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Mitchell H. Katz, MD
June 30, 2022


Vaccines Now Available for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers – Our health system began to offer COVID-19 to our youngest patients – ages 6 months – 4 years, following the CDC approval last week. We are offering the Pfizer vaccine in all pediatric practices of our 11 public hospitals. We hosted a press and photo session to mark the moment we vaccinated one of our first babies at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. After a brief moment of tears, it was all smiles and wide eyes for one of our first infant recipients to date — the 9-month- daughter of NYC Health + Hospitals physician Hannah Jackson, who said she was eager to be able to protect her child. She advised all parents to vaccinate their children as soon as possible and talked about what this meant to her family. She said they were worried about her baby getting COVID, especially long COVID, and felt so relieved to finally be able to protect her child. NYC Health + Hospitals has already administered more than 1.75 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and we are proud to now offer this vital protection against serious illness and death to our youngest New Yorkers. These vaccines will make sure kids can safely enjoy daycare, preschool, summer camp, and visits with other family members.

2 Million COVID-19 Tests in Public Schools – Last month our Test & Trace team joined Mayor Adams and our partners from the NYC Department of Education and NYC Department of Health to announce that the city’s in-school surveillance testing program administered over two million PCR COVID-19 tests to students and school staff this school year. Our COVID-19 surveillance testing program has proved that schools are the healthiest and safest place for our students to be, and has enabled us to keep our schools open during every stage of the pandemic. We are proud that in New York City we have created a national model for how to offer safe, in person education – which has been and will be crucial to helping our students recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long COVID Symposium – On June 8, New York City’s healthcare leadership from across City Hall, NYC Health + Hospitals and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene held the City’s first Long COVID symposium. The event focused on care coordination for New Yorkers with Long COVID as they navigate the city’s medical and social support systems. More than 400 city-based clinicians and health and social service providers who offer support for New Yorkers with Long COVID attended the symposium.


SCOTUS Rulings on Abortion and Guns – The two most significant policy issues we are confronting as a health system are legal changes to the right to choose and to gun safety. The Supreme Court made seismic changes to protections in each area in rulings last week.

The Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v . Wade has left the issue of regulating abortion to the States. We are fortunate to provide health care in a State that continues to protect a person’s right to choose. NYC Health + Hospitals will continue to provide safe, legal, accessible abortion services to all who make this deeply personal choice. We are more determined than ever to fulfill our mission of caring for all, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. We are thankful to Governor Hochul and the NYS legislature for their recent actions to protect the medical professionals who provide abortion care, and to Mayor Adams and his administration for their commitment to our work and the rights of all New Yorkers.

The mayor visited NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln to learn more about how our health system provides reproductive health services, including abortion. He talked to our front line staff and to our Hospital Police who are also providing an essential service to keep our patients and staff safe.

Our colleagues in the City Council held a hearing on maternal health this month, and we thank them for their unwavering commitment to comprehensive and respectful care for all pregnant people. We thank Dr. Machelle Allen, our health system SVP and CMO, for her participation in that hearing.

The Supreme Court also struck down New York’s century-old concealed carry law, ruling that Americans have a broad right to arm themselves in public. Our health system already sees the tragic impact of gun violence. In response, the Governor convened an extraordinary session of the legislature for today. This session is intended to address statutory changes regarding firearm safety to ensure protection of public safety and health. Again, we are grateful to live in a State and a City that is so committed to our security and safety.

Elections – Primary elections were held this week for NYS Assembly, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, judges and party positions. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado won in the Democratic primary. Rep. Lee Zeldin and Lt Governor candidate Alison Esposito will face them in the November election. We still have other primary elections — for the Congressional and State Senate seats—that will be held on Tuesday, August 23rd.

New Funding – The City Council voted to adopt the FY2023 budget on June 13, 2022, which included the following new funding to NYC Health + Hospitals:

  • $3.6 m – Mental Health Continuum work to be completed by our Behavioral Health team in NYC public schools
  • $635K – to support victims of the sex trade industry and our EMPOWER clinics at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and Gotham Heath/Gouverneur
  • $508K – to support Immigrant Health Initiative and our work to provide physical and mental health services for vulnerable immigrants
  • $246K – to help end HIV/AIDS and support our patients who are receiving PrEP and PEP medications
  • $200K – to support Crisis Management System and our gun violence prevention programs
  • We also received $57.9M of capital funding, which is primarily awarded by City Council members and Borough Presidents, and is in addition to the $37.3M capital funding awarded by the Borough Presidents in the FY23 Executive Budget published in April. We are very appreciative of all the generous support from the City’s elected officials. Highlights of the Adopted Budget awards include: $10M for the upgrade of the hyperbaric area at Jacobi Hospital, $6.6M for the women’s health services integration at Coney Island Hospital (in addition to the $11.9M awarded by the Borough President in the Executive Budget), and $5M for the expansion of women’s health pavilion at Elmhurst Hospital.

I had the opportunity to join Council member Marjorie Velázquez and New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams earlier this week to accept their $10M contribution to expand the Hyperbaric Medicine Services at Jacobi Hospital. Those funds will be used to replace the special chamber that provides hyperbaric oxygen therapy to rapidly reverse life-threatening carbon monoxide poisoning to victims of fires and other accidents, and also used to help heal chronic wounds. Jacobi Hospital is the only facility within the NYC Health + Hospitals system to offer Hyperbaric Medicine and the only facility in the five boroughs providing a multi-patient, walk-in chamber.

We are very grateful to all the members of the NYC Council for their generosity – all funding allocations, no matter the size, can make a real impact on the health of so many New Yorkers who rely on our services.


NYC Health + Hospitals is partnering with District Council No. 9 Local Union 1969 to offer a new, four-year apprenticeship program to train individuals for careers as unionized painters. DC 9 will provide classroom training, and NYC Health + Hospitals will provide supervised on-the-job training. The program will develop a pipeline of candidates with the skills and experience to pass a civil service exam and qualify for unionized painter positions. Our health system depend on union painters to help maintain our facilities across the City. The apprenticeship will help develop a pipeline of trade healthcare heroes, and I hope this initiative brings to light the value our trade professionals have on our built environment. Painters are one of the critical and vital trade vocational career paths for young people to consider as they graduate high school and think about their futures. This program is very much in line with Mayor Adam’s Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, and will connect New Yorkers to quality jobs and in-demand skills. Union painters earn on average a salary of $82,000 a year.


Twenty-six young doctors will get a break on their medical school debt through a partnership between NYC Health + Hospitals and the Doctors Across New York state loan forgiveness program. The public health system paved the way for the young physicians to receive a total of $3 million in loan forgiveness grants in exchange for their commitment to serve in our system for three years. The NYC Health + Hospitals doctors will each receive up to $40,000 per year for up to three years to help cover their loans for medical school. The physicians were selected as part of the Doctors Across New York program, a state funded initiative that began in 2008 to help train and place physicians in underserved and diverse communities. Medical school debt drives too many early-career physicians away from the public hospital system and the community we serve. Loan forgiveness programs like Doctors Across New York change the equation and help attract talented young clinicians to a career in public service with NYC Health + Hospitals.


It has been more than 50 years since the famous Stonewall Inn uprising, a critical moment in the powerful LGBTQ+ rights movement in America. The riots, named after a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, started when a violent police raid was stopped by an outraged army of patrons. The protests lasted 5 days. This was June 28, 1969 and the reason we celebrate PRIDE in the month of June. Even with all the progress we have made in LGBTQ+ rights since Stonewall many members of our community still face stigma and trouble accessing medical care. It is more important than ever that we remain at the forefront of building an inclusive workplace and providing identity and gender affirming care for New Yorkers. NYC Health + Hospitals is a pioneer in specialized, culturally competent care for the LGBTQ+ community, opening 7 PRIDE centers in our health care system since 2014. Just last month The Human Rights Campaign Foundation singled out 18 NYC Health + Hospitals patient care locations across all five boroughs as LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leaders. But discrimination is still alive and well in our world. We see it in recent race based shootings, sobering suicide rates among gay and transgender youth, and an alarming number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced around the country. We must ask ourselves as we kick off this PRIDE month, especially in the wake of a pandemic that marginalized the already marginalized, how can we push this movement further? As we celebrate PRIDE, we honor the energy and legacy of Stonewall and commit to serving as a beacon for health systems around the world, shining a light on the equity, inclusion and diversity that is the beating heart of NYC Health + Hospitals.


Juneteenth, our national holiday acknowledging the end of slavery, was long overdue. It is a day to honor the profound sacrifice of generations of enslaved people and ask ourselves, how can we change the story for their descendants? We start by striving to eliminate the health disparities that persist today among Black men, women and children stemming from the painful legacy of slavery and the enduring problems of racism. Structural racism has led to the erosion of basic human rights such as education, housing, employment and access to good medical care. As a result, Black communities continue to suffer from higher rates of illness and death from diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma and heart disease. These are largely preventable and mostly treatable diseases with the right access to preventive care.

That’s where the NYC Health + Hospitals family comes in. We can make a difference. We can be that chapter in the history book where real and lasting change takes place, by making sure that every person, of every race, in every one of our communities who walks in our doors and needs attention, is welcomed, heard, respected and cared for. Our hospitals are recognized as the most racially inclusive hospitals in New York. We are proud to be leaders in eliminating racist clinical practices and stereotypes that have no basis in human biology. And we are developing programs that reduce maternal mortality improving the outcomes of Black birthing people. We are committed to the daily work of reversing inequities in health care. That’s why I’m here and I know that’s why so many of our colleagues at NYC Health + Hospitals are here too.


MetroPlusHealth was approved to participate in a state pilot program beginning July 1st to offer medically tailored meals as part of the health plan’s Medicaid benefit package to individuals 18 years and older. To qualify, members must have limited ability to perform their activities of daily living and need help with meal preparation. In addition, members who are high utilizers and have a severe illness such as cancer, diabetes, or heart failure may qualify as well. MetroPlusHealth will proactively identify and outreach members to determine interest in the free benefit. Once a member confirms interest, the health plan will partner with God’s Love We Deliver to provide three meals daily for 6 months, and will be able to extend the service based on the member’s need.