Schenectady County clinic stays afloat

The Schenectady Free Health Clinic will remain open thanks to generous support from the community, said the clinic's executive director Bill Spolyar.

Since news that the clinic would have to close after it did not receive an expected $350,000 in state aid, state and local officials, along with private donors, have given more than $200,000 to help the free clinic stay afloat.

This is a very neat place, Spoylar said. "It is unique to have something like this in the county, and it is something that the community should be proud of."

Spoylar said in April the clinic found out it wouldn't be getting the expected $350,000 from the state health commissioner's discretionary funds because Gov. Eliot Spitzer eliminated the discretionary funds of all his commissioners.

Previously, the Schenectady Free Health Clinic received money through fundraising efforts and through state aid. Spoylar said if the clinic could stay open until next April, it will be included in a line item in the state's budget, making funding for the clinic more permanent.

At the beginning of June, the Schenectady County Legislature approved a resolution giving $50,000 to the clinic. On Sunday, July 22, Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, announced he had secured $100,000 for the clinic.

"I am please to be able to provide this much-needed funding to the Schenectady Free Health Clinic," Tedisco said. "This fine facility is to be commended for offering health care to those in our community who can least afford it. Their efforts to keep people healthy and improve the quality of life for all of Schenectady County residents is second to none. We all owe them a debt of gratitude."

The Schenectady County Legislature voted Tuesday, July 24, to give the clinic another $50,000.

"The Schenectady Free Health Clinic provides an essential service to our community," said legislative Chairwoman Susan Savage, D-Niskayuna. "We are fully committed to working with the clinic to ensure they are able to continue serving the community."

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