On October 8, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new “Direct Access” pilot program designed to improve access to health care for unauthorized immigrants in New York City. The initiative, scheduled to launch in the spring of 2016, will provide a group of approximately 1,000 uninsured immigrants with access to a dedicated network of health care providers and care coordination services. The initial launch will enable the City to collect the data necessary to implement a larger citywide model in the future.
The “Direct Access” plan is one of a number of recommendations made by the City’s Immigrant Health Task Force, a group of providers and stakeholders – including CHCANYS – charged by the Mayor in June 2014 with identifying the major health care-related challenges encountered by undocumented New Yorkers and potential ways to overcome them. The Task Force’s final report, Improving Immigrant Access to Health Care in New York City, was released last week.
“New York has made major improvements in access to health care for underserved and uninsured people in recent years,” said Elizabeth Swain, President and CEO of the Community Health Care Association of New York State. “But in spite of this, we struggle with large numbers of folks who are either ineligible for these benefits or unable to get the care they need or both. This pilot program is a critical first step in reducing the barriers encountered by this extremely vulnerable population, and CHCANYS looks forward to working with our partners at HHC and the de Blasio administration to address this priority.”
To read Mayor de Blasio’s press release, click here.