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Healthfirst celebrates grand opening of new community office in Jamaica

May. 2, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Healthfirst, one of New York’s largest not-for-profit health insurance companies, celebrated the opening of its new office in Jamaica on April 28 with community leaders, performances, and a photo exhibit by Nat Valentine of the Cultural Collaborative Jamaica. 

Located at 161-21 Jamaica Ave., in the heart of a bustling Queens shopping district, the 4,200 square foot office is designed to support the needs of Healthfirst members and the community at large in a variety of ways—hosting health education seminars, exercise classes, and events in partnership with local community-based organizations, to name a few.

(Photo courtesy of Healthfirst)

“Healthfirst understands our members’ needs because we are from their neighborhoods, we speak their languages, and we embrace their diversity,” said Miguel Centeno, Healthfirst’s vice president of Community Engagement. “With this new community office strategically located in the multicultural mecca that is Queens—where we serve more than 350,000 members—Healthfirst looks forward to strengthening our presence as a community resource.” 

Healthfirst team members speak multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Hindi, Twi, and French Creole, and are ready to assist with benefit enrollments, renewals, Medicaid recertifications, and other customer service needs, according to Centeno. 

Local community leaders who attended the event included Deputy Queens Borough President Ebony Young, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick. 

Deputy Borough President Ebony Young speaks at the Healthfirst Jamaica office grand opening ceremony on April 28. (Photo courtesy of Healthfirst)

The ribbon-cutting ceremony included performances by the Blue Angels Drumline, Edge School of the Arts, Bangladesh Institute of Performing Arts, Abakua Afro-Latin Dance Company, Sister Aviola Joseph from the Jamaica Seventh-day Adventist Church, and a photo exhibit. 

(Photo courtesy of Healthfirst)

“We are thrilled that Healthfirst has chosen Jamaica as the home for their new community office,” said Tyra Emerson, executive director of the Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, who spoke at the grand opening ceremony. “We look forward to working together to improve healthcare access and outcomes for the southeast Queens community.”  

Bruce Flanz, president and CEO of MediSys Health Network and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, welcomed Healthfirst to the neighborhood, saying “The opening of the location in Jamaica will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our community.” 

MediSys is one of Healthfirst’s sponsor hospitals and part of the consortium of hospitals that founded the company 30 years ago.

The Jamaica location is open to the public Monday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  

 

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