The New York State Senate today approved a resolution containing a record $5 million in new funding for women’s health initiatives that will help save and improve the lives of New Yorkers across the state. The resolution will support a range of community-based investments in cancer prevention and treatment, maternal health initiatives, help for new mothers with substance abuse problems, and other programs to improve mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
The Senate Majority successfully fought to secure this new, record funding in the 2018-19 state budget to bolster the services available to build stronger communities and address serious health issues facing women and their families. The Governor’s Executive Budget had proposed to cut funding for these programs by $475,000, but the Senate succeeded in restoring this funding and providing a record increase to bring the total to $5 million.
Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the Health Committee, said, “I'm pleased the Senate was able to secure this historic investment into women's health initiatives. This resolution expands upon many measures we passed in this year's budget, including increased protections for sexual assault survivors and initiatives to assist women with substance use disorders. Directing this additional funding towards research, prevention, treatment and community supports will help improve the lives of women and their families.”
Senator Sue Serino said, “When we invest in the health of New York's women, the positive ripple effect that results means we invest in the health of our state as a whole. Women are notorious for putting the health of others, especially their families, above all else. Securing this critical funding to help bolster initiatives aimed at raising awareness will play a significant role in helping women here in our community, and beyond, to put their health first. I am especially proud to have successfully secured funding to empower breast cancer patients, women facing cardiac challenges, single mothers, and women working to overcome addiction here in the Hudson Valley.”
Senator Elaine Phillips said, “The Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer and the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition are both invaluable resources in our local communities and it was a pleasure to help secure this important funding for their efforts and initiatives. Roughly 1 in 8 women in our country will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime and here on Long Island, cancer rates are unfortunately higher than average. Early detection is paramount and when found early enough, breast cancer can be highly treatable. This vital funding will assist both organizations with educational outreach, support services to those with breast cancer and related diseases and advocacy of breast cancer research.”
Highlights of the resolution passed today include:
- · $610,000 to help sexual assault survivors by funding the training of 225 additional nurses to become DOH-certified Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) through St. Peter's Hospital Foundation ($270,000), University of Rochester ($135,000), the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault ($135,000) and nurses at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn ($70,000). The funding approved today is on top of $300,000 for a Senate budget initiative that establishes a SAFE telehealth pilot program to ensure providers are able to properly conduct sexual assault examinations at facilities that do not have a designated SAFE program. The budget also included $6.5 million for rape crisis centers, as well as new laws that help secure long-term storage for untested rape kits so more criminals can be caught, and a measure to prevent sexual assault survivors from having to pay any costs for a rape examination or hospital visit.
· $1.8 million for cancer services including the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester ($300,000), Breast Education Screening and Treatment (BEST) ($200,000) which helps reduce mortality in Long Island’s most at-risk communities; advocacy and support for those with breast cancer through the Cancer Resource Center of the Hudson Valley ($25,000), First Company Pink ($75,000), and Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer ($100,000); Allegany County Health Department ($250,000) for cancer services in the Southern Tier; the YWCA of Binghamton and Broome County ($120,000) to ensure the continuation of free cancer screenings; and Miles of Hope ($35,000) which provides outreach and support to patients and families in the Hudson Valley;
· $1.3 million for general wellness and safety including expanding comprehensive care centers for eating disorders ($500,000); the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester ($20,000) to enhance its SMART Girls Program; and Oswego Health, Inc. ($50,000) for cancer, cardiac, and bone density screenings;
· $1.1 million to help new and expectant mothers to ensure safe and healthy births, as well as help the well-being of the mother, including the Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation ($375,000); the Nurse Family Partnership ($190,000); the Postpartum Resource Center of New York ($90,000); and NYU Langone Hospital ($175,000); and
· $250,000 for women’s substance abuse services, including Syracuse Brick House ($90,000) to support the women’s outpatient opioid services clinic; and Horizon Health Services ($45,000) for expectant and new mother programs.
In addition to the $5 million announced today, the Senate was instrumental in supporting $20 million in this year’s budget for the continuation of evidence-based cancer services to help underserved and low-income New Yorkers reduce the incidences of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers.
This year’s budget also included landmark legislation to address sexual harassment in the workplace, which complement the steps already taken by the Senate to protect the health and safety of women and families, including the enactment of the historic Women’s Equality Agenda. That package of laws protected those who are most vulnerable to abuse and discrimination by preventing human trafficking; ensuring equal pay; combating harassment and gender and pregnancy discrimination; and providing stronger protections for domestic violence victims.