The New York health care community last week celebrated the New York health care workers who deployed to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to provide critically needed patient care, and the organizations that organized relief missions and provided medical supplies and equipment. The health care workers who deployed were organized by GNYHA, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), New York State Department of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

Physicians, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and administrators from Albany Medical Center, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, MediSys Health Network, Montefiore Health System, Mount Sinai Health System, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Northwell Health, Stony Brook Medicine, and the University of Rochester Medical Center provided medical care during the two-week deployments. The January 8 event also honored the organizations that made 22 supply missions to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands possible, including Afya Foundation, the UJA-Federation of New York, Akorn, Cardinal Health, Grainger, Medline, Staples, and the Montefiore and Mount Sinai pharmacy teams.

GNYHA President Kenneth E. Raske

GNYHA President Kenneth E. Raske offered his deepest appreciation to the health care workers, whose response efforts saved hundreds of lives. Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, in a filmed message, offered his gratitude on behalf of the Federal government for those who provided care to their fellow American citizens in a time of great need. HANYS President Bea Grause presented plaques from GNYHA, HANYS, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that recognized leadership and staff at each health system for their outstanding response and relief work in Puerto Rico. GNYHA Ventures President Lee H. Perlman praised the supply mission participants, who provided more than 100,000 pounds of medical supplies and equipment, including medications and vaccines for diabetics and organ transplant recipients.

Commemorative challenge coins

In closing, each team member was called onstage to receive a special challenge coin to commemorate their service in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The coins were presented by Megan Baldwin, Governor Cuomo’s Assistant Secretary for Health; Maria Castaneda, Secretary-Treasurer of 1199SEIU; Jill Furillo, Executive Director of NYSNA; Jenna Mandel-Ricci, Vice President, GNYHA; and Courtney Burke, Chief Operating Officer, HANYS.