In January, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center launched the Lincoln Art Exchange, an innovative program that allows artists of all disciplines the opportunity to exchange their creative services for medical care.
Artists may pay through an art exchange barter system in lieu of out-of-pocket payment. For every hour of musical performances, painting a mural or any other creative activity or service, the artist earns 40 “health credits” (the equivalent of $40) toward medical care. Eligible artists — ranging from actors, musicians, dancers, poets, writers and anyone making a living through a creative means — can access an array of affordable, comprehensive services, that include doctor visits, laboratory tests, hospitalizations, emergency care, medical and surgical procedures, dental care, prescriptions, ambulatory surgery and other services provided by the hospital.
“Participants tell us when they’re available to come and they receive credits for the amount of time they spend with patients,” said Carl Kirton, RN, DNP, ANP-BC, ACRN, CNE and associate executive director for nursing and patient care services at Lincoln. “They determine their talent and the nurses on the unit identify those patients who would be most amenable to it,” he said.
Eligibility will be based on the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Options program, a New York City HHC’s financial services program that offers a sliding fee scale to low-income or uninsured New Yorkers, with fees starting as low as $15 for a doctor’s visit.Carl Kirton, RN, and Iris Jimenez-Hernandez, HHC senior vice president and Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center executive director, attended a news conference announcing the Lincoln Art Exchange program.
Once enrolled in the program, artists will participate in activities throughout the hospital, such as reading to patients, performing at hospital special events, painting murals in clinics and inpatient units, art gallery presentations and other events that will enhance the hospital environment.
Hip-hop celebrity and WLIB radio personality Roxanne Shante made reference to the significance of preventive healthcare. “It’s not the money you’ve saved after your career that makes you wealthy. It’s being able to make money after your career because you’re healthy,” she said. “The artistic community is a vital part of our population and it deserves to get the highest quality of medical care. The Lincoln Art Exchange program can be the path to help artists take charge of their own health.”
An art for healthcare program, called Artist Access, was first initiated at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn in 2005. Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center is the second HHC facility to implement the program and the only one in Bronx County.
“The program was very successful at Woodhull and we wanted to bring that here,” Kirton said. “Iris Jimenez-Hernandez [HHC senior vice president and Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center executive director] was instrumental in starting the program here.”
Other cultural organizations who have partnered with the hospital for recruitment of artists are The Bronx Museum, Teatro Pregones and Comunilife.
Artists who want to join or need information can call the dedicated Art Exchange Program at 855-546-2787 and speak with Colette M. Barrow, program coordinator or visit www.nyc.gov/html/hhc/lincoln/html/LAX/artexchange.shtml.