Enhance New York City’s primary care infrastructure by increasing access.
New York City’s underserved and underinvested communities have the most pressing need for primary care services yet experience dwindling numbers of providers and institutions that often lack resources to expand and improve services. PCDC recently released the first and only report assessing primary care access across City Council districts. The research found significant inequities in access to primary care in many Council districts. There are nearly 20 times more providers in some districts than others – with districts with few primary care providers also characterized by high poverty and unemployment and higher rates of diabetes and potentially preventable emergency room visits. Literature shows the more primary care providers in a community, the better the health outcomes. This holds especially true in New York City, where strategic support of and investment in primary care is essential to achieving health equity.
Protect funding for FQHCs.
New York City’s nonprofit community-based Federally Qualified Health Centers provide quality primary care and other vital health services to 1.2 million patients, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status. PCDC advocates for the continued support of FQHCs across the city so they can continue to serve our most vulnerable residents. Continued and enhanced discretionary funding for FQHCs will ensure their ability to sustain programs and services to serve all New Yorkers in need of high-quality, comprehensive care.
Reduce barriers to integrating primary and behavioral health care.
There is a substantial need to support primary care and behavioral health integration in the City. The ThriveNYC initiative has shined the spotlight on mental health and the need to expand screening and connecting New Yorkers to mental health care. Patients with serious mental illness are often affected by chronic medical conditions. Just as it is important to integrate behavioral health into primary care settings, we must also integrate primary care into behavioral health settings to help prevent and reduce chronic conditions and promote wellness of New Yorkers. As a U.S. Treasury-certified community development financial institution (CDFI), PCDC provides affordable and flexible loans to health centers, mental health centers, and substance use disorder treatment centers to finance the construction, expansion, and renovation of facilities and programs statewide to promote primary care integration. PCDC firmly believes that the seamless integration of primary and behavioral health is the future of health care.
PCDC recommends the development of a comprehensive city-wide plan to create a stronger, more sustainable and connected primary care system. Plan components could seek to address fundamentals such as the assessment of citywide primary care capacity, performance, and needs; how primary care workforce recruitment and transformation can be supported; and capital and financing needs for facility and program expansion and sustainability. PCDC has advocated for the implementation of a primary care plan in front of the City Council and believes it will provide a path to realizing the positive impact a robust primary care infrastructure can have for all New Yorkers.
Released in 2019, PCDC’s NYC Council District Primary Care Access Profiles examine access to and need for primary care services in each New York City Council District. By examining multiple factors that affect access, these profiles provide unique insights for local stakeholders about equity in access to primary care. Identified inside the profiles are key measures of primary care access. The data can be used to inform advocacy efforts to support needed primary care services and facility siting in NYC.