Schenectady program connects at-risk residents to healthcare – New York News

Eddie Polanco, speaking to a room of healthcare professionals and community leaders on Tuesday, said he owns a suit, but doesn’t typically wear it to his job.


Instead, he usually wears what he wore on Tuesday: a gray Chicago Bulls hat with a red bill, a black T-shirt and ripped jeans. He proudly displayed his tattoos.

“This is my uniform,” he said. “When I walk up to a person, I introduce them to Eddie Polanco, not a healthcare ambassador.”

Polanco is one of three healthcare ambassadors for Empower Health, a newly launched program in the city that aims to connect at-risk residents with health and social services. The program recently completed a successful two-month pilot period, and targets individuals who are on Medicaid or are uninsured.

The program is a collaboration among the City Mission of Schenectady, Alliance for Better Health, MVP Health Care and Hometown Health Centers.

An Empower Health ambassador will engage residents at municipal housing, food pantries, bus stops, shelters and elsewhere to explain the program. They provide a survey, which asks individuals to respond to statements like “I know what each of my prescribed medications do,” and “I know how to prevent problems with my health.”

Based on their responses, the individual is put in touch with Shatiki Beatty, who serves as the program coordinator and health coach. She is essentially a bridge between the client and the services they require.

For example, she will set up a doctor’s appointment for a client, and, if they require transportation, will arrange for a MediCab to pick them up and take them to the office,…

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