State Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith today announced that several communities represented by members of the Senate Democratic Conference will benefit from a package of $13.2 million in grants from the state Department of Health to sustain school-based health-care clinics and help bridge the gap in providing children with access to routine health care.
"We now know that these school-based clinics often serve as the frontline of defense in medically underserved communities," said Smith (D-Queens), who praised Gov. Eliot Spitzer for his commitment to the school-based clinics. "The clinics have proven to be effective mechanisms for primary and preventive care."
Governor Spitzer was scheduled to make the announcement today as part of New York State's School-Based Health Center Program. The $13.2 million in total grants represents a 23 percent increase in funding, according to State Department of Health officials.
"School-based health clinics are a great way to provide children with the essential health-care services they need," Governor Spitzer said in a statement. "Children can get their checkups and treatments right in the school without missing classes and without parents needing time off from work. This is very important for children who need treatments or routine tests for their asthma, diabetes and other chronic conditions."
Smith said that 22 of the clinics receiving funding were based in Senate Democratic districts, including New York City, Long Island, Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse.
State Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), Ranking Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, said: "We've always known that schools play an important role in outreach efforts to improve quality of life, safety and the general health of our communities. I applaud Governor Spitzer for recognizing the outstanding work being done by school-based health care centers in providing localized access to medical services for children."
"Healthy schools and healthy communities need healthy children," said State Senator Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx), Ranking Democrat on the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee. "The high incidence of medical conditions like asthma and childhood obesity requires direct attention and concentrated resolve so that today's illnesses don't spiral out of control, leading to future suffering. With added funding for school-based medical centers, we can bring further resources forward in our campaign to improve children's health."
Established in 1981, school-based health centers offer primary, preventive and mental health care to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The on-site clinics provide students with qualified physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants under the auspices of a community health-care provider or nearby hospital. All students in the school are eligible for care.
New York state has the largest program of its kind in the nation, according to state Department of Health officials. Students and their parents pay no out-of-pocket expenses for clinic visits.
New York State Health Department Commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines said that about 190,000 children use school-based health clinics each year.
"We have 197 participating schools, with comprehensive programs," Daines said in a statement. "New York's program is based on legislation, with state funds to support the clinics and monitoring by the state Health Department. The program has widespread support, and deservedly so. New York is lucky to have these partnerships between health-care providers and their local schools."
In addition to the school-based grants, state health officials announced that funds from the Health Care Reform Act and other state funds would increase the Governor's Executive Budget funding by $3.4 million over the previous year, totaling $25,420,000 during the fiscal year.
The grants were awarded based on a variety of factors, including need and the number of schoolchildren eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.
Those institutions receiving grants include:
Whitney M. Young Community Health Center: $64,098; Sen. Neil Breslin (D-Albany)
Central New York
Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc.: $299,606; Sen. David Valesky (D-Syracuse)
Western New York
Kaleida Health: $625,463; Sen. Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo/Niagara)
Sisters of Charity Hospital: $160,066; Sen. Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo/Niagara)
New York City
Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center: $440,411; Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn)
Bellevue Hospital Center (NYC HHC): $149,874; Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan)
Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center: $212,229; Sen. Efrain Gonzalez (D-Bronx)
Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center: $98,117; Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn)
Children's Aid Society: $228,333; Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan)
East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc.: $310,959; Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan)
Hunts Point Multi-Service Center: $116,232; Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx)
Institute for Urban Family Health: $110,467; Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan)
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center: $436,743
Long Island College Hospital: $427,658; Sen. Martin Connor (D-Manhattan)
Long Island Jewish/North Shore Health System: $525,825; Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Nassau County)
Lutheran Medical Center: $1,295,830; Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn)
Montefiore Medical Center: $928,200; Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester)
Morris Heights Health Center: $351,109; Sen. Jose Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx)
Mount Sinai Hospital: $656,492; Sen. Jose Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx)
New York Presbyterian Hospital: $448,746; Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan)
Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center: $109,475; Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester)
Renaissance Health Care (NYC HHC): $605,924; Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan)
Research Foundation of SUNY: $284,355; Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn)
St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center: $552,073; Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan)
William F. Ryan Community Health Center: $250,879; Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan)
Woodhull Medical & Mental Health Center: $204,805; Sen. Martin Malave Dilan (D-Brooklyn)
Non-NYC Metropolitan Area
Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center: $84,449; Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester)
Open Door Family Medical Center: $98,796; Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck)
St. Joseph's Medical Center: $318,047; Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers)
Valentine Lane Family Practice: $99,118; Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers)
Winthrop University Hospital: $174,437; Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Nassau County)