WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced a $84,975 federal grant for The Center for Discovery in Sullivan County. This investment, allocated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program, will be used to expand telemedicine services to adults and children with autism and severe disabilities living in rural areas. In July 2011, Senator Gillibrand toured the center, meeting with program participants and discussing opportunities for the Center to grow.
"I have seen firsthand the great work of The Center for Discovery," said Senator Gillibrand. "They offer individuals with disabilities innovative educational, clinical, residential and social and creative arts experiences designed to enrich their lives through personal accomplishment. With autism affecting more and more American children, The Center for Discovery provides initiatives to help improve the lives of children and families living with autism."
"The Center for Discovery is pleased to serve as the lead agency for this innovative rural health planning grant utilizing telemedicine to provide greater access to health care for people with special needs across a vast area of upstate New York," said Patrick H. Dollard, President and CEO of The Center for Discovery. "We see great potential for this project to not only reduce overall costs but more importantly to increase care coordination and better meet the health care needs of children and adults with significant developmental disabilities and their families."
With the federal investment, The Center for Discovery plans to develop a tele-medical home network program, which will consist of a structured plan to reach individuals with severe disabilities in rural areas. Currently individuals in need of services in rural areas have to make long, costly trips to care centers. The Center for Discovery is addressing the shortage of specialty care, primary care and mental health professionals. They will use the funding to support development of the tele-medical home network program, including a cost analysis and needs assessment as well as education and training to fund research and fill the need for specialty care, primary care, and mental health professionals.
The Center for Discovery is New York’s largest provider of New York State’s Children’s Residential Project (CRP) and provides housing to 171 children with severe disabilities throughout 23 homes. They also provide special education services to 269 school children and residential services for 144 adults with disabilities. In addition to their educational and residential services The Center maintains a full-service health clinic with over 100 service providers. The Center also maintains a full-service New York State Department of Health certified Article 28 Clinic and National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Level III Medical Home.
HHS’ Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program provides one-year grants of up to $85,000 to support the planning and development of a formal heath care network to expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services as well as enhance the delivery of health care in rural areas across the country.