Frequently when listening to members of the GOP or Right they are fond of tossing around terms like “Hollywood values’, “San Francisco liberal” or say things like “well that might be the way they do things in New York City but here in the real America….”. Trust me, these are not meant as compliments! Well this New Yorker is getting tired of it and am living proof that compared to the vast majority of the country our values here in NYC are just fine thank you very much. The picture above is of Harlem Hospital Center where I recently had surgery. Harlem Hospital like many inner city hospitals is greatly overtaxed (the hospital in the middle of a major capitol improvement program with a brand new hospital building under construction, funded in total by both city and state) Here is a few facts from the hospital’s wiki:
Administratively, Harlem Hospital Center is a member of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. It is designated as a Level 1 Trauma Center and an Area Wide Burn Center that includes a specialty in plastic and reconstructive surgery to reduce the scarring unique to the African-American community. It is also designated as a Heart Care Station by the American Heart Association and participates in the 911 Receiving Hospitals Advisory Committee. It is affiliated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University since 1962.
The Harlem Hospital Center has engaged in many innovative programs specialized for its inner-city location, such as one of the few specialized asthma centers. While four percent of the national population suffers from asthma, that figure approaches 20 percent in Harlem.
The hospital provides health care to an economically disadvantaged community; the median family income for its primary service area of Central Harlem is $24,230. Harlem Hospital Center is an important social, political and economic force within the community, and one of the largest US training centers for minority and female physicians.
Harlem Hospital Center provides 450,000 outpatient visits, 76,000 emergency department visits, and 13,000 inpatient admissions per year, and operates a School of Nursing and a Physician assistant program.
Needless to say, the vast majority of the hospitals patients are without private insurance, dependant on either Medicare, Medicaid, or one the programs offered by New York City Health and Hospitals Corp, a network of 20 hospitals owned by the city.
When I was forced out of the private health care system due to spiraling premiums I enrolled in Health & Hospitals Corp Options Program. This program is based not only on my income but also takes into consideration just how much care I require. After being enrolled in the program for about 6 months my fees were reduced due to the frequency with which i require medical care. I do not pay a monthly premium, I pay 20 dollars per doctors visit and all my meds are 6 dollar per prescription. The cost of this most recent surgery including pre surgery testing, labs and meds ran about 500 dollars. I can only imagine just how large the debt would be right now if I lived on one of those so called places where the “real Americans” live, or for that matter if I would have even been able to receive the care I desperately needed and will continue to need for a very long time to come.
So the next time you hear one of those head up their ass “real Americans” go on about how “real American values” think about how they treat their sick in a place like Tennessee, Kentucky, or Texas and how we treat our sick here in New York City!
P. S. A long overdue thanks to the fine and compassionate staff of Harlem Hospital who have always treated me with kindness, compassion, and respect and provided with me with state of art, first class medical care! And btw some of the best hospital food I ever ate, really, it’s good food!