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Mitchell H. Katz, MD
May 25, 2023


Since the unprecedented asylum seeker crisis began last spring, over 15,000 asylum seekers have found a place to stay and received compassionate care at NYC Health + Hospitals’ Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs). These centers are part of a larger citywide network of shelters and social services that are run by various City government agencies to support this humanitarian effort.

We currently operate nine humanitarian centers providing asylum seekers and their children a one-stop concentration of services, including medical care, nutrition, language access, mental health support, school enrollment, social programs, technology, and reunification resources. These efforts have provided over 12,000 vaccinations to children and enrolled over 11,000 people in health insurance.

In May, NYC Health + Hospitals helped launch the City’s new Arrival Center at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown. The Arrival Center is open 24/7 and provides a centralized location for all arriving asylum seekers to be connected to a range of legal, medical, and reconnection services, as well as placement, if needed, in a shelter or humanitarian center. The streamlining of these services will help asylum seekers more readily navigate their needs so that they can take their next steps towards a better life in our country.  


I am pleased to say that the resident physicians at NYC Health + Hospitals were back at work this morning.  Approximately 170 resident physicians at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst who are employed by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai under our affiliation agreement went on strike as of Monday of this week. Their union, the Committee of Interns and Residents, and Mount Sinai reached a tentative agreement yesterday, which put an end to the strike. Our team at Elmhurst Hospital planned ahead and was fully prepared for this action to ensure the hospital and outpatient services remained open without interruption.  I am grateful to the hospital staff who took on extra shifts, as well as the clinicians from other hospitals in our health System and from Mount Sinai who provided assistance over the three days of the strike. Resident physicians are essential members of our patient care teams and we were glad to welcome them back to work.   


Our health System celebrated our annual Doctors’ Day by recognizing 23 outstanding physicians for their remarkable achievements. From increasing flu and HPV vaccination rates among adolescents, doubling capacity for women’s health services at a NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health site to founding an LGBTQ+ health center at NYC Health + Hospitals/ Bellevue, the doctors we celebrated have made a significant impact on the life and wellness of many New Yorkers. What is impressive about this year’s nominees is their diverse backgrounds and experiences. They come from India, China, Venezuela, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Aruba, Hong Kong, as well as Brooklyn, the Bronx, and New Jersey. They each bring a unique perspective to patient care. Their rich diversity and passion for patient care embodies our mission of providing equal access to excellent medical care for every person in need, regardless of their immigrant status or ability to pay. You can visit our website to see the list of winners and their bios.


It started at 12:20 am on Sunday, May 8th. More than 100 NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health staff members and volunteers worked through the night, carefully transporting more than 170 patients one by one from the old Coney Island Hospital building, into the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital building. Emergency Department patients were moved first, followed by patients in medical-surgical beds, and finally behavioral health patients were relocated from the old to the new.

 The South Brooklyn Health team did an amazing job. They all worked in sync to transport the patients safely and seamlessly. The entire move took about 10 hours and was a huge operational success. And so, as the sun rose on Sunday May 7, it was the dawn of a new era for NYC Health + Hospitals and the new South Brooklyn Health campus. I invite you to visit our website to see images of the amazing new space, from the shiny and welcoming new lobby and private patient rooms with amazing city views, to our amazing staff making it all happen.


As we celebrated our nursing professionals during Nurse Recognition Week, NYC Health + Hospitals launched a couple of new initiatives to support nurses in our health System.

We launched a new fellowship training program specifically for nurses interested in Emergency Medicine. The first cohort begins this month, as we celebrate Nurses Month. The new 22-week program will use content and learning materials designed by the Emergency Nursing Association, and will focus on blended learning: a combination of online modules and in-person training at individual facilities. Nursing fellows will also engage in high-fidelity simulations that mimic real life clinical experiences.  This new training program is a smart investment in our nurses and their professional development. Emergency Department care requires a highly specialized level of expertise and ability to work well under pressure, and we want to help our nurses grow and develop and be prepared to handle the most demanding emergency cases that come through our doors. The fellowship is primarily for new graduate nurses just starting their careers with less than a year of experience. But all nurses have been invited to apply.

Under the direction of Chief Nurse Officer Natalia Cineas, we also launched a standardized orientation program and new curriculum to help nurses build knowledge, exchange ideas and excel at their craft. Designed for new nurses, nursing support staff and transfer nurses, the training features a new, easy to-use on-line learning management system (LMS) called SHINE – Systems Healthcare Innovation for Nursing Education. The LMS offers an interactive and engaging learning experience tailored to the needs of each individual learner and their nursing specialty.  We have received a lot of positive feedback from our nurses and are pleased to offer them this great opportunity for learning and development.


In recognition of Mental Health Awareness month, NYC Health + Hospitals hosted a series of workshops focused on eliminating the stigma associated with mental health conditions and with seeking care and support services.  National studies show that health care providers are not seeking mental health care despite high rates of burnout and stress. Our activities this month focused on how to bring conversations about mental health care out into the open, and normalizing the need for help, both for our patients and ourselves. There are many ways our health System is fighting stigma. We are changing all language from credentialing applications that could be intrusive or stigmatizing for anyone experiencing mental health challenges. We are training Peer Support Champions to enhance Helping Healers Heal programming and ensure any member of our staff feels safe to share their experiences without negative consequence. And we are hosting system-wide events and trainings including discussions with leaders sharing personal stories of overcoming mental health challenges.


A mosaic artist, an augmented reality creator and a photo muralist are among new artists selected for our growing art collection. The NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Program identified 10 new artists who will create healing walls at our facilities as part of their ongoing Community Mural Project which began in 2019. The new murals will add to the 26 that exist today at facilities across the health System. They will become part of our vast art collection of more than 7,000 pieces; the largest public art collection in the city. The Community Mural Project is one of the country’s largest public hospital art programs, enabling artists, hospital staff, patients and community members to collaborate on engaging murals that relieve stress, and enhance the physical environment of our facilities. Our murals were recently featured in a new book, Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project 2019-2021 and our Arts in Medicine program was recently featured on PBS NewsHour. The Community Mural Project and several other Arts in Medicine programs at NYC Health + Hospitals are made possible with a grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.


Federal – The COVID-19 federal Public Health Emergency ended on May 11, 2023.

Congress continues to debate on whether and how to raise the debt ceiling limit, which is slated to be exceeded on June 1. The House of Representatives passed legislation to increase the debt ceiling, which would have implications for federal health programs, including the introduction of work requirements for Medicaid and other benefits. Negotiations between Congress and the White House will begin again this week.

The House is deliberating on a range of bills that impact hospitals and health systems. These include matters such as price transparency, site-neutral payment policies, tax-exempt status, and the 340B program. NYC Health + Hospitals is actively advocating to the NYC Congressional delegation and via our hospital association partners to neutralize the risk of any adverse policy changes.

State – The NYS Legislature passed the final budget for State Fiscal Year 23-24 on May 2, and it was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on May 3. The total spending for the period April 1, 2023, through March 31, 2024, is $229 billion, representing a $2 billion increase from the Governor’s original spending plan proposed in February.

The NYS Legislative session is set to conclude in three weeks and we continue to advocate for workforce provisions that did not get accomplished in the budget negotiations. 

City – NYC Health + Hospitals provided testimony before the City Council regarding the Fiscal Year 24 Executive Budget on May 16.

Two bills that potentially impact NYC Health + Hospitals are currently being actively negotiated with the City Council. These bills are set to age on May 31:

  • Int. 844: Creating an Office of Health Care Accountability, sponsored by Julie Menin.
  • Int. 1006: Providing outreach and education regarding mental health services available through NYC Care and NYC Health + Hospitals, sponsored by Erik Bottcher.

Community Affairs – We will be hosting the Marjorie Mathew’s volunteer celebration at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler on July 20. The External and Regulatory Team will work with the Board Office to ensure that Board members have the information and support they need to attend.

Correctional Health Services – Last week, at the Bronx Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Public Meeting at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, we heard from local community members about Just Home – an affordable and supportive housing development for formerly incarcerated, medically complex individuals on the Jacobi Hospital campus. We appreciated hearing their thoughts and will continue to engage the community and the local elected officials on this important social justice project.


I’m pleased to announce that Hillary Jalon, MS, has been promoted to Vice President of Quality Management for NYC Heath + Hospitals. She will oversee quality assurance, performance improvement, accreditation, patient safety, and quality measures reporting. Jalon will also lead a comprehensive strategy for continuous quality improvement system wide. This includes growing key programs for the health system, including the Quality Academy, Clinical Leadership Fellowship, Healthcare Administration Scholars Program, and creating new programs that foster a culture of excellence and equity in the health system’s services. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise in quality improvement from her previous roles at NYC Health + Hospitals/ Community Care, as director of quality improvement at the United Hospital Fund (UHF), through her work with the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), and earlier in her career at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Jalon is an Associate Professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Health Policy and Management. She earned a BA degree in Sociology from the SUNY Stony Brook and a MS in Health Administration from Russell Sage College.


Since my last update to you regarding our asylum seeker contracting response, we have the following additional contract actions:

An expansion and one year extension of an existing emergency agreement with Huron Consulting Services, LLC for project management services, which includes overseeing the opening and daily operation of the sites, management of third-party vendors, reporting of project activities, and escalation of operational issues, with a resultant increase in the not-to-exceed amount from $18,500,000 to $50,100,000.

A new hotel contract with RHC Operating LLC (The Roosevelt) for a period of 3 years, with a minimum term of 14 months, which can be terminated on 120 days’ notice, with a not to exceed amount over the entire term of $115,195,752.