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Health Policy

Bronx Health REACH educates community members on how to live healthier lives and prevent chronic diseases. However, people still need to see a doctor when they get sick and, in New York City, the type of healthcare a patient receives is often determined by his or her insurance status.

In New York City, blacks and Latinos are more than twice as likely as whites to be publicly insured and uninsured. Publicly insured or uninsured patients are typically steered to outpatient clinics rather than private practices. This means that blacks and Latinos are more likely than white patients to be seen in the clinic system where patients often experience longer wait times, see different doctors at each visit, receive less coordination of care between primary care and specialist doctors, and are unable to contact doctors at night or over the weekend. These practices particularly hurt those with chronic conditions. This segregated system of care based on insurance status disproportionately hurts people of color and Bronx Health REACH has made this issue a priority in its health policy agenda.

Bronx Health REACH has been researching, documenting, and protesting this two-tiered system of care for the past decade. Our findings have been shared in a number of articles, public meetings, and press conferences. We advocate with legislators, policymakers, and state officials to demand that all patients are seen in the same setting regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. In 2008, the Bronx Health REACH Coalition and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest filed a civil rights complaint with the Office of the Attorney General in New York State. We are also working with New York State legislators to introduce and pass a Health Equity Bill in the Legislature that would prohibit patient steering based on payor type.

In addition to the segregated care campaign, Bronx Health REACH has partnered with a number of community-based organizations, government agencies, and faith-based institutions to change healthcare policies. We have helped pass two statewide bills: one that improves language access and another that provides improved hospital specialty and inpatient access for the uninsured.

To read more about separate and unequal care in New York City, please visit our resource center.

To learn more about Bronx Health REACH’s segregated care campaign and other health policy initiatives, contact us.
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