BROOKLYN, NY (July 28, 2022) Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso today announced his administration has allocated $15.625 million to NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County to help renovate the facility’s newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and Mother-Baby units. The upgrades will convert both units into family-friendly spaces, providing comfort and privacy for parents and newborns, and help to close disparities of maternal mortality rates found among people of color compared to their white counterparts.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County is the third hospital to receive funding through the Borough President’s FY23 capital budget, with the entire $45M budget being allotted across the three public hospitals in Brooklyn to help improve maternal health care services that will in turn reduce maternal mortality rates of Black pregnant people. Mr. Reynoso is the first Borough President to allocate an entire fiscal year’s capital funding to one cause, and within one city organization.
“When thinking through what could help save a life and make someone’s birthing experience more positive, we often think of the clinicians and equipment, even training. However, environment is critical to ensure a birthing person, their support system, and their care team have not just the necessary space but the proper surroundings to make someone feel at ease, and triage any life-threatening situation,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “As I’ve mentioned before, we’re thinking through all the ways pregnant people and their care teams can be empowered through the birthing experience to help save lives.”
“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.”
“We are so grateful to Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for his gift of more than $15 million dollars to NYC Health+ Hospitals/Kings County. Borough President Reynoso’s commitment to the women of Brooklyn is outstanding and aligns with the work NYC Health + Hospitals has been engaged in since 2018 to improve the health of women and families. The capital funding Borough President Reynoso has dedicated to NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County and the other Brooklyn facilities will change more than infrastructure — it will change the way in which our public health system delivers care to birthing patients. This gift will be transformational. NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County will provide patient-centered, family-centered holistic care. Thank you, Borough President Reynoso, for your foresight and vision to enhance the experience of birthing patients in Brooklyn,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Women’s Health Officer Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOG
“I am proud to announce the upcoming renovation of NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County’s NICU and Mother-Baby units,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Executive Officer Sheldon P. Mcleod. “These advancements will work towards combating the health disparities in maternal health. We continue to ensure all mothers who walk through our doors receive the highest quality care in a spacious, welcoming environment.”
The $15.6 million capital allocation will help renovate and transform 22,500 square-feet of NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County that houses its NICU and Mother-Baby units. Patient rooms will become single-occupancy family rooms, allowing families comfort and privacy during their birthing experience. These new developments allow NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County to continue providing high-quality patient-centric care by offering the latest advancements to patients in an accommodating environment to encourage positive parent-infant relationships.
“We are reminded every day in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County of the critical importance of safe and comprehensive care for pregnant people in our community,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Chief of Gynecology & Obstetrics Natalie Ohly, MD. “We are grateful for the support from our Brooklyn Borough President to improve the environment and create an even safer and welcoming birthing experience for our patients and their families.”
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 lay 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.
“The communities Kings County serves have some of the worst maternal health outcomes in New York State. We wouldn’t accept these disparities in other parts of the city, and we can’t accept them here. I’m grateful to the Borough President for these desperately-needed resources, and will continue the fight in Albany for quality, affordable healthcare for women and children in Central Brooklyn,” said New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie.
“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.
“Too often, our mothers, our women, and their need for quality and comprehensive maternal health support does not get the attention that it deserves. With today’s announcement we are making it clear that Brooklyn will not leave our women, and particularly mothers of color, behind any longer. New York City can and must do better to protect maternal health, and this investment of $15.625 million dollars shows that Brooklyn and our Borough President are serious about addressing and eradicating severe maternal mortality and morbidity. I thank Borough President Reynoso for his bold leadership on this topic,” said Councilmember Rita Joseph.
Earlier this month, Borough President Reynoso announced a capital allocation of $11M to NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull to improve the hospital’s women’s health services by creating a state-of-the-art birthing center, and $18M to NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island to expand and centralize maternal health services on its campus.