Grassroots push for more COVID-19 vaccines in Buffalo Black and Brown communities
By Thomas O’Neil-White | WBFO
Acknowledging that racism is a public health threat to communities of color, the Buffalo Common Council and local healthcare advocacy groups are prioritizing the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to the city’s Black and Brown communities.
Mayor Brown Announces Updates To Buffalo’s Response To The COVID-19 Emergency
January 14 2021
Buffalo, NY— Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced that Buffalo’s first responders have begun receiving vaccinations. Yesterday, Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo, Deputy Fire Commissioner Paul Eason and Lt. Shelby Thompson received their first doses of the vaccination at the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), located at 564 Niagara Street. Members of the Buffalo Fire Department were provided a link to a portal of all participating vaccination facilities and are scheduling their own appointments for vaccination.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — While many members of the general public won’t be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for months, leaders in Western New York are working right now to build trust and educate people so that they will take the vaccine when their turn comes.
EXPERTS WARN GETTING COVID TESTING RESULTS TOO LATE COULD MAKE TESTING USELESS
WIVB | JULY 15, 2020
As Erie County reports the latest numbers of coronavirus cases some people say they’re still waiting to get their test results even up to 14 days later. A local doctor warns the longer the wait, the less effective the testing becomes. Julie Cirivello says she’s been waiting more than a week for her…
LOCAL HEALTH EXPERTS SAY FIGHT AGAINST CORONAVIRUS ISN’T OVER
WIVB | June 27, 2020
Dr. Raul Vazquez CEO of Urban Family Practice says the fight against coronavirus is far from over. As some restaurants and businesses are reopening he says it’s not the time to let your guard down. “I know everyone wants to get out and it’s nice to be outside and do these things but…
NEWS 4 PRESENTS CORONAVIRUS TOWN HALL WITH LOCAL MEDICAL EXPERTS
WIVB | MAY 20, 2020
The outbreak of COVID-19 has now lasted six months. While medical experts are learning more everyday, many questions still remain unanswered about this virus. News 4, in partnership with Buffalo Healthy Living, is presenting an hour-long town hall discussion with five leaders in local medicine on Friday, May 22, 2020, at 3 p.m. Viewers…
LOCAL DOCTOR SAYS PEOPLE ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE AND GETTING TESTED FOR COVID-19
WIVB | APRIL 27, 2020
Before New York State can reopen, Governor Cuomo says the key is testing. Two types of testing have happened throughout Western New York in recent weeks. The newest, antibody tests, helps to tell if a person had the coronavirus before. More testing sites have now popped up across Western New York, including at…
HEALTH OFFICIALS HOPE TO MAKE COVID TESTING MORE AVAILABLE FOR HARDEST HIT PARTS OF ERIE COUNTY
WIVB | APRIL 13, 2020
Erie County health officials hope to make testing more available for some of the hardest-hit areas including the 14215 zip code. We spoke with a local doctor on his plan to help contain the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Raul Vazquez says there are three ways to help fight the spread of coronavirus, especially…
Boosting outcomes — and saving money — through ACO model
By Tracey Drury – Reporter, Buffalo Business First | May 22, 2020
The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (GBUACO) remains the region’s only state-designated accountable care organization (ACO), overseeing care for about 30,000 patients across the region insured by government programs through Fidelis and YourCare Health Plan.
Local doctor says people are taking advantage and getting tested for COVID-19
Shannon Smith/WIVB | April 27, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dr. Raul Vazquez talks about how people are taking advantage and getting tested. G-Health Enterprises network has offered drive through testing for both types of tests, and have done nearly 400 of them in two weeks. Click below for more information.
Mobile Vans to start Covid-19 testing in poor city neighborhoods
Buffalo News | April 27, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. (BN) — Nurses and other health providers spent Monday afternoon outside Urban Family Practice on Jefferson Avenue conducting blood tests on Medicaid patients to see if they’ve already had the new coronavirus and now have antibodies.
$8M will fund fight against Covid-19 in Buffalo’s most ‘vulnerable communities’
By Caitlin Dewey| April 22, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. (BN) — A broad slate of Buffalo health care providers, faith leaders and community organizations will receive more than $8 million in state funds to battle Covid-19 among the city’s most vulnerable residents.
The wide-ranging plan – announced Wednesday by executives at Erie County Medical Center and the regional health care consortium Millennium Collaborative Care – aims to both expand testing in low-income, high-risk communities and increase medical services and social support for people who fall ill..
Yes, this virus discriminates, because we still do
Dr. Raul Vazquez says Buffalo Niagara needs a community-based approach to fight the novel coronavirus and reach people who might not have primary care doctors. But experts like him have yet to be brought into the planning discussions.
By Rod Watson/BN | March 31, 2020
“This virus does not discriminate … (it’s an) equal-opportunity virus that can affect anyone of any age, of any race, from any ZIP code.”– Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
While the point he was making – that everyone should follow social distancing and other precautions – is certainly valid, the idea that the novel coronavirus is colorblind is no more true than is the notion that American society is colorblind.
Western New York doctor starts drive-in testing clinic for patients
Dr. Raul Vazquez is using his practice to get more tests for people in vulnerable communities
Karys Belger/WGRZ | April 16, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dr. Raul Vazquez has been advocating for weeks to get more COVID-19 tests for communities in Buffalo where there are high rates of underlying health conditions and lack of access to resources.
His practice recently began administering tests to try and close the gap.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It all started when Dr. Raul Vazquez’s 24-year-old daughter Nadia got sick. She had a fever and shortness of breath. Three days after coming home from the hospital, she received a call that she was positive for COVID-19.
The process caused him to think: How would this experience have been if he wasn’t a doctor? Or if his family had no doctor at all?
N.Y.C. Death Toll Soars Past 10,000 in Revised Virus Count
David Goodman and William K. Rashbaum/NYT | April 14, 2020
New York City, N.Y. — New York City, already a world epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, sharply increased its death toll by more than 3,700 victims on Tuesday, after officials said they were now including people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died of it.
14125 zip code most affected by COVID-19 in Erie County
WGRZ | April 9, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WGRZ) — BUFFALO, N.Y. — Is a community that’s 80% African American, and the population has a history of chronic illnesses. Dr. Raul Vazquez says these factors present a great risk for the community, because most of these individuals don’t have access to a primary care physician.
Dr. Raul Vazquez is working on a community action plan to help connect patients to doctors amid the coronavirus pandemic
Karys Belgar/WGRZ | April 8, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WGRZ) — BUFFALO, N.Y. — As more information is released about COVID-19, local community leaders are continuing to raise concerns over how the pandemic will affect communities of color in Buffalo and Erie County.
The African American Health Equity task force recently called on local leaders to take steps toward making sure communities of color, particularly on Buffalo’s East Side, get access to testing. The concern is that the chronic health conditions that already exist in communities of color will cause the COVID-19 pandemic to be even more devastating.
Dr. Raul Vazquez, CEO of Urban Family Practice, conducts a checkup on Mathew Martinez at the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, which mostly handles Medicaid patients.
John Hickey/Buffalo News | March 12, 2020
More value-based care
Urban Family Practice, which serves more than 9,000 mostly Medicaid patients in Buffalo, will open its third clinic this month. Since the first office on the West Side opened about eight years ago and became part of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (GBUACO), leaders and staff have labored to move from a fee-for service health care model – where providers are paid based on office visits, tests, drugs and treatments they prescribe – to a “value-based model” that provides reimbursement on how well a practice keeps patients healthy and helps them avoid hospitalizations. Those who do so receive greater “bundled payments” designed to focus more on greater access to preventative care, creating a less costly health care system over time.
The Medicaid Redesign Team I recommended this idea in 2011. It gave way to several practices across the state that operate like Urban Family Practice.
“We’re not asking the state for more money. We’re asking the state to make the regulations such that they give us the ability to innovate the way we want to innovate here,” said Dr. Chet Fox, chief medical officer with Urban Family and GBUACO. “The average bariatric surgery cost $40,000. For two surgeries, you could hire a dietitian, maybe even two, that could work full time for a year.”
Participating Health Care Institutions
Digital Health | January 31, 2020
GBUAHN is a participating health care institution which senior executives have provided mentoring and feedback to the companies accepted into the lab, as well as targeting areas of focus that includes: patient engagement, care coordination, telehealth, population health and behavioral health.