Nysha Recent News

Meeting Community’s Needs, Newly Re-Approved NYSHA Clinic Still Seeks to Help More

September 6, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Through Main Site and Sites in Three Counties, Special-needs Therapy Center Provides

Walk into any modern-day medical center and you’re sure to encounter “contemporary” and “convenient,” from the interior design to the cutting-edge medicine.

Walk into the NYSHA Article 16 Clinic and you’ll encounter the same.

Named for the section of New York State health law that allows for their creation and operation, Article 16 Clinics do for individuals with disabilities what typical medical centers do for their patients: Greet them and treat them with top-notch professionalism and patience.

While separate facilities to treat those with disabilities may sound like the very segregation that contemporary society has long left behind, the cold hard fact is that many individuals with various disabilities find visiting mainstream medical centers too intimidating or otherwise uncomfortable—whether due to insensitive fellow patients, caregivers insufficiently trained in the support and care of people with special needs, or their own sensitivities.

The Article 16 Clinic does away with all of that.

Geared specifically for the sensitivities of the disability population, both patient and family member alike, facilities like the NYSHA Article 16 Clinic present patrons with staff completely comfortable with the disability population, from the receptionist on up to the director.

While Article 16 clinics are meant to give people with disabilities access to the same quality, measures, and categories of care enjoyed by the mainstream, there is a “big” difference between the missions of standard and Article 16 care, notes Hamaspik of Kings County Executive Director Joel Freund, who is also Executive Director of the New York State Hamaspik Association (NYSHA).

The non-profit organization serves as an in-house resource center of sorts for its Hamaspik member agencies, the Hamaspiks of Rockland County, Orange County and Kings County. Among its resources is the NYSHA Clinic, which serves people in all three counties.

“Regular clinics provide therapy for a short time to help someone recover from an issue—for example, physical therapy for six months if you broke your arm,” Mr. Freund explains.

By contrast, “Article 16s help you maintain your health on an ongoing basis”—providing, for example, physical therapy to a person who has cerebral palsy so that he can continue using his hands.

In a nutshell, adds NYSHA Clinic Director Joel Brecher, while other clinics “do recovery only,” an Article 16 provides maintenance and preventive care.

Since NYSHA opened the Clinic in 2011, hundreds of people with disabilities from throughout the communities that Hamaspik serves—many of them repeat “customers”—have received superlative care through its doors.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology and much more have been effective provided by the NYSHA Clinic, all under the expert supervision and oversight of Medical Director Abraham Berger, M.D., a veteran Manhattan physician with an expertise in emergency medicine.

The Article 16 Clinic, offered by NYSHA to its member bodies as the Hamaspik support organization that it is, currently operates its central facility in Williamsburg—as well as a dozen-plus satellite locations across Brooklyn and the upstate Hudson Valley region.

Further reflecting its critical, cross-community appeal and necessity is the fact that several of the NYSHA Clinic’s state-approved sites are located on the premises of other worthy agencies, both in Rockland and Kings Counties.

As Mr. Brecher sees it, the usage at all locations indicates the presence of a robust and growing community need.  It was most auspicious, then, that the Clinic passed its most recent annual unannounced audit “with flying colors,” he reports.

That August 10 survey, as it’s called in industry parlance, saw Treatment Coordinator Ms. Werzberger spend several hours assisting the visiting OPWDD official in reviewing several key records collections, including documentation of services provided as part of each individual’s customized treatment plan.

Having recently been reapproved to provide thousands of hours of services over the coming 12 months to partially meet an ever-growing community need, the NYSHA Article 16 Clinic is well poised and positioned to meet that need—and to bring its critical care supports to the community in addition to community members bringing themselves to it.