The City Council recently held two hearings of interest to GNYHA members.

On December 7, the Committee on Women and Gender Equity, the Committee on Health, and the Committee on Hospitals held a joint hearing on “Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in NYC.” GNYHA Senior Vice President of Legal, Regulatory, and Professional Affairs Lorraine Ryan testified (attached) on behalf of our members, focusing on maternal health within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also addressed broader efforts by government and the health care community to address racial disparities in maternal health. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), NYC Health + Hospitals, and the Commission on Gender Equity testified about their efforts to address maternal health. Bruce McIntyre—whose partner Amber Isaac died in childbirth this past summer—provided impassioned testimony about his experience. Several advocates also argued that more doulas and midwives would help address maternal mortality and morbidity.

On December 4, the Committee on Hospitals and the Committee on Health held a joint hearing on COVID-19 vaccines. DOHMH Commissioner Dave Chokshi, MD, outlined the de Blasio Administration’s plan to distribute vaccines and which populations will be prioritized. He explained the City’s plan to first administer the vaccine to essential workers and then the public. He also noted that the City is working with the State to draft unified guidance for hospitals that includes enough room for individual flexibility. Pfizer representatives discussed how their vaccine works, the vaccine’s efficacy, and possible side effects. Numerous advocates also testified and called for equitable distribution.