The City: Complaints from Harlem of Mount Sinai’s planned clinic

GHC Protest At Mt. Sinai Meeting With Political Leaders, Mentioned In “The City “ – 092719

By Rachel Holliday Smith

On West 124th Street, Mount Sinai Hospital has been planning for more than a year to open a new health facility.

In its current form, the Mt. Sinai outpatient clinic, set for a late-2021 opening, would include primary and specialty care as well as mental health treatment for children, teens and adults.

On the block Mt. Sinai is eyeing, there are multiple methadone clinics, a sliding-scale health center and at least two homeless shelters.

The Greater Harlem Coalition was founded last year to fight the Mount Sinai facility and bring attention to the concentration of social and health services in East and Central Harlem as a problem.

The protesters’ message was clear: the neighborhood is already doing more than its fair share, and they shouldn’t have to shoulder more services.

On a map of the density of mental health programs the group compiled from state and city health data, Harlem is shaded dark gray. Their analysis found Harlem has just 5% of New York City’s population but 15% of its mental health programs.

Data from the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) obtained by the coalition through a Freedom of Information Law request shows that while 6.9% of people in New York City OASAS-certified treatment programs for opioid addiction are Harlem residents, nearly a fifth (19.1%) of opioid treatment programs are located there as well.

Shawn Hill, a co-founder of the Coalition told the crowd, “Every time you feel overburdened, every time you feel that it’s too much — you are absolutely correct. And we have the data to back that up,”

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Facility Requirements and Policy Regarding Client Waiting Areas

Addiction facilities must providing waiting areas indoors to support the clients they serve.

New York State has many rules about substance abuse facilities and the services they provide.  They also have rules about the physical setup of the facilities that address the issue of “hanging out” before treatment.

In this document:

in the section:  § 404.10 Environment, providers are supposed to provide:
(ii) An adequately furnished waiting area shall be available to those waitingfor services and shall be supervised to control access to the facility. There should be sufficient separation and supervision of various treatment groups (e.g.children) to ensure safety


We need volunteers to work on this issue.  If you’d be willing to write/email/call the Commissioner of Health (Howard Zucker, M.D. ) regarding:

Section 2803 of the Public Health Law, the Official Compilation of Title 10 of the Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (“NYCRR”), Part 404

and any program/clinic you know of that doesn’t have a waiting area (but is using the sidewalk as their waiting area), we’d really appreciate it.

A Letter from OASAS in Response to Our Email to Gov. Cuomo

The Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) recently sent us a letter in response to our concerns about the proposed facility for mental health and substance abuse services.

The Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) recently sent us a letter in response to our concerns about the proposed facility for mental health and substance abuse services on West 124th Street, between Lenox Ave and Adam Clayton Powell Ave.

We encourage our supporters to read the letter attached and help us to find ways to decrease the number that are concentrated in Harlem. These concentration of services include substance abuse facilities, homeless shelters and halfway houses, and mental health facilities.

Greater Harlem Coalition supports the need for easy access of all of these services to New Yorkers, but feel it is time to share these services and distribute them evenly across the city and state.

Comparing the Promixity of Addiction Facilities to Schools

A comparison of two locations in Harlem where social services such as addiction treatment, homeless shelters, halfway houses, and mental health clinics with schools nearby.

Concentration of schools near the current West 114 Street Addiction Treatment Facility
Concentration of schools located near to the proposed over saturated addiction treatment facilities on West 124th Street.
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