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Mitchell H. Katz, MD
January 26, 2023


As we kick off 2023, we took a look back at all our accomplishments from the past year. Together, we emerged from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger and more united in many ways. We solved new challenges, marked major milestones, invested in patient care and responded with excellence to the needs of the diverse communities we serve. I am incredibly proud of all the work we have done together, and look forward to an exciting, rewarding year ahead.

Here is a list of our biggest accomplishments of 2022: 

  • We launched Housing for Health to connect our homeless patients to housing, and we have already housed over 400 patients. You can hear about the impact the program is making from patient Jesus Cerda and his psychiatrist, Dr. Kelania Jimenez.
  • Our post-acute facilities were recognized in the America’s Best Nursing Homes 2023 list by Newsweek, and Seaview ranked #1 in New York State! The State has over 600 nursing homes, so it is a huge accomplishment that all of our post-acutes made the list.  
  • B-HEARD, the powerful new program where NYC Health + Hospitals social workers and FDNY EMTs respond to 911 mental health calls, expanded to 10 additional police precincts, covering Washington Heights, Inwood, the South Bronx, East New York, and Brownsville.
  • When the mpox outbreak hit New York City, we rose to the challenge – administering over 15,000 mpox vaccinations at our hospitals and mobile sites stationed outside of clubs and sex parties to meet the community where they are and make vaccination easy and convenient.
  • Speaking of mobile outreach, our award-winning SHOW (Street Health Outreach & Wellness) vans expanded this year to include buprenorphine treatment for people with opioid use disorder – a life-saving intervention to broaden the vans’ already sizeable impact. The vans had over 91,000 engagements with patients this year, including over 39,000 COVID tests and nearly 3,000 vaccinations.
  • All 11 of our hospitals now offer plant-based lunches and dinners as the default choice, so our patients can see how delicious plant-based meals can be. We served nearly 341,400 plant-based meals in 2022.
  • We provided care to nearly 5,000 asylum seekers who arrived at the Port Authority, and we helped to set up the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers that offered temporary shelter, a critical support as our new neighbors navigated one of the most stressful situations imaginable.
  • All 11 of our hospitals are now officially Baby-Friendly. This achievement was years in the making – NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem led the way in 2008 and NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County rounded out the list in August.
  • MetroPlus Health membership grew to over 700,000 members – more than the population of Washington, D.C.!


Across the country and in New York City, the waves of respiratory syncytial virus and influenza peaked before the New Year. And the expected winter uptick of coronavirus did not materialize as it did during the holidays in 2021 when we still had many unvaccinated people and last winter when the highly transmissible omicron variant generated a new wave of illness.

We continue to support access to COVID-19 therapeutics through clinic, telehealth and mobile-based access points. And we remain focused on getting more New Yorkers to get their COVID invariant booster vaccine and their flu shot. We also continue our work to provide the very best care and treatment for people with COVID and those suffering with Long COVID.

Through our AfterCare program, more than 440,000 New Yorkers who tested positive for COVID have been contacted since March 2022 and offered information and tools related to Long COVID, as well as referrals to health and social services to support their recovery. Last month we began to offer these clients free transportation to medical appointments. We are also making sure that New Yorkers suffering from long COVID know help in nearby at any of our three Centers of Excellence in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.


Since June, more than 30,000 asylum seekers flooded into the Big Apple — an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that demanded an unprecedented response. NYC Health + Hospitals rose to that challenge in every way possible, and assisting asylum seekers remains a major daily effort. The City opened four Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs) to provide all asylum seekers a comfortable place to stay while they establish themselves in their new country. This week, Mayor Adams announced the opening of a fifth HERRC at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal for single adult men. We expect to open other sites for families with children. Each facility is tailored to the specific needs of the population it serves: single adults, adult families, or families with children. The centers offer a one stop concentration of services, including a comfortable place to stay, fresh meals, round-the-clock medical care, access to vaccinations, mental health support, language interpretation, school enrollment, insurance enrollment, and resettlement services. With thousands of asylum seekers currently in our care, NYC Health + Hospitals is ensuring that our newest neighbors have the services and supports they need to complete their journeys.


As we said goodbye to 2022, we were also busy saying hello to some healthy and happy New Year’s babies. Our Labor and Delivery teams throughout the system love to lay claims to the very first arrival, but this year, for the 4th year in a row, that honor goes to NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health who welcomed Kingsley Mei at the stroke of midnight. Kingsley Mei weighed in at 6 lbs. 7.6 oz. and measured 19 inches, born to parents Dexin and Holly. The Brooklyn couple have two daughters, this is their first boy. Kingsley’s mom was rushed to the hospital after going into labor on the subway. EMS took mom to the closest hospital. What a way to start the New Year!


It does not get better than #1. NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View has been named the best skilled nursing facility in all of New York State – and there are about 600 across the State. But that is not all. The annual Newsweek list ranked NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter #4, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler #5 and NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur #8. And making the list for the first time:  NYC Health + Hospitals/ McKinney came in at #36. This was a great holiday gift and recognition for our hardworking post-acute care staff. Newsweek’s, State and national recognition is really about the dedication and focus our employees bring to the job every day, providing care for our most vulnerable populations. This year’s ranking identifies the top 475 facilities in the country and breaks down the awards by State. The rankings are based on four criteria including a performance data score, a reputation score and a COVID-19 score. Congratulations to all of our Post-Acute Care teams for this remarkable accomplishment.


NYC Health + Hospitals is now offering plant-based dishes as the primary dinner option for inpatients at all of our 11 public hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, Harlem, and South Brooklyn Health most recently joined our other hospitals now serving new, tasty “chef’s choice” meals to hospitalized patients. The meals are inspired by the flavors of Latin America, Asia, and other places that represent the System’s diverse patient population. We serve 3 million meals a year. We expect to serve about 850,000 plant-based meals in 2023 and have plans to expand the plant-based menu options. Access to culturally diverse, nutritious food in our hospitals helps introduce healthy diets and habits that patients can maintain once discharged. With the assistance of our Food Service team and registered dieticians, we are educating patients about the benefits of plant-powered diets and strategies to implement them in their daily lives empowering New Yorkers to make healthier food choices.


The NYC Health + Hospitals NYC Care team has continued to implement a robust communications and outreach strategy to increase NYC Care membership from 112,057 members as of mid-January. Last Thursday, NYC Care presented to 47 community-based organizations as part of the sixth event in the “Healthy City” health care webinar. This has supplemented other virtual presentations to community members, in partnership with the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, the City Department of Health, and New York State of Health. Last week, The Joint Commission published a blog post and podcast interview, where NYC Executive Director Dr. Jiménez explained the program’s commitment to reducing healthcare inequities in New York City. Finally, as Lunar New Year celebrations kicked off over the weekend, our CBO partner Korean Community Services supported tabling events in Queens to connect AAPI New Yorkers to the program, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs joined the Flushing parade on Sunday and shared NYC Care materials. Looking forward to the spring, the team will continue to support numerous in-person and virtual tabling events, develop updated multilingual materials, and kick off a citywide marketing campaign to engage NYC Care members and enroll new members.   


I am pleased to announce that Omar Fattal, MD, MPH is our new System Chief for Behavioral Health and Co-Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Fattal will lead the System’s efforts to expand psychiatric and substance use services, run innovative training programs for behavioral health staff, and implement strategies to recruit and retain staff. Dr. Fattal is also a psychiatrist at the NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Pride Clinic and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Fattal is a member of the editorial board of the LGBT Health Journal, and an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. His peer-reviewed publications include most recently “Rapid Telepsychiatry Implementation During Covid-19,” “Combat Stress Management and Resilience,” and “A Brief Overview of Advances in LGBT Mental Health Advocacy in Lebanon.” NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest provider of behavioral health in New York City. The System provides almost 60% of behavioral health services citywide serving over 75,000 patients.


City – There are a number of City Council hearings and activities coming up in February:

  • 2/6 – Oversight Hearing “Mental Health Involuntary Removals and Mayor Adams’ Recently Announced Plan”
  • 2/8 – City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams is touring NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
  • 2/23 – City Council Bill Hearing “Establishing an Office of Healthcare Accountability”

Our facility teams are working on submissions for their new capital needs to local elected officials. As always, we are grateful for their support. 

State – The 2023 NYS Legislative session is under way. Earlier this month, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her 2023 State of the State Address outlining her plan for Achieving the New York Dream. The Governor outlined key components to make a more affordable, more livable and safer New York, including strengthening mental health care and building a health care System for the future. We expect these proposals to be outlined in Executive budget and look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to ensure that we can continue to provide high quality care and expand access to care for the communities’ we serve. We were fortunate to meet with Acting Commissioner of Health Dr. Jim McDonald recently, and we look forward to an upcoming meeting next week with new Assembly Health Chair AM Amy Paulin. 

Federal – The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, enacted during the last week of December, included a number of items of importance to NYC Health + Hospitals. It waived the 4% Medicare PAYGO cut slated to go into effect this year, extended a number of CMS telehealth flexibilities through December 31, 2024, and awarded $10.5 million to our health System via Congressionally Directed Spending allocations. These awards will support project in six of our hospitals: Harlem, Woodhull, Elmhurst, Jacobi, Lincoln and Kings County.  It will also allow for a number of important programming and infrastructure improvements. We are grateful to our Representatives and Senators for their unfailing support in this process, led by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.

We were pleased to welcome our new Members of Congress Dan Goldman and Jerry Nadler who now represent NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur and Bellevue Hospital.  We look forward to working with them in their new districts.  

The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency was extended through April 11, 2023. HHS will give at least 60 days’ notice prior to their intent to end the PHE.