NYLPI Receives Funding from NYC Council to Support UndocuCare Program

October 1, 2015

Archive, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, Press Release

Media contact: Stephanie Ramirez, [email protected], W: (212) 784-5704, C: (917) 725-1468 

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Partners Receive $450,000 in Funding from New York City Council to Support UndocuCare Program for Immigrant Health
Allocation Part of $1.5M Immigrant Health Initiative

New York, NY, September 30, 2015 – New York City Council announced today the allocation of $450,000 in funding over the City fiscal year 2016 to New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) and four community partners. The funding will support UndocuCare, NYLPI’s program providing free immigration representation and social service support to help uninsured and undocumented immigrant New Yorkers gain access to full health insurance that provides otherwise unattainable lifesaving treatments. The City Council allocated the money to NYLPI and partners as part of its $1.5 million Immigrant Health Initiative to decrease health disparities among foreign-born New Yorkers.  NYLPI’s community partners in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens include Academy of Medical and Public Health Services, Bronx Health Reach, Grameen Primacare, Inc., and Urban Health Plan, Inc. – Plaza del Sol.


In New York State, individuals with pending applications for an immigration benefit are immediately eligible for full State-funded Medicaid because they are considered “permanently residing under the color of law” (PRUCOL). However, the majority of these individuals who are eligible for State-funded Medicaid, which is likely close to 45% of the 250,000 undocumented, uninsured residents in New York, are unaware of their Medicaid eligibility because most have never had access to an attorney or been informed about their Medicaid eligibility. Instead, these individuals are left to rely on Emergency Medicaid and the patchwork of New York’s safety-net healthcare systems, which do not provide fully effective healthcare. Through UndocuCare, which includes individual immigration legal services, extensive outreach and education, healthcare and legal services provider training, and wraparound services, NYLPI has helped undocumented New York State residents enroll in full Medicaid and improve their health outcomes. The additional funding will allow NYLPI to expand its services through collaboration with partner organizations, increase outreach and awareness and provide comprehensive immigration screenings, representations, and social service support to a greater number of individuals throughout New York City.


“Immigrants are vital contributors to New York City’s economy, culture and overall success. This Council is very proud to fund $1.5 million to launch the Immigrant Health Initiative and give them the care they deserve and is their human right,” said Council member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “We are also proud that $450,000 from the initiative will help NYLPI and its community partners expand its UndocuCare project to ensure lifesaving health coverage for immigrant New Yorkers with serious health conditions.”


“There is a huge unmet need for this type of representation in New York, which can be life changing and even lifesaving for our clients,” said McGregor Smyth, Executive Director of NYLPI. “For example, patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) on maintenance dialysis have a 36% survival rate five years after diagnosis, compared to an 85% survival rate for those who have had a kidney transplant, which only full Medicaid covers. Gaining access to full, quality healthcare is truly a matter of life and death for many immigrants. NYLPI is thankful for the support from the New York City Council, especially from Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who championed our cause, which will allow us to continue this important work.”


“As a community based coalition working to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, Bronx Health REACH, led by the Institute for Family Health knows that access to quality health care significantly impacts both length of life and quality of life of individuals,” said Charmaine Ruddock, Project Director of the Bronx Health REACH/NY CEED, The Institute for Family Health. “This City Council funding to New York Lawyers for the Public Interest will be invaluable for undocumented and uninsured New Yorkers to gain access to full Medicaid.”


“Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is incredibly excited and honored to partner with NYPLI on such a unique initiative,” said Mon Yuck Yu, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff of AMPHS. “AMPHS works to provide healthcare access to the undeserved in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a largely immigrant community, where many are undocumented or new to the country. Day in and day out, we care firsthand for individuals in our community who haven’t seen a healthcare provider in decades; who have to make the decision between affording their next meal or going to the doctor. We look forward to changing this paradigm by making healthcare an equal right for all New Yorkers through this initiative.”


In addition to benefiting uninsured and undocumented New York residents, helping eligible immigrants gain access to full Medicaid also has huge cost-savings potential for the State, as New York pays for maintenance dialysis for all New Yorkers with ESRD regardless of immigration or insurance status. Providing kidney transplants for patients with ESRD through full Medicaid rather than paying for maintenance dialysis would save an estimated $89.2 million over ten years.


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About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) advances equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Through community lawyering, NYLPI puts its legal, policy and community organizing expertise at the service of New York City communities and individuals. NYLPI’s partnership with the private bar strengthens its advocacy and connects community groups and non-profits with critical legal assistance.

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