NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care delivery system in the country. It serves more than a million New Yorkers annually, including Medicaid and uninsured patients. Recently, our team had the opportunity to connect with Samantha Kumar, Senior Director, Social Determinants and Monique Fraser, Program Manager, Tax and Income Support, to learn more about how they have helped patients claim the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) and other money through tax filing. To learn more, please read below and check out our recent CTC webinar, which features Monique Fraser speaking in more detail about their extensive outreach efforts. We hope this example of effective tax credit outreach can provide outreach ideas and inspiration not only to other health care providers, but to community partners more generally.
With the expansion of the 2021 CTC, NYC Health + Hospitals staff recognized how much money was on the table for families with no or low income, and the critical connection between economic security and patient health and well-being. Indeed, they had previously carried out other efforts to connect families to different forms of financial assistance. During this past tax filing season, NYC Health + Hospitals employed diverse approaches to communicate with families about tax credits and the NYC Free Tax Prep program, run by the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. The system shared information with patients through after visit summaries and the patient portal. Pediatric patients had approximately 95,000 outpatient visits during the tax season that generated the below message through Pediatric After Visit Summaries:
Pediatric After Visit Summary Tax Credit Message (photo courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals)
In addition to including messages in after visit summaries, NYC Health + Hospitals included a passive notification in their patient portal, MyChart, which you can see below. In total, 84,000 unique patients clicked the link in the notification, which directed them to free tax filing assistance.
MyChart Notification (photo courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals)
NYC Health + Hospitals used a variety of other strategies for letting families know about tax credits and how to claim them. These included communicating directly with families, for example through posters in health care facilities and flyers in aftercare packages sent to Covid patients, and providing training and information to staff who work with families. In collaboration with community-based organizations, NYC Health + Hospitals was able to determine that 1,320 filers were served, who received an incredible $2,035,626 in refunds, including tax credits. The system’s outreach may very well have encouraged additional individuals to file on their own or through tax filing services beyond the NYC Free Tax Prep program.
While the NYC Health + Hospitals team was able to provide tens of thousands of patients with information on claiming tax credits, they navigated various challenges. Like many outreach partners, the team encountered high demand for tax preparation services, as well as limited data to help them target those most at risk of missing out on the expanded CTC. Additionally, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the expanded CTC has made it difficult to create a sustainable infrastructure for integrating this outreach into patient programs and communications over the long-term. Despite these challenges, NYC Health + Hospitals succeeded in getting millions of dollars into patients’ pockets. They advise other community partners to be creative in their outreach and use all possible avenues of communication to which they have access.
As we approach the November 15th closing of GetCTC.org, the simplified filing portal through which families can claim the CTC on their own, NYC Health + Hospitals is continuing to share information. Whether you are a health care system or another community partner, we encourage you to join NYC Health + Hospitals in sharing CTC information with families in multiple ways. We have just over two months to direct families to GetCTC.org!
Want to learn more about NYC Health + Hospitals’ tax credit outreach? You can contact Monique Fraser, Program Manager, Tax and Income Support, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For health care systems looking to spread the word about tax credits, the Medical Tax Collaborative can provide additional support: https://www.mystreetcred.org/mtc