Jul 15, 2019

NYC Health + Hospitals’ Vice President of Ambulatory Care Dr. Ted Long, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and Independence Care System of New York Senior Vice President Marilyn Saviola, today opened a newly renovated radiology suite at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania. Funded by the New York City Council with support from the Independence Care System, the suite will enable women with disabilities to receive accessible and accurate mammography and preventative OB/GYN care for the first time.

The renovated space includes a modified mammography machine to enhance accessibility for women who use wheelchairs, a moveable examination table, and a patient lift. The facility also widened exam rooms to accommodate wheelchairs.

While women with disabilities get breast cancer at the same rate as other women, they die from breast cancer at a much higher rate because they do not get timely screenings and treatment. The renovated suite will also enable the facility to increase capacity and facilitate additional procedures, such as sonograms and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, which were not possible before. The $853,294 renovation, funded by the NYC City Council with support from the Independence Care System, reflects the public health system’s broader multi-year redesign to build a competitive, sustainable organization that will continue to offer high-quality and accessible health care to the people of New York City.

“We are proud to work in partnership with the New York City Council and the Independence Care System of New York on the goal of achieving universal access, including quality, primary care for women with disabilities,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health CEO, Michelle Lewis. “For decades, Gotham Health, Morrisania has provided high quality, affordable care to the community. The newly renovated radiology center demonstrates our commitment to provide access to care for all, with a clear focus upon people with disabilities.”

“Having a disability should not be an obstacle to health care, but sometimes it is. With this renovation, NYC Health + Hospitals and the Independence Care System offer a model for all health care providers to help ensure care for New Yorkers with disabilities,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried.

“The newly renovated radiology suite at the NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania will significantly enhance health care access for people with disabilities in our community,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. “I want to congratulate the NYC Health + Hospitals system, the New York City Council, and the Independence Care System for working together to create a state-of-the-art facility that seeks to ensure that disabled New Yorkers receive the quality and preventive care they deserve.”

“I am truly delighted today, to celebrate not only this beautiful, newly-renovated accessible imaging center, but also the wonderful relationship with the New York City Council and the NYC Health + Hospitals that has brought us here and that promises to continue the progress we have begun toward making healthcare more accessible,” said ICS Senior Vice President for Advocacy and the Women’s Health Access Program, Marilyn Saviola. “I want to thank Dr. Joseph Williams, Dr. Raphael Stimphil and Dr. David John – each have been true champions for our program and for making NYC Health + Hospitals even more accessible.”

“Thanks to ICS and Health + Hospitals, I finally have access to facilities where ICS has trained the staff to care for people with disabilities, so I was able to get regular exams,” said NYC Health + Hospitals patient and ICS member, Sharifa Abu-Hamda. “For years I could not find an accessible clinic to do my annual gynecological exam so I had to take my brother along to transfer me onto the examination table. You could only imagine how embarrassed and upset I felt. After a while I just gave up, but that has all changed.”

“Health + Hospitals and ICS are natural partners because we are passionate about seeing that the most vulnerable people in our city are able to get quality, cost-effective healthcare,” said ICS Executive Vice President and COO, Regina Martinez-Estela. “When ICS first approached Health + Hospitals they immediately understood that there is a huge gap in services for people with physical disabilities and, unlike so many others Health + Hospitals actually embraced the idea that healthcare can and should and must be made accessible.”

This effort is part of a larger initiative with the Independence Care System (ICS) to expand access to services for people with disabilities throughout NYC Health + Hospitals. ICS has partnered with several facilities, including NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull and NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham to expand access for women with disabilities.

New York City Health + Hospitals embraced the Independence Care System’s goal of providing breast cancer screenings, gynecological services, and primary care accessible to adults with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, spinal bifida, post-polio syndrome, muscular dystrophy and other disabilities that may limit a patient’s mobility.

“The work completed with the Independence Care System at Gotham Health, Morrisania and throughout our system is central to the Health + Hospital’s mission to ensure access to high quality healthcare services for all New Yorkers,” said Dr. Long. “Through this new imaging center and other design changes, Gotham Health continues to be a leader in adopting improved designs that go beyond ADA requirements and truly address the needs of individuals with disabilities. We want to be accessible to all New Yorkers.”

“Providing quality care to all New Yorkers is what our public system is about – and that includes women with disabilities, who have been overlooked historically,” said NYSNA Board Member Judith Cutchin, RN and President of NYSNA’s NYC Health + Hospitals/Mayorals Executive Council. “We are proud to be a part of a public system that outreaches to these women. Thanks to the NYC City Council and the Independence Care System of New York for their efforts in making the newly renovated radiology suite at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania a reality.”

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania, which serves 70,000 patients annually, provides a range of primary care, family practice services, including adult medicine, pediatrics, women’s’ and behavioral health, dentistry, podiatry, eye care, and radiology. Located at 1225 Gerard Avenue in the Bronx, the health center is open Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 am to 5:00 p.m. The newly designed space will enable the facility to provide a ten percent increase in capacity and facilitate additional procedures.