State to Award Nearly $1 Million in Grants to Support Health Services for Seasonal Farm Workers

Albany, NY (Aug.29, 2007) - The New York State Department of Health today announced that nearly $1 million will be made available to provide medical and dental services to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families.

As part of Governor Spitzer's commitment to a patient-centered health care system and the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities, the New York State Department of Health today released a Request for Applications (RFA) seeking health care providers and agencies that will share approximately $900,000 in funding to deliver high-quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate health and social support services to seasonal farm workers and their families.

"Migrant and seasonal farm workers experience great difficulty accessing the traditional health care system due to geographical, cultural, language, and financial barriers," said

Richard F. Daines, M.D., New York State Commissioner of Health.

Daines, who visited a migrant health clinic in Columbia County earlier this month, noted that more than 70 percent of migrant farm workers have incomes below the poverty level and less than 20 percent have public or private health insurance coverage.

An estimated 24,000 migrant and seasonal workers work on farms and orchards in New York State. "These farm workers are an indispensable part of the state's $3.6 billion agricultural industry and prepare for market many of the fruits and vegetables grown in the state," said Commissioner Daines. "These grants will support health services that will be made available to migrant workers during convenient hours at farms or other nearby locations."

Grant awards will be made to eligible health care providers that serve migrant workers, including hospitals, community health centers, diagnostic and treatment centers, county health departments, managed care organizations, and other community-based organizations. The Department anticipates funding at least 12 projects to ensure statewide coverage.

Applications for funding are due by October 19, 2007. Applicants are encouraged to submit a Letter of Interest by September 14.

The RFA may be downloaded from the Health Department's Web site at: