Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a video press conference to announce over $130 million in federal funding she secured to help assist and revitalize New York’s overburdened health care system. The spread of the COVID-19 XBB.1.5 sub-variant has fueled new challenges as public health workers continue building back from the pandemic and a difficult flu and RSV season. Gillibrand’s funding includes vital resources to support medical staff, maternal mental health programs, pandemic preparedness, research for Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and more.
“New York is currently facing a significant health care worker shortage and strain on our public health infrastructure that is burdening workers and patients alike. The $130 million I fought for will play a fundamental role in easing this burden and building the capacity of our health care workforce across the state,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This significant funding also invests in key medical priorities, like research for Lyme and tick-borne diseases and the addressing the rising rate of maternal deaths in the United States. These programs will help ensure all New York patients receive the care they deserve and will promote positive health outcomes for populations in medically underserved communities. New York’s health care system and our health care providers have been under historic levels of stress and these federal dollars will help get us back on track and build a more resilient future.”
- $42.3 million appropriated for maternal health: This funding will support maternal health care services and address the maternal mortality and postpartum depression (PPD) crises facing the nation. It also funds a Maternal Mental Health Hotline to provide a 24-hour emergency contact for struggling mothers and families in need of immediate support. In addition, $34 million was authorized for the Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act, which expands grants for states to create programs to address maternal mental health and substance use disorders.
- $50 million authorized for bolstering the community health care workforce: This funding will support public health jobs and infrastructure in New York and across the country. This funding builds on Senator Gillibrand’s Health Force legislation to recruit, train and employ hundreds of thousands of Americans to build public health capacity in underserved communities.
- $9.2 million for Academic Centers for Public Health Preparedness: This funding will support academic institutions with Centers for Public Health Preparedness. Academic medical centers have been at the forefront of our nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and have historically been used to establish infrastructure for advancing life-saving medical discoveries. This forward-thinking federal investment will provide direct support and fortify our nation’s emergency response preparedness by supporting cutting-edge research, education, patient care, and community outreach.
- $47 million for Area Health Education Centers (AHEC): This funding will help support AHECs across the country, including the 9 across New York State. More than 6 million New Yorkers live in primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs); this figure exceeds the primary care HPSA populations of 46 other states. Local New York AHECs help address workforce shortages by introducing high school students to careers in health care and working with local nursing, medical, and physician assistant schools to provide students an opportunity to understand the social and cultural factors that influence an individual’s overall health and access to quality care. New York AHEC locations include:
- Bronx Westchester AHEC in the Bronx
- Brooklyn-Queens-Long Island AHEC in Brooklyn
- Manhattan-Staten Island AHEC in New York City
- Central New York AHEC in Cortland
- Catskill Hudson AHEC in Highland
- Hudson Mohawk AHEC in Latham
- Northern AHEC in Canton
- Western New York Rural AHEC in Warsaw
- Erie Niagara AHEC in Buffalo
- $33 million for Lyme and tick-borne diseases: This funding will support research, surveillance, and prevention for Lyme and tick-borne diseases. New York State has seen over 90,000 reported cases of Lyme in the last two decades, and incidence of Lyme nationally has nearly doubled since the early 1990s. Despite the high number of vector-borne diseases in New York and across the country, the federal investment in research and prevention for these diseases has remained low, with just a few hundred dollars spent per case of Lyme disease.