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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.

Watch Video News Report >>

"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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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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