Since the first reported case of COVID-19 in New York, nearly 40,000 New Yorkers have died after contracting the virus. Rather than continuing to do business as usual, we must transform our approach to public health to prioritize culturally-competent and population-specific care. New Yorkers are unique; a one-size-fits all approach to health care will no longer suffice. Over the past year, it has become exceedingly clear that in the face of a global pandemic, underlying health inequities are life-threatening for certain populations.
For decades, Article 6 programs have been providing a range of life-saving, hyper-local, community-centered programs to specific populations, promoting public health, and addressing concurrent health epidemics, including HIV and the opioid crisis. While on the front lines, we witnessed the immense impact of Article 6 funded programs on individuals that would otherwise go without essential care. It is unfathomable that this funding be jeopardized, especially during a global pandemic.
It is in this spirit that we advocate for the adopted budget to invest in a just recovery for New York and the continued health of New Yorkers by increasing Article 6 reimbursement rates in five boroughs of New York City to 36%, the same rate as other New York State counties. At the very minimum, reimbursement must continue at 20%; anything less would disproportionately affect communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and are already struggling to regain some semblance of their overall wellbeing.
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