AFTER FIGHTING TO SECURE MILLIONS FOR CORTLAND TO BUILD NEW STATE OF THE ART MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY, SCHUMER LAUNCHES PUSH TO PROTECT AND DELIVER FUNDING ASAP IN UPCOMING END OF YEAR SPENDING BILL – ENSURING THOUSANDS OF RURAL CNY AND CORTLAND RESIDENTS GET THE MENTAL HEALTHCARE THEY NEED
Cortland County’s Mental Health Department Services Thousands Of Rural Residents Every Year In Vital Mental Health, Therapy, And Behavioral Health Care- But It’s Current Aging Facility Lacks Basic Necessities Like Broadband, Disability Accessibility, And Cannot Meet The Modern Needs Of Its Patients
Schumer Already Helped Secure Millions In Fed $$ To Improve Mental Health Services In Cortland – But Millions In Key Funding Remains In Limbo For Cortland As Congress Debates The End Of Year Spending Bill; Senator Will Detail His Push To Protect These Critical $$ So Cortland County Can Finally Build The Mental Health Facility Rural CNY Needs
Schumer: Feds Need To Deliver Modern Mental Health Facility Cortland And Rural CNY Communities Deserve
Standing in downtown Cortland, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today, after fighting to secure millions for Cortland County to transform a vacant downtown building into a new state of the art mental health facility, launched a major push to protect this critical funding and boost mental healthcare services for rural residents in Central New York.
Schumer said that nearly $5 million in federal funding is slated to jump start this massive expansion, which will nearly double the size of Cortland County’s Mental Health Department, and significantly improve their services. The senator explained he has already helped deliver the first $2 million thanks to the American Rescue Plan, but the remaining $2,995,000 is stuck in limbo and needs to be passed in the end-of-year omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2023. Schumer said he is launching an all-out push to deliver this funding ASAP to deliver the desperately needed modern mental health facility with expanded services that Cortland County and rural Central NY residents deserve.
“Cortland County needs and deserves a modern mental health care facility. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, rural communities were already struggling to meet mental health needs and those needs have only increased,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I fought for historic funding increases to mental health programs in the COVID relief legislation and made sure the local aid places like Cortland County received was flexible so that they could invest in the long term health of their communities. Now, Congress needs to pass the final piece of the puzzle and deliver the last $3 million so that Cortland County can transform this vacant building into the state of the art mental health center Central New York’s rural residents deserve.”
“Deeply honored to be considered for this federal support for Cortland County Mental Health Department capital improvements at our future building location. These funds would offer essential financial assistance and the chance to direct additional investments into the county’s behavioral health system of care. Our behavioral health community will benefit so much from this investment. I’m so thankful to the Senator for caring about Cortland,” said Sharon MacDougall, Director of Community Services, Cortland County Mental Health Department
Specifically, the federal funding will allow Cortland to transform a currently vacant building downtown to become a state of the art one-stop shop for mental healthcare. Currently, Cortland County’s Mental Health Department is housed in a severely outdated building, which lacks both modern necessities like sufficient broadband access for telehealth services, critical disability accommodations, and the physical space to provide residents the amount of programs they need. Cortland County already has over a thousand patients enrolled in its mental health care programs and that number continues to rise- with an estimated 8% increase next year alone. For example, Cortland County’s Clinic program alone experienced a record 30-year high for total sessions in August 2022 at nearly 1,734 total session to 850 patients in a single month.
Once completed, the new facility will nearly double the space for the county’s treatment programs, and make major upgrades like an ADA compliant elevator and high-speed internet access that will significantly boost the quality of their telehealth treatment options. The funding will allow Cortland County’s Mental Health Department to have the space they need to continue offering three NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) licensed outpatient treatment programs: Clinic, Adult Day Treatment, and Children’s Mental Health Rehabilitation Services. The funding will also help Cortland County's Mental Health Department expand their Children’s Mental Health Rehabilitation Services.
Schumer explained that as author of the American Rescue Plan to jumpstart our nation’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, he made sure the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds was flexible to address the long-term health and economic needs of communities. Thanks to Senator Schumer’s efforts, Cortland County received over $9 million, of which $2 million in federal funding is already allocated to help improve their mental health services.
Schumer also fought for nearly $3 million in congressionally directed spending for Fiscal Year 2023; however, Schumer explained that this funding is tied to the must-pass end-of-year omnibus spending bill that Congress is still negotiating. Schumer said he is actively working with his fellow congressional leaders and appropriators to try to pass a full government spending bill this December, and that he will fight to make sure projects like Cortland County’s are included in the final legislation to give Central New York rural residents the healthcare facility they have long needed.