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

YourCare Partners with GBUACOOctober 2016

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

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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Future of Rite Aid is being tested here

Medicaid Health HomesMarch 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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Confronting inequities in medical care

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

GBUAHN OfficeSeptember 4, 2013

A 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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