Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso Allocates $11m In Capital Funding To NYCHealth + Hospitals/Woodhull To Create A State-Of-The-Art Birthing Center

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Allocation to Woodhull Hospital is a part of Reynoso’s commitment to contribute an entire fiscal year’s capital funding to one issue, the first in Borough President history

BROOKLYN, NY (July 19, 2022) Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso today announced his administration has allocated $11 million in capital funding to NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull to improve the hospital’s women’s health services by creating a state-of-the-art birthing center. Fulfilling a primary campaign promise, Borough President Reynoso is allocating his entire FY23 capital funds – a total of $45M – across the three public hospitals in Brooklyn to help improve maternal health care services that will in turn reduce disparities in maternal mortality rates found between Black pregnant people and their white counterparts. Mr. Reynoso is the first Borough President to allocate an entire fiscal year’s capital funding to one cause, and within one city organization.

“Every expecting family deserves access to high-quality health care no matter the color of their skin or the language they speak,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The root causes of racial disparities in maternal health are real, and we need all hands on deck to stamp out the inequities that have allowed children and mothers to die at the exact time when we should be welcoming a life. I’m grateful to Borough President Reynoso for this generous investment in our hospitals to save lives and ensure all new moms have access to world-class care.”

“Regardless of intention or passion, one person can’t enact long-lasting solutions without the support of a small army that’s just as passionate and has the expertise to see those impactful changes through. I found a true partner in my fight against maternal mortality inequities in our city’s public health system,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “I look forward to working with NYC Health + Hospitals leadership, specifically at Woodhull and Brooklyn’s two other public hospitals, to ensure my ambitious capital funding yields results in lives saved. I’m confident that within four years, the conversation around maternal mortality in Brooklyn will be vastly different thanks to this allocation and the tireless work being done by our public health system.”

“Brooklyn is the fastest growing borough in New York City and it has the second-highest birth rate. NYC Health + Hospitals applauds Borough President Antonio Reynoso for his vision to make Brooklyn one of the safest places to give birth,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “While racial disparities in birth outcomes are evident nationwide, our health care system is committed to reducing and eliminating these inequalities by creating safer birth experiences for New Yorkers. The borough president’s investment in our patients and their families will help us further improve maternal health outcomes. We thank Mr. Reynoso for his tremendous partnership and generosity, and we are most grateful for his gift.”

“On behalf of Woodhull Hospital and the community, I extend our thanks and appreciation to Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso for the generous support of $11 million to fund the expansion and improvement of our birthing center. The renovation of our birthing center will allow us to enlarge and modernize the labor and delivery operating rooms to provide a safer and more fulfilling experience for the mother, child, and their families,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull CEO Gregory Calliste.

Capital funding will go towards the new birthing center, renovating six private labor and birthing rooms, enhance the nurse’s station, post anesthesia care unit, and an upgrade of the triage and ante-partum rooms. The new design also includes a state-of-the-art OB stimulation lab and enlarged modernized operating rooms for cesarean births.

“We are thrilled and thankful to our Borough President for the opportunity to provide our community with an enhanced, attractive, family-centered space in which high-quality birthing services can be provided,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull COO Dr. Lisa Scott-McKenzie.

“I am grateful to Brooklyn Borough President for this capital gift that will be used to transform the external environment of the labor and birthing suite, create a state-of-the-art birthing center, and enlarge and modernize the operating rooms at Woodhull.  More than this,

I am grateful that he has lent his voice to the cause of making Brooklyn the safest and most satisfying Borough to give birth.  He has spoken often of not only how he envisions the facilities looking, but the benefit of the shared decision-making model of integrative midwifery and physician care he hopes will continue to be utilized at Woodhull and in other spaces. We share his vision for the community at Woodhull and we know that this contribution will provide birthing people greater and more positive ownership of their health, their pregnancy, and the outcomes.” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Director of Midwifery Helena Grant.

In addition to the Borough President’s capital allocation of $11M, Councilmembers Chi Ossé and Jennifer Gutiérrez, with the support of Speaker Adrienne Adams, allocated $1,776,00 and $500,000 respectively for additional upgrades to medical equipment at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.

During his campaign, Borough President Reynoso highlighted the gross inequity that Black pregnant people are 9.4 times more likely to die due to childbirth complications than their white counterparts. He pledged to reduce this disparity in Brooklyn, making the borough one of the safest places to have a baby in the country.

Borough President Reynoso began working on this priority quickly after transitioning to his new role, launching his administration’s Maternal Health Taskforce in April 2022. The taskforce will help lead the foundation for strategizing around his maternal health agenda and expanding the taskforce.

In addition to his capital allocations, Borough President Reynoso also looks forward to supporting outpatient services, such as social services and community care models, that address underlying issues faced by people of color, increasing health insurance access for all birthing people, and more.

It is unconscionable that maternal death rates differ so drastically by race. I commend Borough President Antonio Reynoso for taking such aggressive and necessary action to help end the shocking and deplorable racial and socio-economic disparities in maternal health. I look forward to working with the Borough President Reynoso to ensure that no matter their color or economic status each Brooklynite has access to, and receives equitable and high-quality maternal care, and are never pushed to the side,” said Councilmember and Chair of the City Council Committee on Hospitals Mercedes Narcisse.

“As we fight for equity across this city, investing in the spaces that keep black and brown women healthy and promote real preventative care has to be at the forefront. A state-of-the-art birthing center at Woodhull will make a profound difference in the lives of our community and will make huge strides in addressing maternal mortality. I recently gave birth at Woodhull, so I know firsthand how much their patients, midwives, nurses, and doctors will benefit from this important investment. They are so deserving of this allocation. I want to thank BP Reynoso for his commitment to funding our public hospitals and congratulate Woodhull for their advocacy in bringing this necessary resource to North Brooklyn,” said Councilmember Jennifer Gutiérrez.

Maternal mortality and morbidity is a national issue that hits home in Brooklyn as our rates are the highest in New York City, shining a light on the racial inequity black and brown birthing people face due to lack of equitable medical care. Borough President Reynoso’s leadership on this critical issue is necessary to build our Health + Hospitals reputation as a birthing destination. By investing in birthing centers for Woodhull, Coney Island, and Kings County hospitals we are closing the gap to a historical disparity and creating equitable maternal health outcomes for safer birthing experiences,” said Councilmember Farah Louis.

This extraordinary investment from Borough President Antonio Reynoso will get us one step closer to bringing down maternal mortality rates in Brooklyn. This is exactly the kind of ambitious, focused spending we need to keep Black mothers alive and tackle racism and inequity in Brooklyn,” said Councilmember Lincoln Restler.

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