February 24, 2009

Over $1.1 Million of Udall Projects for Health and Education in New Mexico Included in FY09 Budget

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., today announced that an omnibus appropriations bill currently moving through Congress contains more than $1.1 million for New Mexico-specific health care and education projects. Udall worked to ensure that the projects were included in the bill when he served on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.


"At this time, when New Mexicans are suffering because of economic failures they did nothing to cause it is essential that we provide assistance for health care, education and other services that working families depend on," said Udall. "I am proud to have helped secure needed assistance to help New Mexico's working families in this hour of need."


The Udall-backed legislation includes $571,000 to help construct and equip a dialysis center for the Village of Cuba. Currently, patients needing dialysis are forced to travel more than 175 miles round trip, three days a week, for this life saving procedure.


Said Udall, "The funding for this essential dialysis center is the culmination of years of work in the community. It will ease the pain of Cuba residents who must now endure almost unbearable hardships just to get the treatment they need. With this new center, our seniors and others suffering from kidney diseases can finally get the help they need and deserve without spending more than nine hours a week in the car."


The legislation also contains $176,000 to help the University of New Mexico provide health care in rural New Mexico. The funding will extend UNM's successful Hepatitis C pilot project. It will allow UNM to support rural sites and help them manage chronic, common, complex diseases. The resources can also be used to purchase telehealth communications equipment and software, and to hire health care providers in rural sites.


"New Mexico's rural citizens should not be forced to do without important health care services and UNM has shown that it can help care for rural New Mexicans," said Udall. "This additional assistance will help UNM bring better care to New Mexicans who need it."


The legislation includes $100,000 for the Santa Fe Rape Crisis and Trauma Treatment Center to provide traumatic stress treatment for veterans, National Guard personnel, Reservists, and their families.


"Soldiers and first-responders who risk their lives for us deserve nothing but the best care," said Udall. "This includes help to ease the mental suffering that so often comes with the difficult conditions they endure on our behalf. Additional resources will help ensure that our veterans and first responders can live full and healthy lives."


Other health care and education initiatives supported by the legislation include:

· $190,000 for the New Mexico Dental Foundation Dental Hygiene Training Program, which will use distance education to promote oral health around New Mexico;

· $214,000 for the Na'Nizhoozhi Center in Gallup, for facilities and equipment to help reduce alcohol-related problems in Gallup;

· $150,000 for Battered Families Services, Inc., to expand services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking; and,

· $95,000 for the Embudo Valley Library, to help the library meet growing demand for its services.