HEALTH- NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi announced the expansion of the newly renamed Health and Empowerment Center, a multi-service clinic that will expand access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art HIV treatment, education, and prevention services.
Serving adults and adolescents in the Bronx in a confidential, compassionate, stigma-free, and accepting environment, the center builds on the hospital’s history as a leader in HIV care. With expanded staff and a one-stop service model to offer on-site nutrition counseling, mental health services, and more, the center will be able to serve an additional 100 patients annually, offer same-day appointments, and give the city’s public option health plan, MetroPlus, an opportunity to enroll more patients in its specially designed plan for patients with HIV.
In addition to HIV treatment, the center will also offer preventive care, including PrEP and PEP, and screening and treatment for common conditions that affect people living with HIV, including sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis C. NYC Health + Hospitals is investing $1.1 million annually to cover additional staffing, including an additional full-time HIV specialist and two new nurses. The center will feature a range of on-site specialty services, including psychiatry, psychology, pharmaceutical consultation and support, women’s health, and nutrition—with staff skilled in the care of people living with HIV. The center will have two social workers and two new patient navigators to help make connections to services, specialists, and treatment, as well as to help patients navigate the housing, insurance, and psychosocial landscapes. The center is part of NYC Health + Hospitals’ comprehensive, multi-year redesign to build a competitive, sustainable organization that will continue to offer high-quality and accessible health care to the people of New York City.
“Having provided care and support to so many people living with HIV and AIDS throughout my clinical career, I’m especially proud of everyone who helped re-imagine this one-stop service model,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “Projects like this help us better serve the community, grow our health system, and achieve greater fiscal stability.”
“NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi has a storied history of HIV/AIDS care, including the nation’s first AIDS pediatric daycare and the pioneering of rapid testing of HIV/AIDS in our Emergency Room,” said Christopher Mastromano, chief executive officer of the hospital. “Our patients and their sexual wellness have always been a priority, and our new complement of services builds on these efforts.”
“HIV and related diseases, like hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections, and opiate addiction, have ravaged the world and specifically our Bronx community for decades,” said Jason Leider, MD, medical director of the Health and Empowerment Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi. “NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi has been at the forefront of advances in the clinical practice and research efforts on all fronts to battle HIV disease. As such, our staff have been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as experts in the practice of HIV medicine and care. Advances in the treatment of HIV and associated diseases now afford the chance to effectively prevent and combat these ailments. The expansion of our HIV service represents our taking a clear stance on effecting positive health change on our community and ensuring a healthier future for Bronx residents, with a goal of an end to the epidemic and an AIDS-free future.”
Soraya Pares has been receiving care at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi for her HIV diagnosis for almost 30 years. “The transformation in HIV/AIDS care has been a breathtaking process to watch,” she said. “When I first started receiving treatment at Jacobi in the 1990s, I had to take 25 pills twice a day. Now it’s only one pill each day, and my HIV has been undetectable for 11 years. I believe in treatment and I believe in Jacobi. That’s why my pregnant daughter receives care there for my future grandchild now.”
“If there wasn’t a center at Jacobi, I wouldn’t be walking around right now,” said Frank Coll, another patient. “It’s so important for people to come in and get tested. With proper treatment and medication, people can live for many years.”
About the Health and Empowerment Center
The center will better serve its 1,800 current patients and attract new patients. The hospital expects to increase the number of annual patient visits to the Center by 69 percent—from 4,600 to more than 7,700 by the end of 2020—and yield $2.4 million in new annual revenue, when fully implemented.
Current and future patients who are eligible will have the opportunity to enroll in the MetroPlus Partnership in Care Program, a Special Needs Plan specially designed for patients with HIV. The program offers enhanced access to a range of services and perquisites, including peer care counseling and support, member engagement and enrichment workshops, auto-reminders to assist in scheduling follow-up care and arranging medication refills, and wellness incentive rewards for members making healthy choices.
The center will also offer:
· expanded walk-in HIV screening and testing
· access to PrEP and PEP, HIV preventive medications
· sexually transmitted disease and hepatitis C screening
· substance use disorder treatment
· behavioral health and social work counseling
· nutritional counseling
· dental services
· health insurance enrollment opportunities with MetroPlus Special Needs Plan
Established in 1991, the HIV/AIDS service at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi is a longtime Designated AIDS Center—a State-certified, hospital-based program providing a continuum of state-of-the art, multidisciplinary hospital and community-based care, and case management for persons with HIV and AIDS, including for infants, children, and pregnant women. The center’s renaming reflects the commitment to provide the broad range of services patients may need for their health and the information needed to empower them.
To make an appointment at the NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Health and Empowerment Center, call 718-918-4333.