Public Health Solutions (PHS) is quickly pivoting in how we work and stepping up our services to meet the growing health needs of vulnerable families in New York City, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn about our COVID-19 Response Fund.
We know the city’s under resourced communities depend on us for food and nutrition, health insurance, maternal and child health, and sexual and reproductive health – both through PHS’ direct services within their communities as well as through our contracting and management services which ensures that grant funding reaches where it is most needed.
Our utmost concern is safeguarding the health and safety of our clients and our employees. We have moved quickly to implement immediate changes to our services in order to avoid community spread and ensure uninterrupted continuum of care for families and individuals who rely on us. Here are some key updates:
- PHS’ Neighborhood WIC centers, serving more than 30,000 mothers and children, are currently open and operating on modified hours. We are taking all necessary precautions in interactions with clients looking for food and nutrition support, while working with New York State Department of Health and National WIC Association to pursue virtual nutrition assessment and counseling, and electronic issuance of WIC benefits.
- All Health Insurance Enrollment and SNAP Assistance in-person services are suspended until further notice. Both these services are now available virtually. Health insurance navigators and SNAP enrollers are assisting clients via phone and connecting them to services they urgently require during this time.
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Centers remain open under reduced hours of operation, and tele-visits are offered for all non-essential health care needs. The health centers have also implemented protocols to isolate any potential COVID-19 cases while ensuring our patients can receive health screenings, diagnosis and treatment. Our staff are also working in coordination with our partners in Brownsville and Fort Greene, so that the overall health system has as much capacity as possible during the outbreak in our city.
- All of PHS’ Maternal and Child Health home-visiting programs are now conducted remotely. Support services for enrolled participants are being provided via telephone and video-based sessions for essential services such as prenatal and postpartum care. New participants are welcome during this time. Please check individual program pages for contact information.
- PHS’ NYC Smoke-Free program is currently operational. However, social activities or gatherings such as Reality Check activities, meetings, smoke-free housing tenant/board presentations are limited to digital interaction only.
We are also working with the city and state government to quickly and efficiently deploy funding to where it is most needed:
- PHS’ Contracting and Management Services is now supporting New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), in our role as DOHMH’s fiscal agent, in managing $18.6M in crisis response funding from the CDC. This crisis-response funding is intended for health departments to carry out surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity building, infection control and mitigation, communications, and other critical preparedness and response activities.
- The team is also working in partnership with the Department of Homeless Services, and funded by several foundations, PHS is expediting contracting and payment for a Nurse Triage line for homeless clients in the shelter system.
We are especially grateful for the efforts of our dedicated employees who are at the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak and continue to provide excellent quality of care to our clients. We are monitoring the situation closely and will update our website as things change.
In this time of crisis, our work is more crucial than ever.
The COVID-19 outbreak has already started disproportionately affecting vulnerable New Yorkers the most – daily wage workers are finding themselves out of jobs and losing health insurance coverage; pregnant low-income mothers face uncertainty about how to take care of their own and their child’s health; home-bound seniors are more isolated than ever; school-age kids are suddenly home all day and no longer have access to free and reduced school meals for their daily nutrition.
As more and more of these high-need communities turn towards services such as WIC, SNAP and health insurance, PHS’ frontline workers are preparing to cater to an increased demand in order to make sure that no New Yorkers fall through the cracks.
Help us expand our services by sharing our work with others or donating to our COVID-19 Response Fund here.
Stay safe and healthy,