Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 542-2413
For Immediate Release:
Friday, October 19, 2007

Tedisco Stands with Volunteer Doctors of the Schenectady Free Health Clinic
Urges Governor Spitzer to reconsider his decision to eliminate clinic's funding in light of its negative impact on the 2,500 uninsured patients it serves annually

Standing with doctors of the Schenectady Free Health Clinic, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today joined them in publicly calling on Governor Eliot Spitzer to reconsider his decision to eliminate $100,000 in previously approved funding the clinic desperately needs to continue operating.

"I proudly stand with the doctors and nurses who donate their time, effort and energy to the citizens of Schenectady at our free health clinic. In light of the pain his termination of the clinic's $100,000 in funding will cause, we urge the Governor to rethink a decision that has real consequences for real people. Governor, on behalf of the 2,500 uninsured Schenectady families this clinic serves, I'm begging you to reconsider," Tedisco pleaded.

"The top priority of the Schenectady Free Health Clinic is providing care for the uninsured Schenectady families we serve. My sole purpose is not being political, but to get the $100,000 in funding restored. Governor Spitzer, I ask you to please reconsider your decision because of the critical needs of Schenectady's uninsured families who won't have access to medical care without our clinic," said Schenectady Free Health Clinic Executive Director Bill Spolyar, who was joined by Doctors Clifford Tepper, and Robert Pletman who volunteer their services at the clinic.

Founded in late August of 2003, the Schenectady Free Health Clinic serves approximately 2,500 uninsured patients annually. Nearly 75 percent of the patients are from the City of Schenectady and the remaining 25 percent are from the suburbs of Schenectady County.

In 2006 alone, the clinic had nearly 7,500 patient visits and provided $1.9 million in free health care to area residents. The clinic also receives free x-ray services from Ellis and St. Claire Hospitals, along with free consultations with various medical specialists. The clinic's all-volunteer medical staff consists of 25 doctors, 24 nurses, two pharmacists, one medical technologist and 15 clerical volunteers. The clinic operates Mondays and Thursday, dispensing health care to nearly 75-90 uninsured individuals daily.

Since April, when Governor Spitzer slashed $350,000 of the clinic's funding, it has been forced to turn away 50 uninsured people on a weekly basis. Tedisco stepped in, providing $100,000 in Member Item funding to keep the clinic running. The clinic also raised nearly $250,000 in private donations on its own.

Tedisco noted that without the clinic, thousands of Schenectady families would be forced to visit hospital emergency rooms at a much higher cost. Governor Spitzer's recent decision to withhold the $100,000 in Member Item funding Tedisco secured will likely cause the clinic to shut its doors resulting in thousands of uninsured Schenectady residents losing access to quality health care.

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