Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $500,000 in federal funding to the New York State Office of Mental Health. The grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine program.
The funds will be used to purchase telemedicine equipment, such as video conference equipment, tablets, and software, which will be used by clinics, schools, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and correctional facilities to provide and expand mental health services. The program will connect 19 hub and 66 end-user sites throughout New York. The New York State Office of Mental Health will also use the funds to work with Western New York Independent Living, Inc. to provide mental health services to people living within the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Tuscarora Nation of Indians.
“This smart federal investment will enable residents across New York to access the specialized care they need and deserve,” said Senator Schumer. “In particular these federal funds will make getting mental health care treatment easier by enabling patients and providers in all corners of our state to connect virtually, as well as help ensure that our state’s tribal communities have access to the best mental health treatment available. I am proud to announce this federal investment and will continue to fight to make sure that all New Yorker’s have access to care regardless of where they live.”
“Telemedicine allows residents from across New York to virtually access specialized medical services that may not be available to them otherwise,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The health of New Yorkers should not be compromised simply because of where they live. This investment will help the New York State Office of Mental Health reduce one of the largest barriers individuals face in accessing mental health services.”
USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants aim to provide access to education, training, and health care resources for rural Americans. The grants can be used to purchase equipment such as transmission facilities, audio equipment, interactive video equipment, and computer hardware, as well as technical assistance for using eligible equipment. More information can be found here.