Healthcare Policy and Management

Pre-health students get a headstart

The first session of AMPHS’ Clinical Practice Training Program (CPTP) is now underway! The 6-week course aims to provide participants with a strong overview of the material, concepts, principles, behaviors, and critical thinking needed to succeed in clinical practice.

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Through lectures, class discussions, community-based fieldwork, and hands-on clinical practice sessions, students will be able to develop a deeper appreciation for the rigor and intensity of studying the medical sciences.

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In addition to equipping students with skills to prepare for future clinical work, the coursework is developed to inherently integrate public health and clinical research principles into the clinical sciences for students to better understand both theory and practice in healthcare.

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There is still space available for our fall session, and the deadline for applications is July 25th. For information on how to sign up, or to read more about the program, please visit our CPTP site.

 

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AMPHS is 4 years old!

fourth bdayFour years ago, on March 25, a few volunteers started teaching emergency preparedness classes to students from Brooklyn – and so AMPHS was born. A year later, we started free, monthly health screenings for basic tests such as blood pressure and vision problems. And now AMPHS has 40 volunteers – from doctors and nurses to translators and data scientists – and offers not only comprehensive health screenings, counseling and social assistance, but also health coaching, education workshops, and public health research.

Through these efforts, AMPHS has improved the lives of almost 2,000 people from our local communities. We thank all of our generous donors and volunteers for helping us get to this point, and we promise – with your support – to continue leading the fight to provide health services to vulnerable communities in New York City.

Vision screening

AMPHS Health Events – March Nutrition Month

Vision screening

AMPHS clinician performing macular degeneration screening for a community member.

.Nutrition Month AMPHS Health Screening

When: Saturday, March 15, 2014 from 1pm – 5pm

Where: AMPHS Headquarters, 5306 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11220

Walk-ins welcome; appointments preferred for priority service. Appointments can be scheduled by calling: (212) 256-9036

AMPHS will be offering free health screenings for BMI, blood pressure, vision, memory screenings along with healthy lifestyle counseling and information about health insurance, prescription assistance, and vision assistance. HIV and Hep C screenings will be provided by the Latino AIDS Society. Since March is Nutrition month, we will also be distributing resources related to a healthy lifestyle.

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Schedule a Health Event with AMPHS at Your Center!

screening 3Community organizations are invited to schedule health events with us this spring. Here at AMPHS, we make our biggest impact by providing individuals the opportunity to interact with our clinicians and social workers as a group and one-on-one. While we hold monthly in-house screening events, much of our work takes place outside of our facilities with our community partners.

Organizations can choose among the following services that AMPHS routinely offers:

Health screenings, including BMI, blood pressure, vision, memory, HIV and hepatitis C screenings.

Health workshops related to disease, health and wellness, conducted in three languages (English, Spanish, Chinese).

Lifestyle plan and social service counseling, where clinical volunteers and social work staff will sit down with community members to evaluate and their lifestyle behaviors and social situations and provide the best lifestyle plan and health insurance, prescription, and vision assistance options.

screeningHealth-related services are desperately needed in communities like Sunset Park, where many people have not seen a healthcare professional in years. In addition, many are unwilling to see a doctor because they haven’t seen one in years, and are afraid of costs that might incur or potential deportation if they are undocumented. Issues like mental health are highly stigmatized and people are not motivated to attend counseling sessions or workshops. To help deal with some of these issues, AMPHS offers its services in a safe, comfortable environment. AMPHS is blind to identification and insurance status and offers its services to the community at large, regardless of whether or not community members can afford them.

Mon Yuck Yu, AMPHS’ Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, has volunteered at several such events at hewett w CMUnited Sunset Senior Citizens Center in Brooklyn. Yu believes that “it is incredible the amount of impact we are able to make. Although many of the seniors have health insurance (like Medicare due to their age), there are many who fall through the gaps, and are unable to afford certain procedures or whose primary care physicians don’t communicate with them in the right ways. Our counseling has really helped them discover the path to better health. Some people would come up to us after the workshops to ask questions that don’t even get answered by a regular physician. For example, one person from a previous screening had extremely low blood pressure and after speaking with one of our clinical volunteers, was told that he needed to simply drink more water to alleviate his condition, which his doctor did not inform him about because he did not look close enough at his diet and lifestyle behaviors…Clinical Staff Member Takes BPin fact, many people have trouble believing that we are offering all of these services for free.”

Kathleen Tam, who has served as the Chinese translator for a number of health screenings recalls: “Older community members are eager to participate in the health education sessions. They usually gather and listen to us. I think they learn something new about how to stay healthy every time we go in. They also take our handouts home and share with their family and friends.”

Community members who attend screening and healthcare-related workshops will return to AMPHS for longer follow-up care and to seek additional social services. While AMPHS does not substitute a regular provider, it attempts to be the intermediary providing community members with the knowledge of their health risk factors, prevention methods, and resources for health access.

AMPHS Collaborates with the NY Lawyers for Public Interest to Protect Patient Rights

NYLPIAMPHS is proud to announce a new partnership with the New York Lawyers for Public Interest (NYLPI).

Based in New York City, the mission of NYLPI is to facilitate equality and civil rights by furthering justice in the realms of health, disability and the environment. Institutional barriers such as a lack of proper healthcare providers in underserved neighborhoods and segregation of patients based on income are only some issues that people of color face. By partnering with hospitals and healthcare organizations, NYLPI fights against closure of clinics, challenges the practice of unequal healthcare and organizes community outreach events, so that immigrant families can gain healthcare information in the language they speak. NYLPI is one of the few organizations in New York that aims to bring racial justice to health care advocacy.

AMPHS, in collaboration with NYLPI, will work to help connect underserved immigrant community members with the proper resources so they can receive the healthcare they deserve. In line with its mission, NYLPI will provide legal help and counseling for uninsured and undocumented immigrants, and act as advocates for individuals that have been denied access to care. This includes helping AMPHS clients file legal paperwork and contacting hospitals to ensure that community members get the medical help they need. Staff attorneys will also connect community members to their extensive referral network for additional legal or social assistance as appropriate. Moreover, NYPLI plans to work directly with AMPHS to provide free “Know Your Rights” workshops to the Sunset Park community as well as equip AMPHS volunteers with the resources for counseling and advising community members seeking help.

For more information about NYLPI, visit www.nylpi.org 

AMPHS Works with Amida Care for December 2013 HIV/AIDS Awareness Month Screening

In recognition of December 2013 HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, AMPHS partnered with AmidaCare to provide health care access information to individuals who have been tested as HIV-positive.

amidacareAs a Medicaid health plan, Amida Care provides services to individuals with HIV/AIDS living in Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan, with sites in Downstate SUNY and Brownville, NY.  By working with a special team of people such as social workers, health navigators, behavioral health specialists and a designated medical home, Amida Care is committed to serving people with chronic health conditions.

Individuals who participate in the plan do not have any out-of-pocket costs for treatment and care, and are given a $40 stipend per month for pursuing continuous follow-up care with their physicians. They will first be invited to a new members orientation and moving forward, are also invited to participate in regular town hall meetings and live-your-life events.

Unfortunately, undocumented individuals are not covered through this program, but can refer to CAMBA for additional resources and treatment information.

Learn more about Amida Care and its programs by visiting http://www.amidacareny.org

AMPHS Partners with Project Renewal to Offer Free Mammograms at December Screening Event

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We are excited to announce that Project Renewal will be partnering with AMPHS to provide free mammograms to community members on Saturday December 14th,2013

Project Renewal is a non-profit organization based in lower Manhattan; its aim is to end the cycle of homelessness by empowering homeless men and women with mental illness and/or addiction the means to rebuild their lives. Project Renewal provides comprehensive services to families and individuals to empower them to take control of their health and well-being. A massively successful endeavor of Project Renewal is the ScanVan Program. This program is a mobile clinic that provides mammograms, chest X-rays, and cervical exams to New Yorkers, regardless of their medical insurance status. The ScanVan Program is a free service offered to women and men of all economic and cultural backgrounds.

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Project Renewal’s Scan Van

On Saturday, the ScanVan will be parked outside the AMPHS office in Brooklyn Sunset Park, offering its services simultaneously with AMPHS’ monthly in-house screening. Project Renewal will provide mammograms for women 40 and older who haven’t had a mammogram in the past year. Women under the age 40 but with a history of breast cancer in their family are also advised to get themselves checked. This service is offered for free to all participants; those with health insurance will have the service covered by their insurance companies with no out-of-pocket costs and individuals without health insurance will obtain the service at no cost.

What is breast cancer and who should be screened?

Breast cancer is the second leading cancer-related cause of death after lung cancer in women. Compared to 1989, the incidence of breast cancer has decreased dramatically because of earlier detection through better screening procedures. Hence, screening services for breast cancer are very important. Almost 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump in their breasts. While women above age 40 are generally at higher risk for breast cancer and should perform an annual mammogram, professionals recommend that all women conduct a breast self-exam (BSE) beginning in their twenties.

What types of tests are available?

Breast Self-Exams

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Breast self-exam procedure

40% of breast cancer cases are detected by women who feel a lump while conducting a BSE. Breast self-exams should be done every month in the shower, in front of a mirror, or lying down. They can help you become familiar with the regular look and feel of your breasts so that you can notify your doctor if you notice any irregularities. Here are a few pointers for your breast self-help exams:

  • Know your breasts! A self-breast exam is about knowing what is normal for you.
  •  Check at the same time every month: a week after your period for premenopausal women and the same date of the month for postmenopausal women.
  • Use your eyes and hands to look and feel for changes in lumps, thickness, density, or anything that concerns you.

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about any lumps. Most lumps will not be cancer, but seeing your doctor is the only way to know for sure.

Talk to your doctor if you find:

  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels
  • A change in the breast or nipple appearance
  • Any nipple discharge—particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge

Mammograms

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A mammogram being performed
Photo credit : wikimedia commons

A mammogram is an X-ray that allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas. The breast is exposed to a small dose of radiation that produces an image of the breast tissue. It is important to get a mammogram because it can often show a breast lump before it can be felt. The lumps can be caused by a variety of conditions (e.g. cancer, fatty cells or cysts), but doing the necessary test (mammogram) is the only way to know for sure.

mammogram consists of placing the breasts, one at a time, between two plates. The breast is compressed between the plates, and then exposed to X-rays. In this way, two pictures are taken of each breast –one from above, and one from the side.

Get screened today!

flyerCome get a free mammogram and other screening services during our monthly health screening event. Make an appointment by calling the number below.

When:  Saturday, December 14th. 11am to 4pm

Where: 5306 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11220

To make appointment call:  1-800- 564- 6868

Procedures are 30-min long, non-invasive and completely confidential.

To learn more about Project Renewal, visit http://www.projectrenewal.org/

To learn more about breast self-exams, visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

AMPHS to Host “Health Reform and You” Tabling Event at Brooklyn Public Library – Sunset Park

October 1, 2012

With the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act passing Supreme Court scrutiny late June, many states are scrambling to implement health reform. While health reform has certainly made access to healthcare much more affordable and feasible for many uninsured Americans, there are still groups left out, not knowing what options exist.

Academy of Medical and Public Health Services (AMPHS), in partnership with the Sunset Park branch of the Brooklyn Public Library will be hosting a tabling event in Brooklyn, New York called “Health Reform & You” to review the basics of health reform for community members, and the alternatives that exist for those who are not covered by the Affordable Care Act, i.e. undocumented immigrants. This event is scheduled to be held on Saturday, October 13 from 10:30AM – 1:00PM and Friday, October 19 from 3:00 – 5:00PM and will be presented in English, Spanish, and Chinese on both days. AMPHS will be distributing literature on the Affordable Care Act and healthcare insurance options, and informing community members about the other services they offer. AMPHS plans to host a workshop on the Affordable Care Act sometime in the near future.

This tabling event is part of the myAMPHS Open Access program, which aims to break down any and all barriers that exist to providing accessible and affordable health care to all, such that anyone and everyone can appreciate healthcare not as a privilege, but as a basic human right.

If you are wondering what you can do, how you can seek medical care, and what options there are, this workshop is perfect for you.  By the end of the session, you will have a clear understanding of the various alternatives available to seek healthcare, and where you can go for assistance and guidance.  AMPHS will have a table with brochures and other information available at the event.

About myAMPHS Open Access: 

To address the lack of access to care for undocumented immigrants, AMPHS has created it’s myAMPHS Open Access Program under its myAMPHS Community Membership Program.  Launching late 2012, Open Access aims to address the barriers of undocumented immigrants to access healthcare by bringing together resources currently in place into one streamlined, comprehensive program.

Through the program, Open Access members will receive access to all preventative care services offered within the organization.  Based on each individual health situation, determinations about further medical care will be made.  Undocumented immigrants may be eligible to receive: Permanent Residence Under Color of Law (PRUCOL) status, New York State Medicaid for Emergency Care, Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) / Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation (COBRA) Act, NYC Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) assistance, Pre-natal Care Assistance Program & Family Planning Extension Program, and free and low cost clinics.  AMPHS caseworkers will be assigned to each Open Access member, and ongoing relationships and support will be established.

At this time, Open Access is only provided to those who live in Brooklyn, NY.

AMPHS will provide Open Access Members:

  • Public community workshops and seminars on health access, health reform, healthy lifestyles, and AMPHS services
  • Individual consultations with AMPHS caseworkers to develop a customized plan and portfolio of services tailored to the individual
  • Prescription Assistance by means of Big Apple Rx cards and referrals to other assistance centers
  • Regular health screenings and wellness check-ups to ensure continuous healthy medical status, lifestyle, and compliance with medical care directions and medications, etc.

This event is open to the public.  Please bring your family and friends.

To access the flier, please click here: Health Reform & You BPL Workshop__Oct 13 & 19

myAMPHS Open Access: Giving NYC Undocumented Immigrants a Fair Chance at Healthcare after the Affordable Care Act

By: Latesha Richards, Director of Marketing & Sales, AMPHS

After the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been upheld, the healthcare insurance coverage status for undocumented immigrants still remains, for the most part, unaffected by ACA.  AMPHS hopes to give New York City’s undocumented immigrants a fair shot at receiving the healthcare services and insurance coverage, through myAMPHS Open Access, that many Americans will now receive as a result of ACA.

Just before summer recess in late June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law and ruled that the ACA is constitutional.  Under the ACA, approximately 34 million people who did not have coverage will now have the opportunity to get insurance and preventative services such as breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension screenings and vaccinations free of charge.  The ACA is currently in place, and some provisions are in effect such as preventative services and care for women.  

Starting this year until 2014, states will have healthcare exchanges in place – online public marketplaces where insurers can sell products at competitive prices and Americans can shop for products for themselves and their families with the help from general assistors, intermediaries and insurance brokers.  Some individuals and families will be able to purchase healthcare insurance on their own, and other will be relying on federal subsidies.  Without a doubt, the ACA is a step in the right direction, but the law still doesn’t cover everyone.

Undocumented Immigrants Still Not Covered

Although many Americans who weren’t covered before will now be covered, not all 313 million people living in the U.S. will be covered.  There is a group that will still remain, for the most part, uninsured: undocumented immigrants.

New York City’s Healthcare Condition

New York State has already opted in to the Medicaid expansion option that the law provides.  Fortunately for those of us who live in New York state, Medicaid will be expanded to cover those individuals and families with incomes that fall below 133%-400% of the federal poverty line.  

A group of individuals left out of the mix are undocumented immigrants.  About 11.5 million immigrants were living in the U.S.; in 2011 approximately between 625,000 of them live in New York City alone.  Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are eligible to receive care in emergency situations, but like the very poor Americans, they are ineligible to receive any government or state-funded insurance, like Medicare and Medicaid.  They are eligible to receive private insurance through their jobs, but for those who are unemployed, the rising costs of private insurance makes nearly impossible to afford it.  Preventative medical services are not covered for undocumented immigrants under the law.  They are also ineligible to shop on the state health exchanges when they are implemented.

Though a good start to facing the country’s healthcare challenges, this law is still not quite the universal healthcare that exists in places such as Canada and Europe.  That’s where Academy of Medical and Public Health Services (AMPHS) comes in.

AMPHS’ Relevance in New York City

Academy of Medical and Public Health Services (AMPHS), a Brooklyn, NY based non-profit healthcare services organization has opened its doors since 2010 to Sunset Park residents.  Sunset Park residents are largely Hispanic/Latino immigrants (approx 50% of the neighborhood’s population) and Asian (25%).  Residents in the neighborhood are living below the poverty level, have menial-income jobs, and are not well-educated.  Sunset Park’s poverty rate is higher than that of Brooklyn (22%) and New York City as a whole (18%), according to a 2008 report by the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park.  Because of their poverty status, residents are less likely to have healthcare insurance and less likely to see a doctor.  Moreover, as many immigrants are undocumented, they face challenges with the legal system that prevents them from getting the care they need.

As a healthcare intermediary, AMPHS seeks to provide the preventative care services that is missing in this community.  Through preventative services such as blood pressure, visual care, memory and cognition, mammography and HIV screenings, AMPHS provides the basic medical and public health services not readily accessible to the very poor and undocumented immigrants living in the neighborhood.

 Open Access Program for Undocumented Immigrants

To address the lack of access to care for undocumented immigrants, AMPHS has created it’s myAMPHS Open Access Program under its myAMPHS Community Membership Program.  Launching late 2012, Open Access aims to address the barriers of undocumented immigrants to access healthcare by bringing together resources currently in place into one streamlined, comprehensive program.

Through the program, Open Access members will receive access to all preventative care services offered within the organization.  Based on each individual health situation, determinations about further medical care will be made.  Undocumented immigrants may be eligible to receive: Permanent Residence Under Color of Law (PRUCOL) status, New York State Medicaid for Emergency Care, Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) / Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation (COBRA) Act, NYC Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) assistance, Pre-natal Care Assistance Program & Family Planning Extension Program, and free and low cost clinics.  AMPHS caseworkers will be assigned to each Open Access member, and ongoing relationships and support will be established.

AMPHS will provide Open Access Members:

  • Public community workshops and seminars on health access, health reform, healthy lifestyles, and AMPHS services
  • Individual consultations with AMPHS caseworkers to develop a customized plan and portfolio of services tailored to the individual
  • Prescription Assistance by means of Big Apple Rx cards and referrals to other assistance centers
  • Regular health screenings and wellness check-ups to ensure continuous healthy medical status, lifestyle, and compliance with medical care directions and medications, etc.

AMPHS’ President & CEO Hewett Chiu, commented on the impact that the program will have in the Sunset Park community and beyond.  He said,

“This innovative program is truly needed, especially today.  This is one of the very rare programs in the Sunset Park, or even the Brooklyn community that aims to bring together a string of resources targeted to filling in the gaps of where health reform leaves off.  With actively promoting health & wellbeing for those who need it most, Sunset Park will become an overall safer place with fewer disparities, becoming one less “statistic” against other neighborhoods.  Hopefully, within the next few years, we are able to improve the collection of resources and services available within the program, create customized health and wellbeing solutions for individual communities, and expand the program to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn.”

AMPHS hopes that through the Open Access program, anyone and everyone without regard to race, ethnicity, culture, religion, economic or legal status will be given the opportunity to access affordable healthcare.  Open Access will be launched later this year at which time undocumented immigrants can sign up for the program.

References:

  1. Healthcare That Works for Americans; White House.gov Website.  Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/healthcare-overview. Accessed on August 4, 2012.
  2. Preston, J. Illegal Immigrants Number 11.5 Million;  New York Times Online Website. Published March 24, 2012.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/us/illegal-immigrants-number-11-5-million.html. Accessed on August 4, 2012.
  3. Harbarger, M. New York gets more than $600 million in taxes from illegal immigrants; Capital Confidential Blog.  Posted on April 19, 2011. Available at: http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/64570/new-york-gets-more-than-600-million-from-illegal-immigrants/. Accessed on August 4, 2012.
  4. Center for Family Life in Sunset Park Progress Report. 2008.  Center for Family Life in Sunset Park Website.  Available at: http://www.cflsp.org/pdfs/CFL_ProgressReport08_Final.pdf. Accessed on August 4, 2012.

With YouthBridge Grant, AMPHS’ Community Research & Resource Center Gets Fresh, New Look

June 27, 2012

What’s new at Academy of Medical and Public Health Services’ (AMPHS) headquarters?  AMPHS’ Community Research & Resource Center got a make-over!  Community members can stop by for a comfortable and private study on any medical condition known to man.

Using funds from their YouthBridge Grant reward received earlier this month, AMPHS re-modeled the resource center into a homely library room furnished with bookshelves, an office desk and chairs, desk lamps, and dark window curtains for private for in-depth reading.  Re-located to room 201, the center is now larger, more spacious, and includes a printing station to print out referrals or online resources for community members.  There are plans to install a computer terminal for community members to check their health status and re-cataloging the room to make it more user friendly for them.

The Community Research & Resource Center is sponsored by the Center for Healthcare Policy & Management, which aims to provide community members access to resources that will assist them in making informed decisions about their general health and wellbeing.  Through group seminars, one-on-one consultations, and independent research, the Center provides the tools necessary for community members to better understand their bodies, medical conditions, health concerns, and issues related to public health.

Information community members can find in the Resource Center include an extensive collection of reference materials and resources outlining specific diseases, conditions, and health-related topics, comprehensive FDA information sheets, database for community members to take home, NIH News In Health subscription for public use to outline breakthrough research and treatment options.

As part of the Center’s mission, AMPHS also gives public presentations and seminars on health access and coverage and prescription access.

One can find the Community Resource Center at AMPHS’ headquarters located in Room 201 AMPHS NYC 5306 Third Avenue, 2nd Fl, Brooklyn, NY 11220.

  

Let us know what you think about our re-modeled Resource Center. Send your comments!