A New York hospital has come up with an ingenious way to provide health care to artists.
The Woodhull Hospital in New York introduced a unique scheme allowing artists, who often times don’t have health insurance, to trade their art for health care. Since 2005, dancers, actors, poets and other artists have taken advantage of this program, providing a wide range of services to the hospital in return for their services.
Wallet Pop spoke to Amy Duquette, the Artist Access Program Coordinator at Woodhull hospital.
The artists provide a wide range of imaginative services. One artist, trained in yoga breathing and self-soothing, helps breast-cancer patients remain calm and centered while they are waiting to be seen. Others might read to pediatric patients in that waiting room. An actor might put on role-playing sessions for staff, helping them rehearse how to break bad news to patients and loved ones. An upcoming program will have photographers taking pictures of newly-borns to give to the mother as a thank-you for choosing Woodhull hospital.
For each hour the artists spend helping the hospital, they earn credits to pay for their medical visits. Amy says that the program has been well received by the community, with more than 400 artists participating in it over the past year.
Image at the top is of a permanent mural by Keith Haring at the Woodhull Medical Center.