Written by the Press-Republican on June 18, 2020

Jones pushes for nursing home visitation guidance

ALBANY — On Monday, Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) pushed for creation and implementation of nursing home visitation policies.

In a statement, Jones said it “seems only fair” to look for safe ways for people to visit their family members in-person in both hospitals and nursing homes.

He noted that both sectors have been thorough in creating screening policies and have done their best to meet testing mandates, even with no financial help to do so.

“They have also been committed to finding creative ways to help their patients and residents stay in contact with those they love,” Jones said.

“While I am encouraged that the New York State Department of Health implemented a hospital visitation pilot plan, it is now time to expand the program to more hospitals, and include nursing homes in that discussion.”

He noted that New Yorkers, and North Country residents in particular, have done and continue to do their part to flatten the curve and protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“We cannot ignore the sacrifices that patients, nursing home residents and their loved ones have made during this pandemic, and we must find a way to safely allow them to reunite.

“I am calling on the executive to work with our health professionals to implement visitation policies that bring together families while simultaneously protecting their health.”

Stefanik co-introduces legislation to retain top national security talent

WASHINGTON, D.C. – North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) announced Wednesday that she and and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) will introduce the National Security Innovation Pathway Act.

They are the ranking member and chair, respectively, of the House Committee on Armed Service’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities.

The legislation would “provide a pathway to an immigrant visa for non-citizens engaged in essential work to promote and protect national security,” according to a press release.

Stefanik said in a statement that the proposal would ensure the U.S. “is able to both attract and retain the top minds (from) all over the world for technological innovation and national security expertise.”

“It’s critical that our country remains competitive in the national security space,” she continued.

“This bipartisan legislation will ensure the United States has the ability to provide a pathway for those who are able to fortify and bring further innovation to our national security strategy.”

The legislation is supported by several science and education organizations.

Stefanik cosponsors Meals on Wheels for Kids Act

SARATOGA — Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) announced Wednesday that she is cosponsoring the Meals on Wheels for Kids Act.

The legislation would establish a three-year pilot program to deliver healthy meals to children during summer months and extended school breaks, according to a press release.

“The North Country is home to many students who live in rural and isolated areas, and we must ensure that they continue to have access to meals throughout their summer breaks and other time off from school,” Stefanik said in a statement.

“I am proud to cosponsor this important legislation that will provide USDA with $5 million to carry out this pilot program and perform a study on the impact of programs like these in areas that are hard-to-reach.”

Stefanik cosponsors Paycheck Protection for Producers Act

SARATOGA — North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) announced Wednesday that she is cosponsoring the Paycheck Protection for Producers Act.

The legislation would afford agricultural producers more flexibility when calculating their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan by allowing them to use their 2019 gross income rather than net income, thus expanding eligibility to more farmers, a press release said.

“I have spoken with countless farmers throughout the last few months who are truly facing an unprecedented challenge in responding to the COVID-19 crisis,” Stefanik said in a statement.

“I am proud to cosponsor this critical legislation to ensure that our farmers are given more flexibility with PPP loans.”

Stefanik announces telehealth funding for Saranac Lake institute

SARATOGA — Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) announced Wednesday that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has awarded $55,180 to improve telehealth for the Northern New York Rural Behavioral Health Institute in Saranac Lake.

“The funding is intended for a telemedicine cart, tablets, video monitors and remote monitoring equipment to continue to serve at-risk patients in rural New York with chronic health conditions, including remote primary care, rehabilitation and addiction recovery support services,” a press release said.

In a statement, Stefanik said the funding was critical.

“Improving telehealth capabilities for centers like this one in Saranac Lake will ensure patients can receive remote care and services that they need, specifically including mental health and addiction recovery services that are so important.”

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