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Senate Majority Leader Schumer visits Albany with funding announcement to boost healthcare sector

Senate Majority Leader Schumer at the Center for Disability Services in uptown Albany, January 5, 2023.
Dave Lucas
Senate Majority Leader Schumer at the Center for Disability Services in uptown Albany, January 5, 2023.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made a major funding announcement for Albany.

Schumer spoke at the Center for Disability Services in uptown Albany Thursday, revealing federal funding he says will boost the region's growing healthcare sector and jumpstart new community projects.

"Well I'm excited to announce that in just the Omnibus Spending Bill, the Omnibus Budget Bill that we just passed, in the Omnibus Budget Bill we just passed on December 23, we had $22 million in direct federal investment in the Capital Region to go to the kinds of projects that this community needs," said Schumer. "Now, let me just say this, these used to be called earmarks. And there was a lot of, they did a lot of bad things, some of those earmarks, but we reformed it. So it's all public, no one can sneak anything in. It only goes to nonprofits and governments, and every one of them is vetted."

Schumer says the Center for Disability Services will receive $2 million dollars to solidify its partnership with Albany Medical Center.

“…to create a first in its kind, we believe nationally, all-inclusive regional health center, where people from the Capital Region with disabilities can receive medical care under one roof," Schumer said. "This is just what the doctor ordered. And it's truly a transformative project. So let me explain it. What it will do is allow the Center for Disability Services, and Albany Med and other facilities throughout the Capital Region to fully integrate their health systems, which means that people with disabilities will not have to go to one hospital after another, to the ER over and over again, or to multiple appointments, they can just come here where they know it's safe, comfortable and accessible."

Albany Med President and CEO Dr. Dennis McKenna says the new initiative will save money and enhance patient care.

“When individuals with disabilities come in to the emergency department, they have complex medical histories, they're often nonverbal, and it's difficult and challenging to provide the care that they need," said McKenna. "This money will allow that passing of information in a medical record in a seamless, bi-directional and very quick way, that will make sure that we can provide better care for those individuals. a lab on site here will ensure that individuals don't have to travel to an off-site location to get the blood drawn, it can be drawn here. And then it can be it can be run at Albany Med. And then obviously the neurology services that we provide, the specialty services is something that we're very proud to do. And we want to be able to do more of that in the future.”

Schumer also announced $777,000 in funding for Maria College to purchase new technology and equipment to supplement its nursing education program and $496,000 for Siena College to expand its nursing program.

“Maria and Siena colleges are training the Capital Region's next generation of nurses," Schumer said. "And they report that all their graduates, just about all of their graduating nursing students find immediate employment at our local hospitals. So they're not going far away. They're staying here, and providing good health care.”

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.