Health & Human Services

NYTHA provides financial assistance for health benefits and human services to backstretch workers through B.E.S.T. (Backstretch Employee Service Team). B.E.S.T. offers the following services to backstretch workers:

On-Site Primary Care Clinics

A year-round clinic at Belmont and six-month seasonal clinic at Saratoga provide comprehensive primary, preventive and urgent health care ? free of charge ? to all backstretch workers. Bilingual doctors and staff also coordinate auxiliary services, including cancer screenings, mammograms and immunizations. Health education presentations, on such subjects as nutrition and hygiene, are also part of clinical services.

B.E.S.T. supplements part-time clinic hours by providing 24/7 telephone access to doctors and medical consultants.

Health Benefits

Backstretch workers who have worked on NYRA racetracks for a period of four consecutive weeks are eligible to enroll in the B.E.S.T. health benefits plan. Participation in the plan is free. Medical services are provided through local networks of service suppliers for a very low co-pay. The bilingual staff in B.E.S.T.'s health benefits office handles enrollments, responds to inquiries regarding the coverage provided and holds monthly information sessions in the backstretch. Staff can answer questions also about workers compensation and disability claims (including pregnancies).

Counseling Services

Originally established to respond to alcohol and substance abuse, B.E.S.T. now provides comprehensive therapeutic counseling and crisis intervention for individuals and groups. Sessions are facilitated by licensed bilingual counselors, including a part-time psychiatrist. They address anger management, domestic violence, family and mental health issues, in addition to alcohol, drug and other addictions. Included within B.E.S.T.'s resources is a supervised substance-free and peer-supportive dormitory.

Counselors can be reached outside of office hours at a 24/7 telephone hotline.

Other Services

Bilingual Community Health Outreach Workers on B.E.S.T.'s staff ensure comprehensive case management for each backstretch workers. They go to the barns and clinics to enroll workers in B.E.S.T.'s benefits plan, explain their coverage, make their offsite medical appointments and link them to other community resources. Staff provides transportation to medical appointments and entitlement program agencies, such as Social Security, where they help workers with translations and paperwork.

In addition, B.E.S.T.'s professional bilingual staff helps arrange assistance, advice and training on financial, vocational, educational and legal matters (including entitlement programs and immigration issues).

To access the B.E.S.T. web site, please click on the following link:

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