October 26, 2016
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Bronx Community’s Civil Rights Campaign Alleging Discrimination at 3 Major NYC Hospitals



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Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosted an investigative news segment on racial discrimination that results from separate and unequal care provided by private hospitals in New York City.  The story focused on a civil rights complaint filed with the Office of the Attorney General of New York State in June 2008 by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) on behalf of Bronx Health REACH, a coalition of over 40 community and faith-based organizations led by the Institute for Family Health.  In multiple visits to New York accompanied by his producer and film crews, Dr. Gupta interviewed faith leaders, patients, and REACH and NYLPI staff to bring the issue of separate and unequal care to light.

The 2008 complaint was filed against MontefioreNew York-Presbyterian and Mt. Sinai Medical Centers and documents how these hospitals operate two separate and unequal systems of outpatient care within the same health facility, in violation of federal, state and local civil rights laws.  The complaint alleges that patients with private insurance who need specialist care are referred to faculty practice offices, but Medicaid patients are systematically referred to the hospital’s clinics, where they receive more fragmented care from less experienced doctors.

"We've found pervasive segregation of care, based on the insurance status of people in the community. As blacks and Latinos are two to three times more likely to be uninsured or publicly insured, there is a close link between race, ethnicity and insurance status.  This results in the systematic channeling of whites and minorities into different systems of care and these systems are not of equal quality or equally accessible," said Neil Calman, M.D., president of the Institute for Family Health, and principal investigator for Bronx  Health REACH.  "We have called this medical apartheid because it separates people by race and has the same deadly effect as apartheid in other settings.”


“The complaint documents specific findings of system-wide policies and practices contributing to the segregation of care,” remarked Nisha Agarwal, Director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.  “This is in direct conflict with federal, state and local civil rights laws, which state that patients have a right to receive treatment without discrimination as to race, color, national origin and source of payment.”


For more information, visit: http://neilcalman.blogspot.com.


ABOUT Bronx Health REACH

Bronx Health REACHestablished in 1999, includes 40 community and faith-based organizations dedicated to eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in health outcomes. In addition to its advocacy efforts, the group sponsors community health promotion and disease prevention programs, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and the NYS Department of Health.  REACH is a project of the Institute for Family Health, a nonprofit organization that operates health centers and trains health professionals to work in urban, medically underserved communities in New York State. New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) is a nonprofit civil rights law firm that works with communities to advocate for social justice through community organizing, litigation policy advocacy and public education.  NYLPI helps underrepresented people develop legal strategies to serve their vision for themselves and their communities.


ABOUT New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI)

 New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) is a nonprofit civil rights law firm that strives for social justice in New York City through litigation, community organizing, policy advocacy and public education.  (Insert program specific line here) NYLPI has in-house expertise in health justice, environmental justice and disability rights.  This expertise is extended by a network of volunteers from New York’s top law firms and corporate legal departments that work with NYLPI to provide pro bono legal assistance to nonprofit organizations and individuals in need. 



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