Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New York City Council Provides Funding to Support Program for Immigrant Health

Photo: Michael Fleshman via Flickr

As part of a $1.5 million Immigrant health initiative, the New York City Council has allocated $450,000 to the Institute for Family Health, Bronx Health REACH, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), and Academy of Medical & Public Health Services. The program, UndocuCare enables undocumented immigrants without health insurance in New York City access to health treatment and services through Medicaid. UndocuCare has been operating as a pilot program over the past year and the New York City Council funding will go towards expanding community partnerships for outreach and awareness with the New York City immigrant population.

This outreach and awareness is vital since many undocumented immigrants living in the city are unaware that they may be eligible for Medicaid. Those who maybe eligible for Medicaid must have one of the following: a pending application for an immigration benefit, a life-threatening illness, or be a young person who received permission to stay in the United States through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The New York Daily News wrote about one undocumented immigrant, Alberto Lopez needing a kidney transplant. Mr. Lopez believed that as an undocumented immigrant he would not be able to receive medical treatment. A nun at his church connected Mr. Lopez to NYLPI, (a Bronx Health REACH partner) who enrolled him in UndocuCare. As a result, Mr. Lopez was able to receive treatment. Laura Redman, who runs the health justice program at NYLPI pointed out that, “NYLPI believes that close to 45% of the state’s 250,000 undocumented immigrants may be eligible for Medicaid.”

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