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Hurricane Maria survivor, 13, is giving back this Christmas

WIVB Channel 4 | December 22, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A teenager who left Puerto Rico for Buffalo after Hurricane Maria struck earlier this year is helping to brighten the Christmas of another boy.

Thirteen-year-old Ezequiel Ortiz was living in Puerto Rico with his mother when Hurricane Maria struck.

“It was bad- it was like houses falling, people dying, no food, nothing,” Ezequiel said. “It was bad.

Ezequiel’s father, Juan Ortiz, lives in Buffalo and was able to bring him to the city in mid-November.

When Ezequiel arrived, he received countless donations.

In the spirit of giving, Ezequiel is now giving back to another child in need. He donated toys and food to a family struggling with medical bills.

When Ezequiel arrived, he received countless donations.

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Buffalo doctor says ACA still alive despite passage of tax bill

Spectrum News | December 21, 2017

One WNY doctor says despite President Trump pronouncing the Affordable Care Act "dead" with the passage of the Republican's tax plan, the health care plan is still very much alive.

On Wednesday, Trump said the provision in the tax plan that eliminates the individual mandate effectively repeals the Affordable Care Act.

The individual mandate imposed a tax penalty on any eligible person who didn't purchase insurance.

The head of the Greater Buffalo United Accountability Healthcare Network says the individual mandate was important to funding the ACA, but most of the policy is still in place.

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GBUAHN answers the call for help in the wake of Hurricane Maria

Panorama Hispano News | December 20, 2018

GBUAHN answers the call(BUFFALO, N.Y. ) – The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) teamed up with WIVB-TV News4 on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 to host a telethon for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The telethon yielded more than $36,500 in donations for those who were forced to flee their homes due to the natural disaster.

Volunteers from GBUAHN and members of the Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund answered close to 1,000 calls from donors. WIVB-TV reporter/anchors Christy Kern and Nalina Shapiro provided live televised updates throughout the event, and interviewed GBUAHN Chief Executive Officer Dr. Raul Vazquez several times during the telethon.

“It’s not like ‘oh this happened, things are better.’ Things are still not good,” said Dr. Vazquez during News4’s 6:00 p.m. broadcast. “And a lot of these people are coming (to Buffalo), so that’s what we’re doing here – trying to support them.”

Dr. Vazquez and GBUAHN Chief Systems Officer Toni Vazquez (on behalf of the Raul and Toni Vazquez Foundation) donated a total of $1,500. All of the funds raised in the telethon will go to Hurricane Maria survivors who are resettling in Buffalo and Western New York and will be used toward housing, furniture, clothing, appliances, etc.

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News 4 Teams with Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund Committee for Telethon

WIVB Channel 4 | December 11, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It has been almost three months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.

As of Tuesday morning, only 64 percent of the island has power.

News 4 and the Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund Committee have teamed up to help the thousands of people in Puerto Rico that are still struggling.

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Karibu | November 21, 2017

Health care company delivers turkeys to the needy

WKBW Channel 7 | November 21, 2017

Delivering Turkeys to the NeedyBUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - A local health care company wants to make sure everybody has enough to eat come Thanksgiving.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) bought 100 turkeys and delivered them to the front doors of some of their neediest patients on November 20th.

"Not everybody always has the access, and I think we try to do, at least, sometimes you walk into people's homes, you see how people often live, and it's surprising even here in Buffalo that we have to do this," said GBUAHN CEO Raul Vazquez.

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It’s not too late to vaccinate – GBUAHN recognizes Influenza Vaccination Week

Panorama Hispano News | November 17, 2017

GBUAHN recognizes Influenza Vaccination WeekDecember 3-9, 2017 is National Influential Vaccination Week, and the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) wants to let the public know that it’s not too late to vaccinate. At this time of the year, people may think it is too late to get a flu vaccination, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the entire flu season.

“Flu season often peaks between December and February, but activity can occur as late as May,” says Dr. Raul Vazquez, chief executive officer of GBUAHN. “At GBUAHN, we are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.”

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies that fight the flu virus to develop in the body, so it’s best to get a flu shot early.

For many people each season, the flu means a fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and miserable days spent in bed. Millions of people across the U.S. get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people actually die from the flu each year.

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The Buffalonian of the Week: Dr. Raul Vazquez, Physician and CEO at GBUAHN/GBUACO/GBUIPA

Karibu News | November 15, 2017

The Buffalonian of the WeekLeading GBUAHN/GBUACO’s is their CEO, Dr. Raul Vazquez. Originally from the Bronx in New York City, the father of four came to the city in 1985 as a medical student at the University of Buffalo’s School of Medicine and practiced medicine for 26 years. We spoke to him to discuss his work as a doctor, GBUAHN, and the medical issues his organization’s patients face.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), located on 564 Niagara Street in Buffalo, is the sixth largest Medicaid Health Home in the State of New York and the largest one outside of the New York City area. Since 2013, it has been treating patients with chronic illnesses from Buffalo’s low-income communities, including refugees and immigrants. Its ever-expanding network in its affiliated Accountable Care Organization, the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (GBUACO) brings together 500 doctors and works with organizations such as Jericho Road Ministries, Inc., Urban Medical Practice, and Kaleida Health. GBUAHN/GBUACO also employs over 200 people and has been adding 10-15 new employees to its staff every two weeks.

What made you decide to stay in Buffalo? I love Buffalo. New York City is good, but it’s just congested and I didn’t know if I wanted to raise my kids with all of it. It’s sort of city/country place. It’s a mixture. It’s not a city, it’s not country. It’s a hybrid. I like the combination of the two.

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When it comes to high blood pressure, even one small change could save your life

WKBW Channel 7 | November 15, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Creating a healthy lifestyle isn’t always the challenge, sustaining and maintaining it often times is - especially when it comes to managing serious conditions like hypertension.

Studies show high blood pressure is the leading cause of death worldwide, with close to 80 million Americans suffering from it daily. That said, it's also the second-leading cause of preventable death here in the United States - which means you can help yourself - even over the holidays.

“I opened up here, because this is where the need is. A big percentage of my patient-base is African-American and Hispanic - look where we are, this is where the need is. Two decades later, we’re stronger than ever, offering even more services and changing even more lives, he said.”

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GBUAHN now the largest Medicaid Health Home outside New York City area

Panorama Hispano News | October 31, 2017

Buffalo’s biggest health home stakes its claim among the state’s most populous region

(BUFFALO, N.Y., October 31, 2017) – The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) is now the sixth largest Medicaid Health Home in New York state. Western New York’s biggest health home has the largest membership outside health homes located in the New York City area. Latest data from the New York State Department of Health shows only health homes located in the Hudson River area, Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx have larger memberships than GBUAHN. GBUAHN now has 7,567 members and is larger than two health homes located in the Bronx. In addition, GBUAHN is the first and only health home organization in New York State to achieve National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition for case management.

“Buffalo can be proud that we care so much about our citizens that GBUAHN is leading the way in Western New York when it comes to keeping people of all socio-economic groups healthy,” said GBUAHN CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez. “We are breaking down barriers to health care that many low income individuals face and we are making them healthier, improving the overall wellness of our city and region.”

Medicaid Health Homes were established under the Affordable Care Act to provide care coordination for Medicaid recipients with two or more chronic health conditions or a single qualifying condition such as a serious mental health condition or HIV/AIDS.

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GBUAHN goes pink with Second Chance Ministries

Panorama Hispano News | October 18, 2017

Free mammograms and Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities

WHAT: The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), in partnership with United Healthcare, is going pink with Second Chance Ministries. The organizations are holding a breast cancer awareness event that includes: free screenings, presentations/testimonials by male and female breast cancer survivors, educational materials, information on prevention, Medicaid and Medicare information, and a complimentary dinner.

WHY: A recent Susan G. Komen survey of WNYers revealed that low income/medically underserved women in the city of Buffalo are the least likely to understand the importance of mammograms/screening and are unclear about breast cancer risk factors. This event will provide breast cancer education and prevention advice. Representatives of GBUAHN and United Healthcare will offer information on enrolling in Medicaid/Medicare. A male breast cancer survivor will tell his story; female breast cancer survivors will also provide testimonials. The founder of Our Curls, a not-for-profit that empowers women of color diagnosed with cancer, will also speak. Our Curls offers free ethnic wigs, makeovers, and support groups.

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GBUAHN nationally recognized for excellence in case management

Panorama Hispano News | October 16, 2017

Recognized for Excellence(BUFFALO, N.Y., October 16, 2017) – The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has announced that the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) has received level two NCQA case management accreditation. GBUAHN is the first and only health home organization in New York State to achieve NCQA recognition for case management.

Earning NCQA’s Case Management Accreditation shows that GBUAHN’s case management program is dedicated to care coordination, patient-centeredness and improving quality of care: getting the right care to patients. NCQA sets its standards high to encourage case management organizations like GBUAHN to continuously enhance the quality of services they deliver. NCQA Case Management Accreditation is the only program that focuses on care transition.

“This NCQA accreditation in case management for GBUAHN is huge in our organization’s commitment to providing smart, coordinated health care for the Medicaid patients we serve,” said GBUAHN CEO Raul Vazquez, M.D. “Our patient health navigators, or care coordinators, work tirelessly to organize the right services for our members through the development of individualized care plans.”

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Head of WNY healthcare network speaks out on federal response to Maria

Spectrum News | September 30, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- One local doctor with family ties to Puerto Rico is speaking out about the response to the disaster on the U.S. Island.

"There' s a lot of Puerto Ricans in this state, not just in New York City, and a lot of us, when it's our island, we're gonna come out. We're all American, but we're also very proud Puerto Ricans to help our own,” said Raul Vasquez. MD. GBUAHN President.

For Dr. Raul Vasquez the disaster in Puerto Rico is not just a humanitarian crisis, it's personal. He has many family members on the U.S. island and worries about the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria.

“We've got FEMA we've got entities that are responding to this type of situation, and this is America, we've done this many, many, many times, and to come and see through some of the TV stations that are finally bringing information home and being able to talk to some of our family members on different parts of the island, to find out that we haven't done enough. We're back into a Katrina model. Which is a role model," said Vasquez.

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New facility creating a “medical neighborhood” in Buffalo’s lower West Side

WBFO 88.7 | September 22, 2017

Medical NeighborhoodA new integrated medical facility is serving thousands of Buffalo-area residents by building a community based around health care.

Through the front doors of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network’s new building on Niagara Street is a reception desk that could be found in any other medical practice in the city. But what surrounds it in the rest of the 40,000 square foot building is what sets the facility apart.

Primary care and specialty medicine, care coordinators, and executives fill the first through third floors of the facility. In the basement, community health workers and a wellness center round out the amenities. Within the next month, an already-built pharmacy and lab are expected to come online as well.

The $6-million facility at 564 Niagara Street is expected to infuse $11-million into Buffalo’s lower West Side economy. When asked how, GBAHN founder and CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez has a simple response: “jobs.”

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$6 million medical center unveiled on West Side

WGRZ Channel 2 | September 21, 2017

BUFFALO, NY — A ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening unveiled the largest construction project on Buffalo's Lower West Side in 25 years.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network celebrated the grand opening of its new $6 million, 40-000-square-foot building. The new GBUAHN's new facility in the 500 block of Niagara Street is expected to pump $11 million into the local economy annually.

The state-of-the-art medical clinic offers primary, behavioral and wellness care to people in the community.

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New $6 million health center one of largest West Side projects

The Buffalo News | September 20, 2017

Medical NeighborhoodA new office for a physician practice at 564 Niagara St. is now seeing patients – and it represents some big changes.

The $6 million, 40,000-square-foot building that houses the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network is one of the largest projects on the city's lower West Side in recent years.

Physicians and other health care providers in the group who work there also are early adopters of newer medical group arrangements for coordinating patient care, and paying doctors for the quality, not just the quantity, of care they provide.

The building brings together in one place a host of services from different providers, including primary care, medical specialties, wellness and fitness programs, and behavioral health, said Dr. Raul Vazquez, the network's president and chief executive officer.

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GBUAHN & Cornerstone Manor team up!

September 19, 2017

Cornerstone Manor

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Innovative West Side medical facility preparing for grand opening

WBFO 88.7 | August 22, 2017

GBUAHN Health Facility!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].”

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ECMC Emergency Department Adds ‘Health Home’ Services

Millennium Collaborative Care | August 18, 2017

ECMC Adds ‘Health Home’ ServicesOn Aug. 1, the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Emergency Department (ED) began offering Health Home services to Medicaid clients who visit the ECMC ED.

This new Health Home access has been made possible thanks to the leadership of Lucia Rossi, MAOL. Director of Outpatient Operations Primary Care, ECMC; and the collaborative efforts of ECMC ED team members and three leading area Health Home organizations including Health Home Partners of WNY; Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), and BestSelf Recovery Community.

“Staff and providers in both inpatient and outpatient settings, are working diligently and passionately every day inside the walls of their organizations to provide their patients with the highest level of care and compassion, only to be met with barriers that their patients are experiencing outside in their everyday lives,” explained Lucia Rossi. “Integrating Health Homes into our organization will create a bond with our patients out in the community that will undoubtedly enhance their healthcare and overall quality of life.”.

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2017 Who's Who in Health Care

Buffalo Business First | July 29, 2017

Welcome to Who’s Who in Health Care, your source for information about the men and women who are involved in the well-being of Western New Yorkers.

Business First invited doctors, medical professionals, CEOs, financial executives, medical company CEOs and office management to be part of this feature.

In addition to biographical information, we asked what we thought was a pertinent question: “What’s the best part of your job?” We hope you’ll enjoy a look at these medical professionals.

Read more See Who's Who List

Construction Watch: GBUAHN Health Facility

Buffalo Rising | July 6, 2017

GBUAHN Health Facility!A $5 million, 40,000-square-foot medical facility is nearing completion at 505 7th Street. Once open, the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) medical facility, an extension of Urban Family Practice, will be the “singular largest commercial development on the lower West Side in the last 25 years” according to the healthcare providers.

Taking a look at the building’s layout, the main entranceway is situated in the rear of the structure, facing Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street. Parking is also situated in back.

After 20 years servicing the medical needs of the lower West Side, Urban Family Practice set out to expand its medical offerings via the new facility on 7th Street. Once open, the expanded practice anticipates on providing medical care for 50,000 people a year.

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DOH Letter from the Director of Medicaid

May, 31, 2017

Letter from the Director of Medicaid

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It’s not too late to vaccinate – GBUAHN recognizes Influenza Vaccination Week

Panorama Hispano News | December 5, 2016

It’s not too late to vaccinateDecember 4 -10 is National Influential Vaccination Week 2016 and the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) wants to let the public know that it’s not too late to vaccinate. At this time of the year, many people think it is too late to get a flu vaccination, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the flu season.

“Flu season often peaks between December and March, but activity can occur as late as May,” says Dr. Raul Vazquez, Chief Executive Officer of GBUAHN. “At GBUAHN, we are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.” It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies that fight the flu virus to develop in the body, so it’s best to get a flu shot early.

For millions of people each season, the flu means a fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and fatigue. Millions of people across the U.S. get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people actually die from the flu each year.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot for everyone six months of age or older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. This season, CDC recommends the use of injectable flu vaccines. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) is not recommended for use this season because of concerns about effectiveness.

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Healthcare Network CEO Says Some Good May Come From Effort to Repeal Affordable Care Act

Spectrum News | December 4, 2016

Some Good May ComeDr. Raul Vasquez is the head of Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. It is one of the biggest healthcare networks in the region.

Many of its clients get healthcare thanks to the Affordable Care Act. But now with the future of the act in jeopardy, many people are worried.

"21 million people aren't going to lose their insurance tomorrow. That's not the way this country functions and we have a lot of legal and a lot of. The way I see it is you get into a room, and then once you're inside the room you see what's inside the room. I think Trump hasn't seen that room yet. And when he gets in, he's going to see the limitations he has in terms of the amount of changes that he can bring forth," said Vasquez.

Vasquez says while it is unlikely the Republican-controlled Congress will be able to do away with the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, he does see some major changes coming.

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Bundled health care payments put focus on quality

Buffalo Business First | October 31, 2016

As the federal government readied last spring to begin a bundled payment program for orthopedic surgery patients, McGuire Group President Stephen Mercurio was busy ramping up the company’s network of rehab units and skilled nursing facilities.

Mercurio knew that in order to capture a share of the post-surgical rehabilitation market, his staff would need upgraded training and certification and his facilities would need new equipment and processes in place.

Unlike in the past, when a rehab provider would bill out for services, new bundled payment programs from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guarantee a share of payment only if providers meet certain quality and efficiency standards.

“You want to provide the highest quality and lowest cost to the system,” Mercurio said. “Right now payment is on a per diem basis, but Medicare’s intention is payment will be paid not per diem but over time, and there will be a finite amount paid.”

Change is constant in the health care industry, whether it’s standards of care, regulatory requirements or even ownership. But changes in payment models away from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance and bundled payments could be the biggest shift yet.

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Celebrating Health Home Successes for New Yorkers with Complex Medical and Social Needs

CHCS | October 26, 2016

Supported by enhanced federal financial incentives, Medicaid health homes have rapidly spread across the country, with 19 states and the District of Columbia using this approach to coordinate care for people with complex health and social needs. As an early adopter, New York launched its Medicaid health home program in 2012. Since then, it has used health homes to not only transform care coordination services for Medicaid beneficiaries, but also to encourage connections to housing and job training for high-need individuals, while also addressing other social determinants of health.

New York has 35 designated lead health homes that are partnering with broad networks of community-based providers and other organizations to serve more than 230,000 individuals with chronic physical and behavioral health needs. With funding from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) has supported this work via a four-year Learning Collaborative that brought together health homes, community partners, state officials, and other stakeholders to share learnings and emerging best practices, and inform ongoing policy and implementation.

Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization helped K. access medical and social services including dental care, transportation, temporary housing, and legal services. K. is particularly grateful for his care manager’s availability whenever he needed resources and considered her a true partner in maintaining his health and stability.

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An Innovative Medical Practice is Blooming on Buffalo’s West Side

The Buffalo News | October 9, 2016

YourCare Partners with GBUACODr. Raul Vazquez had never visited Buffalo when he applied to the University at Buffalo’s medical school 30 years ago. Today he’s one of the area’s most active physician-entrepreneurs.

The Fordham University graduate grew up in the projects in the South Bronx, the son of parents from Puerto Rico. He was drawn to studying medicine after seeing his Uncle Joe Gonzalez, and their neighbors, struggle to get the proper care for their asthma and other ailments amid a language barrier, poverty and limited access to transportation.

Vazquez flew up to Buffalo on the old People Express airline – “You paid on the plane. Thirty-five dollars round-trip.” – and never left. “I was energized. I said, ‘This is where I want to go,’ ” he recalled.

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Greater Buffalo United Independent Practice Association lands State’s first health value program

Panorama Hispano News | September 14, 2016

State’s first health value programThe Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, an affiliate of the Greater Buffalo United Independent Practice Association, was authorized by the state Department of Health last month as the state’s first Accountable Care Organization, a model that pays groups of providers to work together to reduce costs and increase health care outcomes.

How ACOs work

- Local health care providers and hospitals volunteer to work together to provide you with coordinated care.
- The doctors and other providers who are helping care for you will communicate with each other, and partner with you in making health care decisions.
- You may spend less time filling out medical history paper work because your doctors may already have this information in an electronic health record.
- You’ll likely have fewer repeated medical tests because your doctors and hospitals will share information and coordinate your care.
- You’ll be in the center of care, and your doctors will be better able to keep you informed, and to keep listening and honoring your choices.

Unlike HMOs, managed care, or some insurance plans, an ACO can’t tell you which health care providers to see and can’t change your Medicare or private insurance benefits.

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New Health Care Group Aims to Streamline Services

Spectrum News | September 9, 2016

Streamlining ServicesBUFFALO, N.Y. – A local doctor announced a new organization Thursday that could help make finding and delivering health care services more convenient.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, or GBUACO, was revealed by Dr. Raul Vazquez, who runs the Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street.

"With GBUACO as an accountable care organization, we take on that duty to manage, to make sure that that patient, when they have a particular problem, they get taken care of at the right place at the right time with the right people," said Vazquez.

The New York State Department of Health authorized GBUACO to operate as a Medicaid and commercial insurance accountable health organization. Vazquez says that will free up doctors to better treat patients.

"You're kind of becoming a physician again,” said Vazquez. “Our description of an [accountable health organization] is kind of eliminating the barriers so that when a doctor says they need a drug, or a test, or whatever it is, it just gets done.”

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Buffalo Health Group Lands State's First Medicaid Value Program

Buffalo Business First | September 8, 2016

NY State's First ProgramA Buffalo group is among the first groups in New York state to pilot a new value-based payments program for Medicaid recipients.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, an affiliate of the Greater Buffalo United Independent Practice Association, was authorized by the state Department of Health last month as an accountable care organization, a model that pays groups of providers to work together to reduce costs and increase health care outcomes.

It’s part of a new pilot program that brings together health care providers and Medicaid managed care organizations to coordinate care for patients.

The group ultimately will receive financial incentives for reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and duplicative costs for Medicaid patients in the same way that federal ACO programs work for Medicare patients. Catholic Medical Partners operates the region’s only ACO through the federal program through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The program has seen mixed results in the programs first three years.

The GBUACO will include 140 Buffalo-area providers, including physician providers at the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. The program will accept both ACO and commercial payment models.

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State’s first ‘accountable care organization’ for Medicaid patients to open in Buffalo

The Buffalo News | September 8, 2016

An organization of doctors in Buffalo – the first of its kind in the state – will provide its patients with higher-quality, more-efficient care to better manage their chronic diseases while keeping more of them out of the hospital, the group’s founders said Thursday.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers have formed groups known as accountable care organizations to better coordinate the care provided to their Medicare patients. The aim: Avoid unnecessary tests and procedures, improve outcomes and save money.

Now, state regulators have agreed to let a Buffalo health care network form the first accountable care organization in New York State to serve Medicaid and commercial insurance patients.

The founders of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization say its physicians will deliver care to their patients under a system that rewards innovation and promotes quality over quantity.

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Clock Ticking for Lead Testing in All New York Elementary Schools

Spectrum News | September 8, 2016

The Clock Is TickingBUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new measure, signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, requires all New York state schools to test water for lead contamination. It's a persistent problem in Buffalo and across Erie County.

Doctors say lead exposure can cause neurological impairments in children.

"Water quality is key," said Cuomo, D-New York. "The more we learn about our water, in all different dimensions, the more we have reason to be concerned, frankly.

"We want to start with our children, make sure our children are safe. That starts with testing the water that is actually in the schools and coming out of the fountains."

Elementary schools must complete lead testing by the end of September. Schools with older children have until the end of October. Buildings found to have high levels of lead will have to implement plans to fix the problem.

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Buffalo's Lower West Side will be home to $5 million integrated medical care facility

WBFO 88.7 | August 3, 2016

Groundbreaking!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.

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GBUAHN Health Facility to Break Ground

Buffalo Rising | July 29, 2016

New Facility!Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) has scheduled a groundbreaking for its $5 million, 40,000-square-foot medical facility. Shovels will go in the ground on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, (12:00 noon) at 505 7th Street on the city’s lower West Side. According to GBUAHN, this is the singular largest commercial development on the lower West Side in the last 25 years. The medical campus will offer residents a full range of healthcare services, to a neighborhood that is purportedly lacking in such amenities.

"The building will feature a variety of physicians’ and specialists’ offices, a cancer treatment center, nutrition services, a fitness and wellness center, pharmacy, ambulatory surgery center, imaging center, laboratory, and a 24-hour call center."

“This will be an exciting addition to our community,” said Raul Vazquez, MD, GBUAHN chief executive officer. “It will help decrease the fragmented healthcare that has been at our end of the city for a long time.”

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Women of Influence

Buffalo Business First | July 28, 2016

Business First's 2016 Women of Influence!

Inspiration honors women leaders who, through their words, actions and attitude, inspire those who work with and around them.

Congratulations to Toni Vasquez with GBUAHN.

Furthermore, you are cordially invited to this event and clasp hands with this years honorees - women from a multitude of arenas with their fingers on the pulse of success. Business First will present awards to area women who have made contributions to the community in 8 categories.

This event will be held on Thursday, September 22, 2016, at 11:30am – 1:30pm

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West Side medical practice preps $5M expansion

Buffalo Business First | July 28, 2016

$5M ExpansionIt took three years and as many different designs, but a medical practice expansion on Buffalo’s West Side is finally ready to begin.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network will break ground Aug. 3 on a 40,000-square-foot, two-story addition to its existing site on 7th Street. With a project cost of $5 million, the expansion will bring a series of services together in one site that are now scattered around at eight GBUAHN practice sites in the city.

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Another Way Affordable Care Act Could Bring About Visual Change in Buffalo

Spectrum News | July 8, 2016

Visual Change in BuffaloBUFFALO, N.Y. -- As a health navigator for the Greater Buffalo United Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), Hannah Bourque has about 90 clients she works with to help find the medical services they need.

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"We reach out to all of our members every month to try to touch base talk to them, get anything that they need. We also meet with them on a monthly basis at their home at their providers office. They come into the office, I talk their calls, whatever comes up we try to tackle it that day head on," said Bourque.

Since it was launched three years back, under the Affordable Care Act, GBUAHN helped match thousands of Buffalo and Erie County residents with health care services they need.

"In terms of our members, we're just short of 6,000 right now," said GBUAHN CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez, MD, who said its the 7th largest of its kind in the state. Vazquez says with 160 staff members already, GBUAHN is adding about 20 new people every month.

That's why GBUAHN is looking to expand. Vazquez wants to build a four-story, 40,000 square foot medical office on Seventh Street right behind the Urban Family Practice building on Niagara Street in Buffalo. Vazquez says the new building will allow consolidating all services under one roof.

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GBUAHN Gets a Second Opinion. Partnership with VisualDx Provides Differential Diagnoses at Point of Care.

PR WEB | July 8, 2016

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) and the Greater Buffalo United Independent Physician Association (GBUIPA) are teaming up with Rochester-based company VisualDx for better accuracy in diagnosing patients. VisualDx is a web-based decision support system that provides 40,000 medical images and peer-reviewed expert information to improve and speed up diagnosing while the patient is still in the office.

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City medical practice expands services

Buffalo Business First | April 26, 2016

HIV/AIDSThe Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network has expanded with a new care coordination program for individuals with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted diseases.

It’s the next phase of expansion for the organization’s Medicaid health home program, which is already among the largest such programs across the state.

The program serves Medicaid recipients with two or more chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure. It will also accept eligible individuals with HIV/AIDS or serious mental health conditions.

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Sense Health Partners with GBUAHN

PR WEB | January 10, 2016

Sense Health, an NYC-based healthcare technology company has partnered with the GBUAHN Health Home in Buffalo to create, deliver, and monitor interactive patient support plans, called “Scripts,” for use with Erie County’s Medicaid beneficiaries. Scripts are algorithmically tailored text messages, sent by healthcare professionals to a patient’s phone, that educate, motivate, remind, and check-in on patients and their self-care. Sense Health alerts providers when a patient requires more intensive medical / behavioral attention.

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“Hattitude 2015”: It’s About Women’s Health & Well Being!

Challenger Community News | 2015

Hattitude!“Filling a vital need in Western New York for program management & coordination, and health education programs aimed specifically at diverse cultures in the Western New York area, is what we have done for more than 15 years,” said Catherine J. Lewis, CEO of LEWAC Associates of WNY, Inc. (Lasting Education for Women, Adults, and Children)

LEWAC will honor GBUAHN – Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network with its “2015 Health Matters” Award. GBUAHN has clearly demonstrated its commitment to the Western New York community.

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Buffalo health practice to mentor tech start-ups

Buffalo Business First | September 15, 2015

Tech MentorGreater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) will serve as a mentor to healthcare start-up companies chosen for the third annual New York Digital Health Accelerator (NYDHA), a four-month program run by the Partnership Fund for New York City and the New York eHealth Collaborative.

The Digital Health Accelerator program supports growth-stage digital health companies that are developing technology products for healthcare providers and patients in such areas as care coordination, patient engagement and workflow improvement.

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Partnership Fund’s New York Digital Health Accelerator Announces Selected Companies for 2015 Program

Partnership for NYC | September 10, 2015

Mentoring will be provided by seventeen leading healthcare organizations, insurance companies, medical centers, and hospital groups. The mentors are Aetna, Allied Physicians Group, Central New York Health Home, Community Healthcare Network, Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, Hospital for Special Surgery, MediSys Health Network, Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, North Shore-LIJ Health System, NYU Langone Medical Center, Onondaga Case Management Services, Rochester Regional Health System, Stony Brook University Hospital, and Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

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Voice Your Vision Buffalo

UB Center for Urban Studies | July 11, 2015

On June 6, 2015, the Greater Buffalo United Health Care Network (GBUAHN), Buffalo Public Schools, and the New York State Minority Health Council held a listening session for community residents to discuss their views of the healthcare system and how to make that system work for them. The goal was to gain insight into strategies for reducing the race-based health disparities in greater Buffalo.

The health challenges facing blacks and Latinos are complex ones that impact different segments of the community in different ways. Thus, understanding the health and environmental challenges facing these two communities requires examining the specific challenges facing them as a whole, as well as, the unique challenges facing each segment of the community. To capture this complexity, the Listening Sessions were divided into 11 different sections: (1) Controlling Health and Faith (2) Housing (3) Mental Health (4) Over 50 (6) Action Planning & Goal Setting for Chronic Disease (7) Primary Language Barriers (8) Men’s Health (9) Women’s Health (10) LGBT Health and (11) Teen Health and Living Conditions. Focus group sessions were held in the morning and in the afternoon. A General Session was held in the morning to discuss the purpose of the Listening Session and to provide an overview of the health challenges facing blacks and Latinos in Greater Buffalo. “The Proceedings of a Listening Session” is based on a synthesis of the transcripts for each of Listening Sessions, along with the morning and afternoon General Sessions. The Proceedings are written in narrative style and designed to provide an analysis of the findings of the Voice Your Vision focus group sessions.

The Proceedings are divided into three parts. The first part provides an overview of the health challenge facing blacks and Latinos in Greater Buffalo. Part Two outlines the broad themes that emerged from the Listening and General Sessions, while the appendices are found in part three. The appendices contain a copy of the Dr. Taylor’s overview of the health challenges facing the black and Latino communities, and the transcripts from the Listening and General Sessions. The transcripts are rich in detail, and readers are encouraged to study them so as to deepen their understanding of the themes outlined in Part One.

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Urban health network plans $10M expansion

Buffalo Business First | June 22, 2015

New FacilityA Buffalo physician practice is hoping to break ground in 30 to 60 days on a $10 million expansion at its West Side facility.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) has plans for a 40,000-square-foot, three-story facility on Seventh Street, an expansion of an existing 12,000-square-foot facility.

The project is scaled up from an initial plan in 2013 that called for a 17,600-square-foot expansion. Dr. Raul Vazquez, CEO, said the project will expand the Urban Family Practice site that also houses GBUAHN, which is now operating at capacity.

“We have almost 200 people coming in daily so we’re pretty much at capacity,” he said. “We’re hoping with the new facility we’ll be able to expand to about 500 daily visits per day, almost tripling capacity.”

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WNY’s Most Admired Companies

Buffalo Business First | January 15, 2015

Admired CompaniesWestern New York has countless talented individuals who strive to maximize the potential of their workplaces and the community at large. They are the building blocks of successful, thriving companies – and we have hundreds, if not thousands, of them. Throughout the year, Business First recognizes those star companies through a variety of publications and awards programs, from the Book of Lists to Fast Track Companies to Best Places to Work and Top Private Companies.

To close out the year, we compiled a list — with some assistance from our readers -— of companies that deserve to be respected. We considered company growth, success as an employer and connection with the community. And now, we're proud to share with you the list of Western New York's Most Admired Companies.

GBUAHN was proudly on that list.

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Turkey giveaways abound as Thanksgiving spirit engulfs Buffalo

Panorama Hispano News | November 28, 2014

GBUAHN Donates Turkeys!A local organization stepped up to help feed their less fortunate neighbors this week with over 100 turkey donations for needy families across the city.

Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) and the employees joined forces to distribute turkeys via their outreach office on Niagara Street this past Wednesday.

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Rite Aid Launches Pharmacy - Based Chronic Disease Management

Open Minds | May 4, 2014

Rite Aid LaunchesRite Aid Launches Pharmacy - Based Chronic Disease Management, Partnering With ACOs & Medical Homes

On March 11, 2014, retail pharmacy chain Rite Aid launched the Rite Aid Health Alliance, in which Rite Aid pharmacists and in-store care coaches provide community-based health management services. Rite Aid partnered with a Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) and a Medicaid health home provider organization to pilot the services. The early adopters are Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), a Medicaid health home in New York, ApolloMed ACO in Southern California; and Cornerstone Health Care ACO in North Carolina. The pilot started in the fall of 2013; during the pilot the Rite Aid Health Alliance delivered over 2,300 coaching visits to almost 1,500 enrolled patients.

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Providers receive funding for home health care

Buffalo Business First | March 10, 2014

Providers Receive FundingFour health-care organizations will receive over $1 million combined in new state funding to further advance their home programs.

The funds are part of a $12.8 million allocation from the state Department of Health in stage II implementation grants to help home health designees better work with providers with such areas as interconnectivity improvements.

The funds follow an initial distribution of $2.2 million in stage one funds, with grant amounts determined based on health IT connectivity, geographic and demographic factors as well as the prevalence of chronic conditions and other qualifiers.

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Future of Rite Aid is being tested here

The Buffalo News | March 10, 2014

In the near future, the corner drug store could become a more important link in the health care system, doing more than just doling out medications and administering the occasional flu shot.

Rite Aid has staked its future on it.

The giant pharmacy retailer has chosen Buffalo, one of its best markets in terms of market share, to pilot a program that links its stores to local doctors in hopes of coaching patients to better health.

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Rite Aid to test market new program in Buffalo

Buffalo Business First | March 10, 2014

Rite Aid Press ConferenceTop executives from Rite Aid Corp. were in Buffalo Monday to launch a new national program linking the pharmacy giant with local healthcare providers to better treat patients with chronic conditions.

The Rite Aid Health Alliance is a collaboration with healthcare providers designed to provide comprehensive care and support to individuals with chronic and poly-chronic health conditions.

Dr. Raul Vazquez, president of Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network and one of the first Rite Aid Health Alliance partners, joined Rite Aid executives at a Bailey Avenue Rite Aid to kick off the initiative.

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From Rashes to Anxiety, There’s an App for That

Buffalo Business First | December 13, 2013

There's an App for that!Epocrates and Isabel might sound like an exotic couple but don’t be fooled – those are the names of two mobile health software applications in a fast-growing industry that experts say is dramatically changing the world of medicine.

With new apps regularly being developed to help diagnosis a problem, improve patient monitoring and reduce hospital visits, it’s an exciting time for doctors, patients and others.

“This is real,” said Anne Constantino, president and CEO of Horizon Health Services.

“I like this stuff. It’s fun,” said Dr. Raul Vazquez, who runs the Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street in Buffalo.

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Confronting inequities in medical care

The Buffalo News | September 25, 2013

The fact that Erie County spends a lot more per person taking care of white Medicaid patients than patients of color is nothing new in the world of health care. Glaring racial disparities have been as much a part of the medical system as Band-Aids.

What’s new is the county’s willingness to dig into the numbers to find out why. So is the prospect that increasingly sophisticated data collection under the Affordable Care Act – the very act Republicans want to kill – will, if not eliminate such disparities, make them too obvious to continue ignoring.

All of those challenges add to his medical problems – and to the cost of care.

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Health Facility Proposed for West Side

The Buffalo News | September 4, 2013

GBUAHN OfficeA group of physicians plans to build a $2 million health center to provide comprehensive medical, dental and mental health services.

One goal of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Health Network, a collaboration among eight physician practices, is to use the proposed 28,500-square-foot building off Niagara Street to centralize and expand its health home services.

The health home concept calls for a single organization to coordinate care, including follow-up after medical visits and referrals to social services, for expensive and difficult-to-treat patients.

The project requires approval by the city’s zoning and planning boards, as well as the Common Council. If all goes well, construction could start later this fall with completion in about a year, said Ralph Hernandez, provider relations director for the group.

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Health Network Targets Site for West Side Medical Program

Buffalo Business First | July 17, 2013

GBUAHN OfficeThe Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network is building a medical practice space for its health home program.

Led by Urban Family Practice, the network filed plans for a two-story, 17,600-square-foot medical office at 501 Seventh St. between Jersey and Pennsylvania streets on Buffalo’s West Side.

The $2 million project calls for medical offices on the main floor, basement space for wellness programs and a kitchen for nutrition programs and diabetes counseling, with administrative offices, case management and a conference center on the second floor.

Dr. Raul Vazquez, CEO, said the facility will face the back side of Urban Family Practice’s building on Niagara Street.

“We’re trying to create this urban medical corridor,” he said.

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