NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MetroPlus Health Plan announced today a new partnership with the New York City-based Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) NY to provide programs and services enabling the health plan’s most vulnerable members to keep their pets at home. The partnership enables pairing MetroPlus members with New York City’s only nonprofit dedicated exclusively to helping at-risk members of the community and their pets remain together. PAWS NY supports New Yorkers, now including MetroPlus members, who are most at threat of losing their pets due to the physical and financial obstacles they face, with particular focus on low income populations, homebound seniors, and individuals suffering from illness or disability.
Like MetroPlus, PAWS serves people living in all five boroughs of New York City. Its network of more than 2,100 trained volunteers visits clients in their homes to provide services that make it possible for them to continue experiencing the many physical and psychological health benefits of animal companionship – a mission that is closely aligned to the health plan’s focus on addressing the social determinants of health. Last year, its volunteers made nearly 22,000 client visits. The new partnership between MetroPlus and PAWS NY will empower the organization to accept new client referrals, including MetroPlus members, and provide those clients with an array of program services and supports.
“We have learned as a society,” said Talya Schwartz, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at MetroPlus, “that some of the most important factors influencing people’s overall health and wellness are social, such as housing, food security, and isolation. Addressing these issues in our members’ day-to-day lives has become something upon which we place strong emphasis. We know it is not enough to insure our members healthcare; we are also actively working to ensure that we tackle social issues that prevent them from leading their healthiest lives. This partnership with PAWS NY, designed to assist our members who may need help keeping their cherished pets at home, is another example of how at MetroPlus we strive to be more than just a health plan.”
“Research shows that pet ownership results in many positive health benefits, including lower blood pressure, lower risk of cardiovascular events, higher levels of mobility, lower incidence of depression, and feelings of helplessness,” said PAWS NY Founder and Executive Director Rachel Herman. “Our volunteer visits also provide additional companionship and keep seniors connected to their community, which helps to combat loneliness and feelings of isolation. We envision a society that honors the emotional, physical, and social benefits of the human-animal bond, where a lack of ability never threatens to separate humans from their animal companionship. With the support and partnership of Metro Plus, we can improve the health and quality of life of more people across New York City.”
Founded in 2008, the mission of PAWS NY is to help New York City's most vulnerable residents to remain with their pets by delivering critical programs and services through a community of partners and volunteers. Its goal is to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers and pets in need, focusing on helping people in a crisis who are struggling to care for their pets due to health and financial obstacles. PAWS NY provides numerous services to active clients, including assistance with physical pet care such as dog walking or litterbox maintenance, emergency foster care when an individual is hospitalized, financial assistance with veterinary care and pet food, and referrals to other pet care resources.
MetroPlus will begin referring members in need to PAWS NY next month.
MetroPlus Health Plan offers eligible New Yorkers a wide selection of health insurance options, including Medicaid, Medicare, Child Health Plus, MetroPlus Gold for city employees and SHOP for small businesses. The health plan offers access to primary, specialty, pharmacy and other health care services at low or no cost throughout New York City for people of all ages and varied health needs. MetroPlus members enjoy special perks including up to $1,000 in gym reimbursement, a rewards points program to redeem for gifts, and services to address social determinants of health like housing and food insecurity.
Since 1985, MetroPlus Health Plan has built a reputation for providing access to affordable, quality health care to residents of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health system, MetroPlus is the plan of choice for over half a million New Yorkers and has a five-star rating based on the State’s 2018 Consumer’s Guide to Medicaid and Child Health Plus Managed Care Plans in New York City. The health plan’s robust network of primary care doctors and specialists includes many independent community providers. Culturally sensitive, and fluent in more than 40 languages, MetroPlus staff is as diverse as the great city it serves. For more information about MetroPlus plans, benefits, and services, visit www.metroplus.org and join the conversation at facebook.com/metroplushealth and twitter @metroplushealth.
About PAWS NY
The mission of PAWS NY is to help New York City’s most vulnerable residents remain with their pets by delivering critical programs and services through a community of partners and volunteers. Our programs help keep pets in their homes while protecting and promoting the human-animal bond that is so physically and psychologically valuable to our clients. Thus, our motto: helping people by helping pets. At PAWS NY, we envision a society that honors the emotional, physical, and social benefits of the human-animal bond, where a lack of ability never threatens to separate humans from their animal companions, and where the physical, emotional and social benefits of the human-animal bond are incorporated into health care and social services.