What We Do
Primary Healthcare Clinic
The cornerstone of BEST is our primary healthcare clinic. Our two clinics, located at the Belmont and Saratoga racetracks, provide both preventative and responsive healthcare addressing the unique needs of workers whose jobs often require long hours of difficult physical labor and repetitive motion.
It is reported that nearly 70% of backstretch workers experience at least one nonfatal injury or respiratory illness each year. From rehabilitating a shoulder injury sustained while cleaning horse stalls, to managing a diabetic condition with diet and medication, the clinic offers comprehensive services free of charge regardless of insurance coverage.
Key accomplishments in 2018 included:
BEST's Belmont Park primary healthcare facility maintained its FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) status
BEST's grant with the New York State Dept. of Health to assist in the provision of healthcare services was renewed
On-site Counseling and Addiction Recovery
The BEST approach to healthcare is a personal one, considering a person’s physical health in relationship to mental and social factors in order to promote a healthier lifestyle for all backstretch employees. The life of a backstretch worker requires long periods of dislocation from home and family, often leaving them vulnerable to depression and addictive behaviors. BEST provides on-site counseling and individualized treatment services for addiction recovery, helping to forge connection and build community in what can be an otherwise volatile environment. BEST counselors take a holistic approach to treating chemical dependency, utilizing individualized treatment plans that include cognitive behavior, medication-assisted therapies, motivational enhancement, and 12-step therapies.
In addition, BEST provides respite care for the backstretch workers of Belmont and Saratoga via the "Belmont Bistro" and the "BEST Cafe." The Bistro and Cafe are alcohol- and drug-free respites featuring healthy food and drink in addition to free Internet and Skype access, guest speakers, and performances.
"It breaks your heart...the only thing some people know is work with the horses, go back to their room, sit down and drink and then close down the tavern at 4 A.M."
Rudy Rios - Founder, B.E.S.T.
89% of BEST's substance abuse treatment patients maintained or improved their employment status - as compared to the OASAS minimum standard for similar programs of 35%
On the road to hope
In addition to direct healthcare and wellness support, BEST serves as a source of ancillary services and health information to help workers make positive choices for healthier lives.
BEST provides translation and transportation to and from health and social service appointments. BEST also provides certified counselors to help eligible backstretch workers understand and enroll in health insurance programs, in addition to supplementing insurance costs.
BEST also operates a law clinic in its Belmont office and enables workers to receive free tax return preparation.