(MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ) -- Middlesex County has launched the Latino Telehealth Pilot Program to focus on increasing the utilization of telehealth services within the Latino community and expand healthcare access to uninsured and underinsured communities. In addition to healthcare benefits, the telehealth hubs will offer free internet, tech assistance, and bilingual staff and translators at physical locations, or hubs, to maximize assistance. The launch took place today at the pilot program’s first hub location, the Raritan Bay Area YMCA.
Sharing the significance of this community-based healthcare initiative for the County, speakers at the press conference included Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly Craig Coughlin; New Jersey Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez; Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald G. Rios; County Commissioner Claribel Azcona-Barber; Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin J. Caba; Steve Jobin, President & CEO of the Raritan Bay Area YMCA; Dr. Daniel W. Varga, Chief Physician Executive, Hackensack Meridian Health; Dr. Andy Anderson, President, RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group; Dr. Jordan Tannenbaum, Vice President/Chief Information Officer and Chief Medical Information Officer St. Peter’s Healthcare System.
“Through the collaboration of local health care providers, community-based agencies, and the county itself; the Latino Telehealth Pilot Program will provide easy, convenient, and efficient healthcare resources to Latino residents and communities of color,” said Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald G. Rios. “By increasing awareness of Telehealth options and providing support to our Latino community and communities of color, we are expanding access to the care those residents need both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. For our Spanish-speaking residents, we are bringing healthcare to you, for you, in your language.”
“As we witnessed over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic effected Latinos and communities of color at a much higher rate than others,” said County Commissioner Claribel Azcona-Barber. “The Latino Telehealth Pilot Program is an innovative approach to create opportunities for preventative and specialized healthcare services and connections for our residents. It is safe, secure, affordable, and most importantly, vital to our overall well-being and longevity.”
"As we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect on the many lessons we have learned, one of the most important realizations has been the value of telehealth in the future of healthcare," said Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez. "The Middlesex County Latino Telehealth Pilot Program specifically leverages the promise of telehealth in addressing the needs of a vulnerable community by connecting them with safe, convenient and accessible healthcare services. I look forward to the achievements of this program and improving the overall health of the community."
“Telehealth has transformed how we provide healthcare and will prove meaningful in our approach to securing better health outcomes for our most vulnerable populations in New Jersey,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “When we come to the table to talk with our communities, we not only listen but we act, and the pilot program launched today is evidence of our commitment to asserting healthcare as a right, not a privilege.”
“On behalf of all the residents in Perth Amboy, I would like to thank Middlesex County for bringing this initiative to our community,” said Mayor Helmin J. Caba, City of Perth Amboy. “With the launch of this Telehealth Pilot Program, we are on the right path to addressing issues we have been concerned with for many years, including lack of access to healthcare, vulnerable populations, and health disparities.”
“Making healthcare accessible to everyone is an incredibly complex issue that cannot be addressed without key stakeholders such as community centers,” said Steve Jobin, President & CEO of the Raritan Bay Area YMCA. “The Raritan Bay Area YMCA is proud to be part of such an amazing healthcare initiative as our location will make accessing healthcare more convenient for not just residents in Perth Amboy, but the whole County. Access to healthcare benefits everyone, and telehealth is a step toward preventative care and a healthier community.”
Additionally, Middlesex County will eventually expand this pilot program to Carteret and New Brunswick to assist those in need, especially the underserved residents of Middlesex County.
For more information about the Latino Telehealth Pilot Program, please visit: middlesexcountynj.gov/telehealth.