June 9, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City’s health care program for low-income New Yorkers is coming to Queens as the city begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The effort to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers called NYC Care is expected to reach 44,000 Queens residents.
The program provides New York City residents who aren’t eligible or cannot afford health insurance access to low-cost and no-cost primary care.
NYC Care currently operates in the Bronx — where it was first started in August 2019 — as well as Brooklyn and Staten Island since January 2020.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced its $37.5 million expansion into both Queens and Manhattan this morning, four months ahead of schedule.
The city decided to push the program into the remaining boroughs ahead of time to combat the health care disparities illuminated by COVID-19.
Poor New Yorkers have died at a much higher rate from coronavirus than wealthy New Yorkers. In fact, Health Department data shows a direct correlation between poverty levels and COVID fatalities — the poorer an area, the higher the death rate.
The city is in the midst of hiring health care providers to ensure new NYC Care users can book a primary appointment in as early as two weeks.
The city is also upping its mental health support for hard-hit communities who have been burdened by the pandemic.
City officials are working with 270 community and faith-based organizations in these neighborhoods to help provide residents with mental health care and disaster coping mechanisms from July to December.