New Hospital Brings Comprehensive Assessment, Care and Education to the Most Medically and Behaviorally Complex Children in New York and their Families

ROCK HILL, N.Y. — Patrick H. Dollard, CEO of The Center for Discovery® (TCFD, The Center) and Dr. Theresa Hamlin, TCFD President, were joined by US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), a team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other state and local dignitaries in Rock Hill, New York, on Friday, July 2, 2021, to break ground on a first-of-its kind Children’s Specialty Hospital for those with complex conditions like autism.

Construction on the 18-bed hospital is moving forward with the help of a $35 million loan from the USDA which was championed by Senator Schumer during the COVID-19 pandemic.  “In the midst of the pandemic when people with disabilities were faced with disproportionate impact, we saw a light of hope spring up when the USDA approved this historic $35 million federal investment in this hospital,” said Senator Schumer, “These kids will get the care they need early, and it will be better care, and at the end of the day – cost less. What could be better than that?”

The CEO of The Center for Discovery®, Patrick H. Dollard, thanked Senator Schumer for his steadfast support of not only The Center, but of all people with disabilities. “We wouldn’t be here without the great support of Senator Schumer,” he said, “He’s been with us for 30 years when we were an agency with 18 staff and he’s always treated us the same way.”

More than 60 people gathered under a tent at the future Children’s Specialty Hospital site to witness history.  The sun broke through the clouds just as TCFD President, Dr. Hamlin, began describing the hospital’s mission. “Our goal for the hospital is to not only treat these children but to support their families and their school districts – to avoid often unnecessary life-long, high-cost residential placements that can sometimes permanently separate the children from their families and their communities,” she said.

More than a decade in the making, the Children’s Specialty Hospital and its multi-disciplinary, whole-person approach to health and education will revolutionize care for those with complex conditions like autism. “Because The Center for Discovery is a Center for Excellence in New York State and a leader in the field of disability, there are many watching and hoping to replicate what we do here. The need is so great… The world needs The Center for Discovery now more than ever,” said Dr. Hamlin.

The hospital will bring 400 new healthcare jobs and 150 construction jobs to rural Sullivan County at a time when the area is experiencing a high unemployment rate. The Center currently has 1700 employees ranging from special educators to physicians, nurses, clinicians, nutritionists, farmers, chefs, art and music therapists, and other support personnel.

“Most important is what this facility will mean for the children and families who walk through its doors. It’s a place of hope, healthcare, of learning – but most of all a place where every child can meet their full potential,” said Acting NY USDA Director Brian Murray.  “That’s why we are all here – for those children and those families.”

Also in attendance at the groundbreaking were: NY State Senator Mike Martucci (R-NY); NY Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-NY); Brian Murray, USDA Acting NYS Director; Josephine Finn, Vice Chancellor NYS Board of Regents; Jeffrey Kraut, Executive VP for Strategy and Analytics at Northwell Health; Ed Sweeney, TCFD Board Chairman; Bill Rieber, Town of Thompson Supervisor; Jay Quaintance, President of SUNY Sullivan; and Rich Mayfield, former USDA NY Director.

To view the Press Release on PR Newswire, please visit:

For more information, please reach out to The Center for Discovery’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Communications, Michael Rosen, at