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Health Equality Bill introduced in NYS Legislature

For the past decade, Bronx Health REACH has been advocating for equal access to health care in New York City. Part of this effort, along with our legal partners at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), has been the passage of a Health Equality Bill in the New York State Legislature that would ensure all patients are seen in an integrated setting with the same quality of care. This month, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera and NYS Assemblyman Nelson Castro introduced the Health Equality Bill in both houses of the NYS Legislature, which aims to make segregated specialty care illegal in academic medical centers. (Read the bill text here.)

Through research and outreach activities, Bronx Health REACH has documented a two-tiered system of care in the specialty practices of academic medical centers, also known as teaching hospitals. Bronx Health REACH found that patients with private insurance are seen in faculty practices, while those with public insurance or are uninsured are seen in outpatient clinics. The clinics are typically staffed with rotating doctors and have little night or weekend coverage. For patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, the lack of continuity of care and after hours accessibility in the clinic system can lead to poor health outcomes. In addition, this practice of patient steering by insurance status disproportionately affects people of color, who, in New York City, are more likely to be publicly insured or uninsured.

The Bronx Health REACH coalition thanks Senator Rivera and Assemblyman Castro for their strong support of this crucial issue and we look forward to working with the legislators to make separate and unequal care illegal. To join our campaign for health equality, please contact us.

Bronx Health REACH and NYLPI have created a short documentary on the segregated care issue – watch it here.