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Agency Background Information
City Health and Hospitals (H&H) is the largest public hospital
system in the United States. It is the safety net health system for over
one million New Yorkers (annually) and is home to the most diverse
community in the country. H+H’s mission statement is to treat all people
regardless of ability to pay, in a caring, culturally-sensitive, safe
Role of Volunteers at H+H
steep budget cuts in the funding sources caused by provisions in the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, safety-net hospitals
like H+H are in dire positions with regards to maintaining facilities,
acquiring state-of-the-art equipment, and retaining a competent capable
workforce. Volunteers have filled many gaps the current paid workforce
has not been able to undertake.
enlists the services of more than 500 unpaid volunteers throughout the
health system. These volunteers go through a rigorous background check
(the same as paid employees) and are provided training at each facility
they work on a broad range of topics that include patient privacy,
infection prevention, building safety, and a host of other practices
that help them throughout their day at the hospital. These volunteers
are crucial to daily operations in that they provide services that paid
staff do not or cannot perform (Pynes, 2013, p. 378) because they have
been inundated with additional tasks that used to be performed by
our volunteers are people that live in the neighborhoods where the
hospitals are located and have an intrinsic motivation to help out their
fellow community members in the facility. Additionally, many are older
and are in need of keeping active and being challenged (Pynes, 2013, p.
381) and do so by helping out their fellow community-goers. Other
volunteers include students as part of a class project/participation
adventure where they are called upon to do community service as part of
their academic curriculum. H+H also has a small population of volunteers
that are looking into work at a hospital as a way to judge if they
would like to pursue a paid career in the fields they’ve identified.
H+H has had a visible footprint in many of the poorest neighborhoods in
the City for so long, there has never been a shortage of volunteers at
the hospitals. The barriers to becoming a volunteer lie more with the
individual (background checks) than with hospital in the system.
often, a number of H+H volunteers are rewarded for their work over many
years in a City-wide recognition event for volunteers for all agencies.
This event is funded by the City, promoted by the Mayor’s office, and
assembles worthy recipients each year where they receive an award,
luncheon, and formal recognition in front of their peers. The local
media carry the stories and provide community exposure of the work these
volunteers do throughout the City.
volunteers typically perform tasks that otherwise would not get done or
already overextended employees would have to add to their tasks” (Pynes,
2013, p. 402). At H+H, volunteers play a huge role in providing
excellent patient experiences which we hope transcends directly to the
bottom line. Reimbursement rates are tied to patient satisfaction and
having volunteers fill in gaps paid staff cannot attend to, helps the
overall patient experience at the hospital and provides rewarding work
for people set on helping their fellow community residents.
Pynes, J. E. (2013). Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations – A Strategic Approach (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.