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$100M NYC public hospital program aims to wean uninsured off ER visits

NYC Health + Hospitals, a network of 11 public hospitals in New York City, will launch a $100 million per year program that aims to reduce the strain on emergency rooms by providing patients better access to primary care Aug. 1, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The program, essentially an expanded primary care system for uninsured patients, will first launch in the Bronx, with other New York City boroughs to follow. 

The program, called NYC Care, will offer eligible patients a membership card; 24/7 on-call access to physicians; and easily schedulable appointments with primary care physicians. With the membership card, residents can receive care for free or at discounted rates. 

Prices for care will be on a sliding scale.  For a four-person household with an income of less than $26,000, such services as clinic visits,  MRIs or behavioral health visits would be free, while prescription medications would be $2.

Mitchell Katz, MD, NYC Health + Hospitals president and CEO, calls the program "a population health drive," that will "make New York City healthier by focusing on primary care." 

NYC Health + Hospitals expects to serve roughly 300,000 people who are ineligible for insurance, included undocumented people. The program is not insurance, according to the report. 

Access the full report here. 

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