ICS Recipient of Grant to Build a Primary Care Center of Excellence

Independence Care System (ICS) was recently named the recipient of an Affinity Legacy Community Grant to develop a Center of Excellence in Primary Care for people with physical disabilities in partnership with New York City Health and Hospitals (H+H), the largest community hospital system in the country. 

JUNE 1, 2023

For immediate release

NEW YORK — Independence Care System (ICS) was recently named a recipient of an Affinity Legacy Community Grant to develop a Center of Excellence in Primary Care for people with physical disabilities in partnership with New York City Health and Hospitals (H+H), the largest community hospital system in the country. 

The grant will allow ICS and H+H to move forward with a two-year-long project that will establish a primary care model for people with physical disabilities. Together in partnership with H+H, ICS will work to improve electronic medical records to identify and accommodate the needs of people with disabilities and document best practices, create educational materials to maximize the value of primary care visits and train staff and clinicians on disability-competent care.

The first year of the program will be devoted to establishing the infrastructure needed to provide disability competent care, with the model being implemented the second year. Overall data will be collected to establish the best practices for both clinicians and administrative staff. 

“We’re grateful to receive this funding from Affinity Legacy, which will allow us to fully realize a primary care center for people with physical disabilities — something greatly needed in New York City,” said ICS President and CEO Regina Martinez-Estela. “Our program is greatly aligned with Affinity Legacy’s mission of supporting programs focused on helping individuals in underserved communities make informed decisions when choosing and using healthcare services. This grant will allow us to use our 20-plus years of experience serving low-income, Medicaid eligible New Yorkers with physical disabilities to create an infrastructure that can be replicated to promote lifesaving preventative services from primary care doctors. This includes members with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other disabilities that limit their mobility. This program will help to address the vast health disparities faced by thousands of H+H patients with physical disabilities, including our 2,500 members. We are excited to receive this funding to put into action our focus on the health, mobility and independence — ICS’ three foundational pillars — to ensure for health equity.” 

“H+H has worked closely with ICS for the last 10 years and we look forward to continued collaboration through the support from Affinity Legacy,” said H+H Senior Vice President, Office of Ambulatory Care & Population Health Ted Long. “H+H and ICS serve many of the same population, whose physical disabilities and chronic conditions put them at higher risk for poor health outcomes. Our two organizations share a deep commitment to minimizing those risks by providing access to high-quality, disability-competent providers and care to help people be as healthy as possible. Our work with ICS has grown from one site in 2012 to five locations throughout the H+H system today. We look forward to building on the strength of our relationship and expanding our groundbreaking work into the area of primary care.” 

About Independence Care System (ICS)

ICS is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 as a pioneering, innovative community of professionals dedicated to serving people who, prior to ICS, were often forced to spend their lives in institutions.

People with disabilities have turned to ICS for more than 20 years because of our expert, disability-competent staff who help them to improve their health and avoid hospitalizations, achieve goals, improve their quality of life, and be active members in the community. Our foundational pillars — health, mobility and independence — ensure for true health equity for people with disabilities so they can thrive while receiving the quality care they deserve. 

As the first and only Health Home program in New York State with specialized expertise in supporting people with physical disabilities, we have developed a model of care designed to address the vast health disparities experienced by our members and those in underserved communities. We continue to work alongside of our members, and advocate for their specialized care, because we have seen the effects of a healthcare system that fails to address their needs. ICS offers disability-expert care coordination, educational and recreational programming that enriches members’ lives, and is a premier provider of specialized mobility assessments for wheelchair users through our comprehensive On a Roll wheelchair program.

About Affinity Legacy, Inc.

Affinity Legacy, Inc., formerly known as Affinity Health Plan, Inc., operates as a not-for-profit organization based in the Bronx, New York. Building on a storied, multi-decade history of addressing the health care needs of underserved individuals, families and communities, Affinity Legacy’s mission is now manifested through grants made to community-based organizations serving the residents of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Orange Counties. For more information, visit affinitylegacy.org.


Contact: Chris Engelhardt