Last Saturday, local dignitaries and medical professionals gathered to officially open the Jacobs Family Pride Wellness Center at Montefiore Nyack Hospital. Made possible through a partnership with the Oval Center and Aids Center in Montefiore and the Phyllis B. Frank Pride Center in Rockland County, it is the first LGBTQ+ medical health center of its kind in the Valley of the Hudson.
The new center will provide new health care options to a group of people who have traditionally faced additional barriers to quality medical treatment. These services will include confidential sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment, gender-affirming health care, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and referrals for gender-affirming surgery. The center will also provide new HIV testing and prevention options, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), as well as support services including nursing, patient education, patients and health care navigation.
The day’s guest of honor was US Congressman Mondaire Jones, Rockland’s voice in the House of Representatives and one of the first openly gay black men to serve in the national legislature. Congressman Jones presented the hospital with a check for $1.5 million in support of the Center to expand its capacity and reach. . “I am proud to have secured the $1.5 million in funding needed to build an outpatient diagnostic treatment center at Rockland Pride Center, in partnership with Montefiore Nyack. This health center will serve the full range of culturally appropriate health and wellness needs of Rockland’s LGBTQ+ community. It’s the first of its kind in the Hudson,” Jones said.
The management of the hospital shared his sentiment. “Every person deserves access to respectful and humanistic care in a place where they are truly seen and heard, where they feel safe and accepted to receive comprehensive care and treatment,” said Mark E. Geller, MD, President and CEO. Montefiore Nyack. “Our mission is to ensure that all LGBTQ+ patients who seek our services are protected and affirmed by our healthcare providers. Jacobs Family Pride Wellness Center, at its core, strives to do this by treating the “whole person” and listening to our patients if they feel there are gaps in their care.
The center will offer financial assistance on a sliding scale for uninsured patients and will also employ Spanish-speaking staff to better meet community needs. The center is currently sees patients ages 16 and older and can provide referrals available for those under 16, including care for transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth.
Earlier in the week, Congressman Jones took another step toward providing better care for often-neglected groups by voting in favor of landmark legislation to lower insulin costs for working families. By capping out-of-pocket expenses, the Affordable Insulin Now Act will ensure New Yorkers pay no more than $35 for a monthly supply of insulin.
“(Thursday) The House took a key step forward in the fight to lower health care costs for working families,” Jones said. “I proudly voted for the Affordable Insulin Now Act to cap outrageous insulin prices at $35 per month. I will never forget how, in October 2019, I spoke with a mother from Tarrytown who drove to Canada every month just to buy insulin for her son because she couldn’t afford it in Westchester.This vote is for her.
Up 54% between 2014 and 2019, the cost of insulin has created an affordability crisis for the 9.4% of New Yorkers with diabetes. Americans currently face an average price of $98.70 for a unit of insulin, ten times more than in other wealthy countries. One in four Americans who depend on insulin have been forced to ration doses due to high prices, a last resort with life-threatening consequences.