A new integrated medical facility for Buffalo’s West Side neighborhood is nearing its grand opening after a year of construction.
It’s been just over one year since ground was broken at 505 7th Street, where the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization aims to bring together wellness with primary care, behavioral health, and other support services.
“There’s a lot of wellness you’re going to see in terms of the exercise equipment and samba classes, and yoga classes,” said GBUACO President and CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez. “The health coaching, the teaching, the group sessions on the bottom floor. The first floor, the primary care and behavioral health integration – which is unique to the area – is going to be really great for patients. It’s a lot more room, very comfortable. Second floor: specialties and the care coordinator that we’re working with, [Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network].”
Combining the amenities is part of a plan to create a culture of preventive care over “sick care.”
While the facility was originally budgeted for $5 million, Vazquez chose to exceed that tab by close to $400,000. Part went towards some aesthetic touches, but most was spent on better information technology.
“The automation in the building is pretty high end, in terms of we wired it with mesh networks and audio video,” said Vazquez. “We can really use that as a tool to touch different sections of the building, but patients – a lot of patient’s educational data that can really stream throughout the whole building.”
Tenants of the facility are moving, if not already moved in – including Vazquez’s own practice on Niagara Street. With them, some additional services will be offered that weren’t originally planned for.
“Pharmacy and lab were areas that we were thinking of doing, but really not focusing in,” said Vazquez. So we’re in negotiation with a few entities to have an on-premises pharmacy and an on-premises lab, which were good. We’re also trying to discuss either having after-hours ourselves, or actually involving an immediate or urgent care model in there.”
Despite the frequent focus of attention on the city’s medical community landing on the Buffalo Niagara medical corridor, Vazquez doesn’t see the development of GBUACO’s facility as competition. Instead, he sees it as an opportunity to provide more appropriate care to the residents of the West Side.
“There’s a core of people that will require services all the time,” explained Vazquez. “You know, once you’ve got heart failure, those individuals always at one point require more higher-level service. But then you’ve got the 100-thousand that really shouldn’t be in these systems. They should be in either primary, secondary, or tertiary care management outside in primary care offices, closer to their homes.”
After a few weeks of operation and getting settled in, the facility will host a grand-opening in mid-September.