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NYC Test & Treat Corps’ Aftercare Program Completes a Half Million Outreach Calls for New Yorkers Recovering From COVID-19

AfterCare Navigators’ outreach efforts have connected nearly 60,000 New Yorkers affected by COVID-19 and Long COVID to critical health, social and financial support services

To learn more about AfterCare and get connected to Long COVID resources, call 212-COVID19  and press 4 or visit nyc.gov/aftercare

Feb 23, 2023

The NYC Test & Treat Corps announced today that its AfterCare program has reached out to over 500,000 New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 and referred more than 57,000 people, including many experiencing symptoms of Long COVID, to critical health, social and financial support services. AfterCare Navigators prioritized outreach to New Yorkers who live in neighborhoods the City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE) determined were hardest hit by the pandemic, completing calls to former cases of COVID-19 identified by the Test & Treat Corps’ contact tracing program. In addition, over three months, AfterCare’s Transportation Benefit program provided approximately 250 rides to over 100 New Yorkers with scheduled medical appointments.

“Test & Treat’s outreach teams and AfterCare program put into practice the administration’s values around the importance of connection to care and wraparound service engagement,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom.“A half a million New Yorkers received outreach from AfterCare Navigators with nearly 60,000 accepting additional health care, social, or financial services. These efforts make a difference in the lives of not only the patient receiving services, but the whole family connected to that person. Thank you to the Test & Treat team and every person doing this work.”

“The over 500,000 calls from AfterCare Navigators extended 500,000 opportunities for New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 or living with Long COVID to get the comprehensive help they need for their recovery,” said Dr. Amanda K. Johnson, Director of AfterCare at the NYC Test & Treat Corps and Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “While we have reached a significant milestone that prioritized outreach to New Yorkers in the city’s most impacted neighborhoods, there are still many New Yorkers, including members of the medical community, who don’t know what Long COVID is, how it may impact their health, mental, social and financial well-being, and the resources available to assist them. I want to remind all New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 or Long COVID that getting connected to the care and attention they deserve is only a phone call away at 212-COVID19.”

The AfterCare program connects New Yorkers with Long COVID — a wide range of new, ongoing or returning symptoms patients may develop after their initial COVID-19 infection — to resources to support them in their recovery process. To address the various symptoms New Yorkers with Long COVID may experience, as well as the social and economic impacts of the condition, such as loss of employment or social isolation, AfterCare connects patients to holistic resources that address physical health, mental health, community support and financial assistance. Resources are also available to New Yorkers who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 to struggle with aspects of COVID recovery, such as housing insecurity, job loss, or new caregiver responsibilities.

Since the launch of AfterCare in April 2021, AfterCare Navigators — health outreach specialists trained to support New Yorkers dealing with the health and socioeconomic impacts of Long COVID — have called over 500,000 New Yorkers who were infected with COVID-19. AfterCare Navigators conducted initial outreach to New Yorkers who reported having symptoms on their last day of COVID monitoring, and then broadened outreach to ensure Long COVID resources reached those most in need and most likely to have symptoms. As of early February 2023, AfterCare Navigators have completed nearly all calls to cases and contacts in TRIE neighborhoods that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and commenced outreach to New Yorkers living outside TRIE neighborhoods.

To date, AfterCare has referred over 57,000 New Yorkers to Long COVID resources, 40% of whom reported having symptoms of Long COVID and 54% of whom were connected to multiple services. Approximately 40% of AfterCare clients have been connected to local post-COVID care clinics or NYC Health + Hospitals’ COVID-19 Centers of Excellence, state-of-the-art Community Health Centers that offer dedicated short and long-term follow-up care for Long COVID patients. Those services include pulmonary care and supplemental oxygen, cardiac care, diagnostic radiology services, comprehensive mental health services, and examination rooms with special technology to safely isolate patients who may have COVID-19.

In addition, AfterCare provides the following resources to support New Yorkers’ recovery:

  • Physical health
    • Self-care management techniques
    • Access to primary care
    • Diabetes and pre-diabetes support
  • Mental health
    • NYC Well
    • Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health
  • Community support
    • Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group
  • Financial assistance
    • Housing and rental assistance
    • Funeral assistance
    • Disability benefits

AfterCare Navigators are employed through the NYC Test & Treat Corps’ partnerships with BronxWorks, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY), and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). AfterCare Navigators are reflective of the diverse communities they serve — 90% live in New York City and over half are bilingual, speaking a total of 29 languages.

“AfterCare services have allowed us to reconnect with many of the people we assisted during the height of the pandemic,” said Amanda Brown, Program Director of BronxWorks, Inc. “The program has not only shown that they haven’t been forgotten, but let them know that they still matter today by providing current resources for both health and non-health related matters. It is a gratifying experience to show our communities that they are important and that community-based providers, along with the NYC Health + Hospitals and its Test & Treat Corps, truly do care about their well-being.”

“The after-effects of COVID-19 infection can be debilitating,” said CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy Dean Ayman El-Mohandes. “We are grateful for the opportunity to connect New Yorkers with the health and social resources that will facilitate their recovery. Our team has demonstrated immense compassion, diligence and commitment to supporting clients since the early days of the pandemic, and we aim to continue these efforts for as long as needed.”

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CPC has worked alongside other CBOs, as well as various city agencies, to assist New Yorkers — connecting them with essential resources to help them recover from COVID-19,” said Edgar Pereira, Chief Program Officer of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. “It brings a smile to my face to know that the milestone we have achieved was due to the continued hard work of our AfterCare Navigators in collaboration with all of our partners. We are one step closer to putting this dark time behind us, and we will continue to make the connections needed so that we can all experience brighter times ahead.”

AfterCare’s Transportation Benefit program, a partnership with Ride Health which launched in November 2022 and closed to new enrollees on February 13, provided 250 rides to over 100 New Yorkers with scheduled medical appointments.

“Ride Health is proud to work with the AfterCare program to provide reliable transportation for patients across New York City,” said Chris Coates, Client Success Lead for Ride Health. “We strongly believe that eliminating transportation barriers is the first step in ensuring great care and better clinical outcomes for every patient.”

If you or a loved one are suffering from or think you may have Long COVID, please call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319), select your preferred language, and press 4 to speak directly to an AfterCare Navigator. Please visit the AfterCare website and AfterCare’s Long COVID recovery guide for more information about Long COVID and the resources available to you.

Contact: Press Office, 212-788-3339, PressOffice@nychhc.org

About the NYC Test & Treat Corps
The NYC Test & Treat Corps is the City’s comprehensive effort to respond to COVID-19 by providing New Yorkers accessible, no-cost testing, rapid connections to COVID-19 treatments and resources to support those recovering from Long COVID. Through a partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the NYC Test & Treat Corps provides New Yorkers equitable, widespread access to the critical tools for COVID-19 testing and treatment. For more information, visit testandtreat.nyc.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the City’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.