Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has cosponsored the Specialty Treatment to Access and Referrals (STAR) Act. This legislation establishes a grant program to provide Community Health Centers with the resources they need to build out their telehealth capabilities. Telehealth systems allow doctors to communicate with one another to discuss referrals, and for patients to personally interface with doctors online. Telehealth systems can significantly improve access to specialist care and reduce the need for primary care physicians to conduct such work. The proposed funding includes up to $200,000 per health center and up to $5,000,000 for qualifying health networks. 

“Community health centers are critically important to North Country residents,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This crucial funding would allow groups like Hudson Headwaters and the Adirondack Health Institute to collaborate and expand the scope and types of telehealth services that they can offer the community. This bill would enable these groups to improve the quality of primary and specialty care services offered to patients in the North Country. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation and will continue to work diligently to support our community health centers.”

"As a health network serving a mostly rural region of upstate New York, Hudson Headwaters faces numerous challenges in delivering high-quality health care to residents,” said Tucker Slingerland, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Hudson Headwaters Health Network. “These challenges include barriers to access, like geographic isolation and a lack of providers in many small towns. Telemedicine is one way that we can provide needed primary care and specialty services, like behavioral health, to remote communities efficiently and cost-effectively. The federal funding offered through legislation like the STAR Act is crucial for an organization like ours, enabling us to expand our telehealth programs and improve the health and wellbeing of all of the patients we serve. We are grateful to Congresswoman Stefanik for her leadership on this issue in Upstate New York."