The final tenant on the former Bryant Street campus of Women and Children’s Hospital closed its doors last week for a move to Buffalo’s West Side where the new Niagara Street Pediatrics opens its doors today.
Thousands of Buffalo area families have been bringing their children to Hodge Pediatrics for more than a decade – but it wasn’t always the case.
“In 1996, primary care did not have a dedicated home with [an] adequate number of rooms and adequate facilities,” explained Dr. Dennis Kuo, Medical Director of Primary Care Services at Oishei Children’s Hospital, and Division Chief of General Pediatrics at UBMD Pediatrics.
Kuo is a relative newcomer to the pediatric clinic, having worked there for just 18 months, but he’s become familiar with its history and the void it filled in the community that surrounded Children’s.
Since the hospital’s closing four months ago, the staff and families at Hodge Pediatrics underwent many logistical changes.
“Our families definitely took it in stride,” said Kuo.
The final part of those changes is a move for Hodge, too. But while many of its neighbors headed east to the new Oishei Children’s Hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Hodge headed west. The pediatric clinic closed its doors on Thursday, and has reopened under the name Niagara Street Pediatrics at 1050 Niagara Street.
Just as Hodge once filled a void in its neighborhood, Niagara Street Pediatrics will fill a void in the booming West Side, where Kuo said current medical providers are “busting at the seams.”
In addition to serving new patients looking for a pediatric home, Niagara Street will also be able to serve its current patients – a large portion of whom live on the West Side. Kuo said as families were informed of the change in their most recent visits, many were excited that their doctors were moving closer to them.
“It’s an opportunity to be part of the community, to be part of the streets, to be part of the fabric of the community,” said Kuo, who hopes the new facility will be a comfortable place for families and young patients.
“When they come in the doors, I hope they’ll get a feeling that they’re welcome; that this is a place for them, this is a place for children and families. They’ll see that the waiting room has a lot of light – it’s big, it’s expanded. We also hope to give the impression that we are there to serve them. We’re here to partner with them to be able to give the best care that we can give.”
At Niagara Street, a total of 14 treatment rooms – five more than were at Hodge – will allow four doctors to practice at any given time, along with asthma and special needs clinics. Niagara Street will also become home to Youth Link – a program that serves teens and young adults living with HIV, experiencing homelessness, mental health, or substance use disorders. Youth Link will move from Oishei’s other pediatric clinic, Towne Gardens on William Street in the city’s East Side neighborhood, freeing up space for more rooms and providers there as well. Both clinics will also offer social work and care coordination for their patients.
And, of course, the typical reason for taking your kid to the doctor will be served at the clinics, too.
“We do well-checks, we do plenty of sick visits if your child is ill,” said Kuo. “And we stand ready to be able to take care of all your health care needs.”
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