It is estimated that there are more than 70,000 eligible people in our PPS who do not utilize available healthcare services including primary care and health insurance.
Lack of time and concerns about cost, privacy or missing work can keep people from addressing their health issues early or making a wellness visit. Many will not seek medical care until they are very sick and need to visit the Emergency Room (ER) — resulting in even more time away from work and family, and higher medical costs.
BPHC has partnered with seven community-based organizations (CBOs) to inform and connect Bronx residents to primary care, health insurance and supportive health services. More than 9,500 people have been reached to date.
Each organization uses its resources and partnerships to initiate outreach strategies to educate community members about health insurance, including types available, eligibility, and how to apply. They inform people about the healthcare system and the benefits of using a primary care physician (PCP) for their care. Most importantly, they link people to their PCP and help them sign up for health insurance when needed.
Participating CBOs are: ArchCare, Bronx Community Health Network, Health People, BronxWorks, Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center, Regional Aid for Interim Needs (R.A.I.N) and The Bronx Health Link. BPHC issued an RFP to PPS members for this project in 2016.
“Our strategy is very proactive and intentional,” says Aleyna Rodriguez-Sanes, Health Program Coordinator with Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center. “We go deep in our community — tabling in the warm weather, holding indoor workshops when it gets colder. We meet people where they are in their own healthcare, explaining their care options, showing them where the urgent care clinics are in their neighborhoods, and making the connections they need.”
Aleyna and outreach staff from the CBOs were trained through curriculums developed for BPHC by the NYC Human Resource Administration’s Office of Health Insurance Access (Seeking and Using Health Insurance) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities Service (Navigating the Healthcare System).
Recently, the seven organizations collaborated on a health fair to bring their collective information and resources to families. Through healthy eating recipes cooked on site, yoga classes for children and one-on-one consultations on healthcare, community services and insurance, they reached hundreds of residents in an afternoon.
“We’re not just educating people,” says Aleyna, “we’re empowering them and engaging them in their care.”