Buffalo’s Lower West Side is now the future home of a $5 million integrated medical facility. Groundbreaking for the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network’s newest project took place Wednesday afternoon in a grass and gravel lot on Seventh Street.
GBUAHN Chief Executive Officer Dr. Raul Vazquez said the planned 40,000 square-foot building will combine elements of health and wellness never before seen together in the West Side community.
“We’ll have nutritional classes, we’re putting about a quarter-million dollars in exercise equipment for employees and members. We have our community health workers that are going to help people with disease management and health coaching on that floor. The first floor on top is primary care and behavioral. Those two systems have never really worked together and a lot of the costs of ER and in-patient care has been because of that,” said Vazquez.
Vazquez said that with the reduction in ER and in-patient care the facility will provide, those lowered costs will be seen by Medicaid, insurance companies, and individual patients that GBUAHN works with. The facility will also house a cancer treatment center, nutrition services, a pharmacy, ambulatory csurgery center, imaging center, laboratory, 24-hour call center, and GBUAHN’s administrative offices.
“We’re tying in, not just managing a patient in the office. We’re managing in this community, creating these medical neighborhoods, which I find are crucial,” said Vazquez. He believes having all of a patient’s needs taken care of under one roof is the answer for effective healthcare.
GBAUHN is Erie County’s largest private employer of minorities, and the development of the new facility is expected to increase the company’s employee base from 175 to as much as 300 by the end of this year. Susan Militello, a corporate trainer for GBUAHN, said the new facility will provide amazing opportunities for new and current employees.
“Especially for those who have been recipients of our services,” said Militello,” They have a deeper understanding of what it means, of the whole care coordination process, and then they carry it on to even more members.”
While the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus looms large as the region’s medical mecca, Vazquez pointed out that it’s important to have decentralized healthcare.
“This is one of our three projects,” said Vazquez. “The next one will be in Lackawanna, and the last one will be on the East Side.”
But decentralized doesn’t mean fragmented. As Vazquez noted, the new facility is expected to be a one-stop-shop for all of a patient’s needs. GBUAHN’s Seventh Street facility is planned to open in Spring of 2017.