Marcelle Dinnall, a healthcare advocate for the organization, said the group is effectively the lobbying arm for both the union and the hospital association.
“They have certain limitations,” she said. “But we’re an independent not-for-profit, we’re an advocacy group.”
HEP’s primary mission, Dinnall said, is to make sure health care is accessible and affordable throughout the state of New York.
Though its main office is in Manhattan, the group has offices in Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and Nassau and Suffolk counties, in addition to the ones in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Despite representing the interests of two distinct institutions, labor and management, Dinnall said they’re advocating for the same outcome.
“There is a common goal because we’re all interested in having quality health care delivered within our systems,” she said.
HEP advocates for state policies, but they’re also paying attention to federal policies like the Affordable Care Act, implemented by former President Barack Obama.
“We’re also keeping our eyes open and we’ve been working to protect that,” Dinnall said.
HEP often holds forums encouraging community members, particularly uninsured families, to go to the New York State of Health marketplace to apply for health insurance.
Their education and outreach efforts have included door-knocking, health fairs and projects in schools.
“Anywhere we can have a seat at the table, we are there,” Dinnall said.
They also provide education on health detriments in specific areas. Dinnall, who covers southeast Queens, said that a large percentage of residents in the area suffer from diabetes.
“I live out here, so I’m no stranger to being involved, whether it’s the educational or health care system,” she said.