Schumer Delivers Final Piece Of Puzzle To Expand Critical Healthcare Services In Capital Region For A New State-Of-The-Art Regional Health System For The Disabled – Partnering The Center for Disability Services And Albany Medical Center

Schumer: Major New Fed Funding Is The Shot In The Arm Needed To Boost The Healthcare Sector And Future Of The Capital Region

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed that he has secured nearly $22 million in federal funding for long desired community projects in the just passed end-of-year spending package for Fiscal Year 2023, including $2 million for the Center for Disability Services (CFDS) to create a first-of-its-kind integrated health system to serve thousands of people with disabilities in the Capital Region by integrating with Albany Medical Center. The senator explained that this allows individuals with disabilities, who often have more complex medical needs, have health services available in single accessible location – in what CFDS hopes can be a model for inclusive medical services. This funding is in addition to dozens of other needed community projects, including major boosts to local nursing programs at Siena and Maria Colleges.


“This is the shot in the arm the Capital Region has long needed to boost healthcare services to some of our most underserved residents and move forward dozens of long desired community projects. I am proud to deliver the final piece of the puzzle so that two venerable Capital Region institutions, the Center for Disability Services and Albany Medical Center can partner on the Regional Health Center and create the first-of-its-kind accessible health system for people with disabilities the Capital Region has long needed,” said Senator Schumer. “The over $21 million that I have secured in the bipartisan spending package for projects in Albany and beyond means good paying jobs, better infrastructure, and progress on these long-overdue investments in the future of the Capital Region.”


Greg Sorrentino, President & CEO of Center for Disability Services said, “With Senator Schumer’s leadership in securing these grant funds for the Center for Disability Services, we have an opportunity, with our community partners, to build a true health system for individuals with disabilities.  These grant dollars allow for a much needed integrated health record, which will lead to a better, more compassionate, and a more accessible health care approach for individuals with disabilities.  Integrated care, in accessible facilities, with experienced providers, enhances the lives of individuals with disabilities, and helps the Center for Disability Services continue to be the place where people get better at life.  Thank you Senator Schumer for your leadership and commitment to this most vulnerable and deserving population.”

Schumer explained that with the funding he secured, the Center for Disability Services’ Regional Health Center will fully integrate health care with the Albany Medical Center and affiliated hospitals through an electronic health record. This means individuals with disabilities won’t need to go to an urgent care or ER to get basic services, which often can have accessibility barriers, and instead that CFDS can offer the majority of services needed for thousands of their clientele. CFDS estimates that because records will be readily available and services provided under one roof the provider could save upwards of $4,000 a visit by not having to run unnecessary tests. Schumer said this historic partnership between two pillars in the Capital Region, Albany Med and CFDS, can help serve as a nationwide model for improved care for our most vulnerable populations.

In addition to expanding services at CFDS, Schumer also said that funding included key upgrades to equipment for local nursing programs at both Siena and Maria Colleges. Specifically, thanks to Schumer’s advocacy, Maria College will receive $770,088 to support its nursing program and modernize its technology and equipment in order to supplement a new artificial intelligence classroom initiative. This funding will allow the College to develop virtual reality simulation labs that will provide immersive experiences for students in a three-dimensional environment, permitting students and instructors to simulate situations and remedies traditional labs cannot.  This will not only help expand the program, but ensure nurses are afforded additional opportunities to practice essential skills are able to get the modern medical training they need to enter the local workforce. Similarly, Siena College will receive $496,000 to procure new equipment to significantly upgrade its growing nursing program. New clinical instruction equipment is necessary to accommodate an increased number of nursing students at Siena, most of which stay in the Capital Region after graduation and gain employment through local health care providers. Schumer said that collectively these healthcare projects will help address the current nursing shortage by training the next generation of nurses to work here in the Capital Region.  Both Siena and Maria Colleges report that nearly all of their nursing graduates find immediate employment in local hospitals and health care provider offices.

Maria College President Lynn Ortale said, “The Maria College ‘Reimagining Nursing: Virtual Reality Simulation Hub' would not have occurred without the recommendation from Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as the unwavering support of Congressman Paul Tonko. These leaders are committed to doing the hard work to ensure our community is cared for. Maria College is taking the charge of alleviating the nursing shortage and as the largest producer of nurses in the area, we know that this project will mean more-qualified nurses in the workforce, allowing families and children to receive the quality health care they deserve.” 


Siena College President Chris Gibson said, "Siena College is extraordinarily grateful to Senator Schumer, Congressman Tonko and our entire New York Congressional contingent for their partnership in placing among their funding priorities the crucial need to educate more nurses at the bachelor's degree level. Siena's expanding Baldwin Nursing Program and its students will certainly benefit from the new state-of-the-art teaching equipment that we can now add to enhance our curriculum, but more importantly, New Yorkers will be the ultimate beneficiaries by having an increased number of highly-skilled, compassionate nurses available to provide quality, affordable health care."

In addition to the above projects, Schumer also highlighted the below community-led initiatives that he also, in partnership with Senator Gillibrand, secured funding for:


·       $1.35 million to the University at Albany to expand its Vertical Sensing Evaluation Initiative, which helps predict and monitor climate change and extreme weather by studying the planetary boundary layer.

·       $520,000 to the University at Albany to enhance its ion beam irradiation and implantation services to researchers in academia, industry, and government agencies.

·       $1.5 million to the City of Albany to undertake a number of renovations to restore its historic City Hall building exterior.

·       $4.4 million to the Village of Greenwich to reconstruct and expand its wastewater treatment plant.

·       $2 million to Hudson Valley Community College to acquire updated technology, state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, and classroom furniture to supplement its expansion of health science, STEM, and skilled trades programs.

·       $5 million to Capital Region Aquatic Center to develop and construct a first-of-its-kind regional complex which is aims to host and accommodate large-scale swimming and community events, including law enforcement training and all-ages swimming instruction.

·       $400,000 to the City of Albany to make Hoffman Park Community Center more accessible,; including the installation of ramps and construction of handicap accessible restrooms.

·       $2.3 million to RISE Housing and Support Services to develop and construct a second story addition to its existing main office building, as well as the reconfiguration of the office’s first floor.

·       $55,000 to the Town of Brunswick to rehabilitate the aging Van Derheyden Reservoir Dam.

·       $1 million to Silver Bay YMCA to make capital improvements to its wellness center and gymnasium.



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