In April 2019, the Health Foundation of Western & Central New York (HFWCNY) and the United Hospital Fund, conducted a study of health care coverage for people living in Western and Central New York. The study, which included residents from eight Central New York counties: Cayuga; Cortland; Herkimer; Madison; Oneida; Onondaga; Oswego; and Tompkins counties; found that five percent (5%) of Central New Yorkers have no health insurance of any kind

To learn more about why residents in Central NY are not obtaining health insurance and the obstacles they face to receive adequate care, NY StateWide Senior Action Council partnered with HFWCNY to produce the follow-up report Barriers & Solutions to Accessing Healthcare in Central New York.

About the Focus Groups: 

Participants from ten focus groups held in eight Central NY counties were encouraged to share their own health care stories. These first-person accounts give valuable insight into the problems and issues confronting people using, or attempting to use, health care services in Central New York. Key findings from the focus groups include:

  • Insurance does not equal health care.
  • The costs of medication and services is a major problem.
  • The lack of: medical services; providers; reliable transportation; and the decreasing number of physicians in rural areas leaves people feeling vulnerable, un-cared for, and isolated.
  • The need to improve service access by removing barriers through better communication and sharing information about useful resources.
  • The need for systemic change to the existing medical insurance system through public policy advocacy and education. Change options include: a Single Payer system; Medicare for All; and Universal Health Care.

Developing the Central NY Health Task Force:

To solve the problems identified by each of the eight counties in Central New York in our report, the New York Statewide Senior Action Council, in partnership with the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, has established a Central New York Health Task Force.

This group will be guided by 2 regional coordinators, Stefania Buta (coordinator for Cayuga; Cortland; Oswego; and Tompkins counties) and Melissa Kinney (coordinator for Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga and Madison counties).

The plan is to create eight county task forces each composed of residents from their home county. With help and support from the regional coordinator, each task force will work towards identifying, addressing, and solving one local, county health care problem that was identified earlier by the focus group. Additionally, each county task force will collaborate with their counterparts from neighboring county task forces in identifying, addressing, and resolving one regional health care problem through mutual advocacy and education.

Join our Central NY Health Task Force:

If are interested in joining us or have any questions please contact Stefania at or Melissa at  Also, if there is someone you believe would be a great addition to this task force, please have them contact us as well.

Learn more about what it means to be a Central NY Health Task Force member here.

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