Assistance and Support:</strong> Help workers access state and local services for low-wage workers - for example, connecting workers to child care or health care resources. In addition, the advocate could provide information on available training programs and their costs.</p> <p>To keep up with growing demand, it is estimated that New York City will need to grow its home care workforce 45 percent - more than 72,000 workers - over the next decade. To ensure quality home care services, New York City also needs to increase retention of well-trained, experienced aides. A Division of Paid Care could help to ensure quality jobs, with fair pay and adequate support, making home care a more attractive career for thousands of workers who could easily choose fast-food or other jobs over caring for the city’s most vulnerable elders.</p> <p>***<br />Carol A. Rodat is the New York Policy Director for <a href="http://www.phinational.org/" target="_blank">PHI</a>, a national nonprofit affiliated with a New York health care system that includes Cooperative Home Care Associates, a worker-owned home care agency, and Independent Care System, a managed-care organization. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/phinational/" target="_blank">@PHInational</a>.</p> <p>

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Clarity on the City's Investment in Health + Hospitals 2016-05-13T04:00:00+00:00 2016-05-13T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6333:clarity-on-the-city-s-investment-in-health-hospitals Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Health_and_Hospitals_facebook.jpg" alt="Health and Hospitals facebook" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo via Health + Hospitals on Facebook)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City Health + Hospitals is a model public system, the country’s oldest and largest commitment to safety-net health care. Yet Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent plan to shore up finances at Health + Hospitals has led to consternation from those who would have us believe that H+H is an oversized and outdated system.</p> <p>In <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/opinion/errol-louis-price-rescue-public-hospitals-article-1.2622198" target="_blank">a recent New York Daily News column</a>, Errol Louis made this argument while saying that the burden of undocumented immigrants is a key flaw in Health + Hospitals’ current structure. Misunderstandings and misrepresentations of this structure and Health + Hospitals’ role in today’s health care landscape and within the city budget are, unfortunately, becoming more widespread.</p> <p>Concerns about the financial standing of such a critical community institution are merited. The solution, however, is to promote policies that support quality, cost-effective care at Health + Hospitals, starting with Mayor de Blasio’s budget proposal.</p> <p>The suggestion that H+H is unable to keep up with the health care system’s changing tide away from hospital-based care and toward preventive, community-based services overlooks the fact that Health + Hospitals is already providing comprehensive and culturally competent services across the care spectrum, from primary care in more than 30 community healthcare centers and 25 school-based health centers, to its better-known network of 11 hospitals providing acute and ambulatory care.</p> <p>H+H has a diverse staff that represents the culturally and linguistically diverse communities it serves. In recent years H+H has responded to almost 700,000 patient requests for interpreter services.</p> <p>In his column, Mr. Louis cites a 2014 report that one-quarter of hospital admissions are avoidable. He is right, but this is a problem of health care in general, not of NYC Health + Hospitals specifically. New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program is currently providing health systems across the state $8 billion in incentive payments to better coordinate care and reduce avoidable hospitalizations by 25% by 2020. The largest of the state’s 25 DSRIP systems is spearheaded by none other than Health + Hospitals. Whether DSRIP is successful remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that Health + Hospitals is at the forefront of system change.</p> <p>As a public network, Health + Hospitals provides care to anyone who needs it, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. It is an important provider of care to the city’s 375,000 undocumented immigrants, who face daunting restrictions in access to both public and private insurance. Mr. Louis uses this fact to support his unfounded claim that undocumented immigrants crowd emergency rooms because they have nowhere else to go for their basic health needs.</p> <p>The truth, demonstrated in rigorous public health studies, is that undocumented immigrants use health care services, including emergency rooms, at lower rates than U.S. citizens and other immigrants. Because Health + Hospitals provides comprehensive and coordinated services, undocumented immigrants do indeed use the public (read: primary care) system for “routine health needs,” as Mr. Louis says – exactly as they should.</p> <p>Contributions to the tax base should not be a prerequisite for receiving health care in a modern, humane society, but it is worth noting that undocumented immigrants in New York state, about 70 percent of whom live in New York City, contributed $1.1 billion to the state’s economy in 2012, according to the Institute on Taxation &amp; Economic Policy. They are hardly free-riders.</p> <p>In the true spirit of the safety net, Health + Hospitals provides care for uninsured patients, citizens and immigrants alike, without being reimbursed for it. This is a fundamental problem for the system’s finances. The solution is not to reconsider the mission of Health + Hospitals but to support policies that reduce unreimbursed care by promoting federal and state funding for health systems and increasing access to health coverage for those who remain uninsured. These are real, meaningful steps to ensure that health care providers are adequately reimbursed for services.</p> <p>Mr. Louis casts the financial needs of the city’s public health system as a threat to education, transportation, and housing. Pitting public services against one another in this way is unfair and does not recognize that preservation of health is the foundation upon which New Yorkers take advantage of educational opportunity and lead rewarding, productive lives.</p> <p>A city that abandons its obligation to fill the gaps in the frayed federal and state health care safety net does itself and its residents a disservice. New York City doesn’t need a smaller or less generous public Health + Hospitals system; it needs a system that is recognized for the value it provides to our communities and that is supported accordingly.</p> <p>***<br />Max Hadler is the health advocacy specialist for the New York Immigration Coalition. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/thenyic" target="_blank">@theNYIC</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Health_and_Hospitals_facebook.jpg" alt="Health and Hospitals facebook" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo via Health + Hospitals on Facebook)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City Health + Hospitals is a model public system, the country’s oldest and largest commitment to safety-net health care. Yet Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent plan to shore up finances at Health + Hospitals has led to consternation from those who would have us believe that H+H is an oversized and outdated system.</p> <p>In <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/opinion/errol-louis-price-rescue-public-hospitals-article-1.2622198" target="_blank">a recent New York Daily News column</a>, Errol Louis made this argument while saying that the burden of undocumented immigrants is a key flaw in Health + Hospitals’ current structure. Misunderstandings and misrepresentations of this structure and Health + Hospitals’ role in today’s health care landscape and within the city budget are, unfortunately, becoming more widespread.</p> <p>Concerns about the financial standing of such a critical community institution are merited. The solution, however, is to promote policies that support quality, cost-effective care at Health + Hospitals, starting with Mayor de Blasio’s budget proposal.</p> <p>The suggestion that H+H is unable to keep up with the health care system’s changing tide away from hospital-based care and toward preventive, community-based services overlooks the fact that Health + Hospitals is already providing comprehensive and culturally competent services across the care spectrum, from primary care in more than 30 community healthcare centers and 25 school-based health centers, to its better-known network of 11 hospitals providing acute and ambulatory care.</p> <p>H+H has a diverse staff that represents the culturally and linguistically diverse communities it serves. In recent years H+H has responded to almost 700,000 patient requests for interpreter services.</p> <p>In his column, Mr. Louis cites a 2014 report that one-quarter of hospital admissions are avoidable. He is right, but this is a problem of health care in general, not of NYC Health + Hospitals specifically. New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program is currently providing health systems across the state $8 billion in incentive payments to better coordinate care and reduce avoidable hospitalizations by 25% by 2020. The largest of the state’s 25 DSRIP systems is spearheaded by none other than Health + Hospitals. Whether DSRIP is successful remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that Health + Hospitals is at the forefront of system change.</p> <p>As a public network, Health + Hospitals provides care to anyone who needs it, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. It is an important provider of care to the city’s 375,000 undocumented immigrants, who face daunting restrictions in access to both public and private insurance. Mr. Louis uses this fact to support his unfounded claim that undocumented immigrants crowd emergency rooms because they have nowhere else to go for their basic health needs.</p> <p>The truth, demonstrated in rigorous public health studies, is that undocumented immigrants use health care services, including emergency rooms, at lower rates than U.S. citizens and other immigrants. Because Health + Hospitals provides comprehensive and coordinated services, undocumented immigrants do indeed use the public (read: primary care) system for “routine health needs,” as Mr. Louis says – exactly as they should.</p> <p>Contributions to the tax base should not be a prerequisite for receiving health care in a modern, humane society, but it is worth noting that undocumented immigrants in New York state, about 70 percent of whom live in New York City, contributed $1.1 billion to the state’s economy in 2012, according to the Institute on Taxation &amp; Economic Policy. They are hardly free-riders.</p> <p>In the true spirit of the safety net, Health + Hospitals provides care for uninsured patients, citizens and immigrants alike, without being reimbursed for it. This is a fundamental problem for the system’s finances. The solution is not to reconsider the mission of Health + Hospitals but to support policies that reduce unreimbursed care by promoting federal and state funding for health systems and increasing access to health coverage for those who remain uninsured. These are real, meaningful steps to ensure that health care providers are adequately reimbursed for services.</p> <p>Mr. Louis casts the financial needs of the city’s public health system as a threat to education, transportation, and housing. Pitting public services against one another in this way is unfair and does not recognize that preservation of health is the foundation upon which New Yorkers take advantage of educational opportunity and lead rewarding, productive lives.</p> <p>A city that abandons its obligation to fill the gaps in the frayed federal and state health care safety net does itself and its residents a disservice. New York City doesn’t need a smaller or less generous public Health + Hospitals system; it needs a system that is recognized for the value it provides to our communities and that is supported accordingly.</p> <p>***<br />Max Hadler is the health advocacy specialist for the New York Immigration Coalition. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/thenyic" target="_blank">@theNYIC</a>.</p> <p>

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Stand Against Racism, Protect Asian-American Women's Health 2016-01-22T02:41:40+00:00 2016-01-22T02:41:40+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6108:stand-against-racism-protect-asian-american-womens-health Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/chin_council_hearing.jpg" alt="chin council hearing" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Council Member Chin, one of the authors (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City has the opportunity to support Asian-Americans and women's health by opposing deceptively named, so-called "sex-selective abortion bans."</p> <p>These attacks on a woman's right to choose are wolves in sheep's clothing. At a glance, such bans might sound like laws meant to further women's rights. But they actually do just the opposite.</p> <p>The tragic reality of "son preference" has been a serious issue in some countries, such as India and China, where women do not have the same rights and status that they have here. But male preference is not a widespread issue in the United States – not for any specific ethnic group or for the population as a whole. In fact, a recent <a href="https://ihrclinic.uchicago.edu/sites/ihrclinic.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Replacing%20Myths%20with%20Facts%20-%20Sex-Selective%20Abortion%20Laws%20in%20the%20United%20States.pdf" target="_blank">study</a> conducted by the University of Chicago Law School finds that Asian-Americans are giving birth to more girls than white Americans.</p> <p>Given these facts, the sex-selective bans <a href="http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_SRSGAAB.pdf" target="_blank">being introduced</a> across the U.S. are disingenuous at best. They exploit a real problem around gender that has been well documented in other countries to harm the very communities they purport to help.</p> <p>In an effort to draw attention to these harmful and offensive bans, we have drafted a resolution that was recently introduced in the City Council to put the City of New York on record in opposition to this latest attack on a woman's right to choose.</p> <p>More than just an attack on reproductive health and family planning services, these bans promote ugly stereotypes about our community – namely, that we as Asian-Americans do not value the lives of our girls.</p> <p>Many in the Asian-American community already face heightened barriers to accessing care, and laws like sex-selective abortion bans widen the gap. Sex-selective bans also damage the doctor-patient relationship by opening private medical decisions to scrutiny by both health-care providers and law enforcement.</p> <p>This is not just bad policy; sex-selective abortion bans are dangerous to women's health and could have a chilling effect on women seeking health care. Under no circumstances should patient-doctor parenting discussions be called into question because of one's skin color or ethnicity.</p> <p>Factors like immigration status, income and cultural and linguistic barriers already make it difficult for women in our community to get the health care they need. In New York City, <a href="http://www.aafederation.org/pdf/AAF_nyc2010report.pdf" target="_blank">49 percent</a> of Asian-American adults have limited English proficiency. And <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/epi/databrief43.pdf" target="_blank">20 percent</a> of all Asian-Americans in the city are uninsured.</p> <p>With New York City home to one of the largest Asian-American populations in the country, we must take a stand and demand that our state and federal colleagues work to ensure our communities have greater access to health care — not more restrictions.</p> <p>In their myopic pursuit of an anti-choice agenda, some lawmakers are irresponsibly placing basic health care needs of the Asian American community at risk. And yet, despite the dangerous consequences, they are having some legislative success. In 2013 and 2014, sex-selective bans were the second most proposed type of abortion restriction in the country. Even New York State is not immune —this year, <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&amp;bn=A06545&amp;Summary=Y&amp;Actions=Y&amp;Text=Y&amp;Votes=Y" target="_blank">one such law</a> was introduced in the Assembly. We must stem the tide of these attacks.</p> <p>By working together with advocates to introduce this <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2530982&amp;GUID=7868D0AB-FA6F-44F5-A415-C7838EF3D964" target="_blank">new resolution</a>, we are urging our city to take a stand against these offensive bans. If the City Council passes this important resolution, it could become the third city in the country to denounce this attack on access to health care and family planning for thousands of Asian-Americans.</p> <p>New Yorkers deserve better. Join us in standing up against racism and supporting women's health by urging your City Council representative to support this important resolution.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by New York City Council Member <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/d1/html/members/home.shtml" target="_blank">Margaret Chin</a> and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director <a href="https://napawf.org/about/staff/" target="_blank">Miriam Yeung.</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/chin_council_hearing.jpg" alt="chin council hearing" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Council Member Chin, one of the authors (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City has the opportunity to support Asian-Americans and women's health by opposing deceptively named, so-called "sex-selective abortion bans."</p> <p>These attacks on a woman's right to choose are wolves in sheep's clothing. At a glance, such bans might sound like laws meant to further women's rights. But they actually do just the opposite.</p> <p>The tragic reality of "son preference" has been a serious issue in some countries, such as India and China, where women do not have the same rights and status that they have here. But male preference is not a widespread issue in the United States – not for any specific ethnic group or for the population as a whole. In fact, a recent <a href="https://ihrclinic.uchicago.edu/sites/ihrclinic.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Replacing%20Myths%20with%20Facts%20-%20Sex-Selective%20Abortion%20Laws%20in%20the%20United%20States.pdf" target="_blank">study</a> conducted by the University of Chicago Law School finds that Asian-Americans are giving birth to more girls than white Americans.</p> <p>Given these facts, the sex-selective bans <a href="http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_SRSGAAB.pdf" target="_blank">being introduced</a> across the U.S. are disingenuous at best. They exploit a real problem around gender that has been well documented in other countries to harm the very communities they purport to help.</p> <p>In an effort to draw attention to these harmful and offensive bans, we have drafted a resolution that was recently introduced in the City Council to put the City of New York on record in opposition to this latest attack on a woman's right to choose.</p> <p>More than just an attack on reproductive health and family planning services, these bans promote ugly stereotypes about our community – namely, that we as Asian-Americans do not value the lives of our girls.</p> <p>Many in the Asian-American community already face heightened barriers to accessing care, and laws like sex-selective abortion bans widen the gap. Sex-selective bans also damage the doctor-patient relationship by opening private medical decisions to scrutiny by both health-care providers and law enforcement.</p> <p>This is not just bad policy; sex-selective abortion bans are dangerous to women's health and could have a chilling effect on women seeking health care. Under no circumstances should patient-doctor parenting discussions be called into question because of one's skin color or ethnicity.</p> <p>Factors like immigration status, income and cultural and linguistic barriers already make it difficult for women in our community to get the health care they need. In New York City, <a href="http://www.aafederation.org/pdf/AAF_nyc2010report.pdf" target="_blank">49 percent</a> of Asian-American adults have limited English proficiency. And <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/epi/databrief43.pdf" target="_blank">20 percent</a> of all Asian-Americans in the city are uninsured.</p> <p>With New York City home to one of the largest Asian-American populations in the country, we must take a stand and demand that our state and federal colleagues work to ensure our communities have greater access to health care — not more restrictions.</p> <p>In their myopic pursuit of an anti-choice agenda, some lawmakers are irresponsibly placing basic health care needs of the Asian American community at risk. And yet, despite the dangerous consequences, they are having some legislative success. In 2013 and 2014, sex-selective bans were the second most proposed type of abortion restriction in the country. Even New York State is not immune —this year, <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&amp;bn=A06545&amp;Summary=Y&amp;Actions=Y&amp;Text=Y&amp;Votes=Y" target="_blank">one such law</a> was introduced in the Assembly. We must stem the tide of these attacks.</p> <p>By working together with advocates to introduce this <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2530982&amp;GUID=7868D0AB-FA6F-44F5-A415-C7838EF3D964" target="_blank">new resolution</a>, we are urging our city to take a stand against these offensive bans. If the City Council passes this important resolution, it could become the third city in the country to denounce this attack on access to health care and family planning for thousands of Asian-Americans.</p> <p>New Yorkers deserve better. Join us in standing up against racism and supporting women's health by urging your City Council representative to support this important resolution.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by New York City Council Member <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/d1/html/members/home.shtml" target="_blank">Margaret Chin</a> and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director <a href="https://napawf.org/about/staff/" target="_blank">Miriam Yeung.</a></p>