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For Immediate Release
September 21, 2017
Contact: Julie A. Doerr
Communications Specialist
(716) 622-7060 (mobile)

GBUAHN makes its move - Medical facility will pump $11 million/year into the Lower West Side community

(BUFFALO, N.Y., September 21, 2017) – The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new $6 million, 40,000-square-foot building on Thursday, September 21, 2017, 564 Niagara Street, Building 2, Buffalo 14201 starting at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served at 5:00 p.m., followed by a presentation and ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m., and building tours at 6:30 p.m. Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, United States Congressman Brian Higgins, and New York State Senator Timothy Kennedy will be speaking at the event. The GBUAHN medical facility is the largest construction project on Buffalo’s Lower West Side in 25 years.

Part of the revitalizing Niagara Street section of the city, GBUAHN’s facility is expected to pump $11 million into the local economy. GBUAHN’s new home is a bricks and mortar representation of a revolution in health care – it’s a one-stop shop for the disparate population in the immediate neighborhood and all of Western New York.

“In August 2016, we stood here with shovels to break ground on the Vazquez family’s vision for a state-of-the-art medical clinic, which would also be a one-stop community source of many other services for residents of Buffalo’s Lower West Side, and beyond. This $6 million, privately-financed facility, one of the largest commercial developments to be built on the Lower West Side of Buffalo in the past 25 years, has exceeded expectations,” Mayor Brown said.

“Thank you to the Vazquez family for its continued commitment to serving your members in so many ways. And thank you for your continued investment in the City of Buffalo. Today marks another big step toward building a City of Opportunity by connecting our residents to vital health and human services, while also creating jobs,” Mayor Brown added.

“In this facility, GBUAHN will be combining primary care, wellness, behavioral care and other support services,” said GBUAHN President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Raul Vazquez. “Combining primary care with behavioral health is unique to the area. The two disciplines go hand-in-hand, so it makes sense to have both services under one roof.”

The bottom floor features a fully equipped, state-of-the-art fitness facility with more than 30 brand new, top of the line exercise machines, 14 televisions, a group exercise room for Zumba, yoga and circuit training classes, men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers and free towel service, and other equipment such as dumbbells, kettle balls and medicine balls. The fitness center is open to staff and GBUAHN members. GBUAHN members are encouraged to sign up for a wellness program that includes weight loss classes, healthy cooking classes and weight loss and wellness peer groups.

“This is unprecedented – putting all of these elements that lead to better health in one area,” said Vazquez. “Our patients who did not have access to a gym – now they have one right downstairs from their doctor. Members of the community will also be able to utilize the fitness facility, and the gym will be open to staff members before and after working hours.”

There is a huge training kitchen where the healthy cooking and weight loss classes will be held. A 24-hour health-line call center is set up on the third floor, as are GBUAHN administrative offices. The second floor houses GBUAHN’s patient health navigators (PHNs) or care coordinators who are there to guide GBUAHN members through the often complex health care system. Plans are in the works for an on-site pharmacy and an on-site lab, so patients call fill their scripts and have their blood work drawn before they even leave the building.

“The information technology in the building is very high end – the structure is wired with mesh networks and audio video that are used as a tool to touch different sections of the building,” said Dr. Vazquez. “Not only can we keep staff informed; we will also stream educational health data for patients throughout the whole building,” said Vazquez.

“Most importantly, this beautiful GBUAHN facility represents healing for the underserved population in the Lower West Side community,” Vazquez continued. “It’s a bricks and mortar representation of our mission – ‘To transform health care by removing barriers created by social determinants of health in underserved communities.’”

Founded in 2013, the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) has 7,500 members and is the seventh largest Medicaid health home in New York State. Medicaid health homes were established under Section 2703 of the Affordable Care Act as a team-based clinical approach offering coordinated care services to individuals with multiple chronic health conditions, including mental health and substance abuse disorders. This free service integrates all primary care, acute, behavioral health and long-term services and supports to treat the whole person. Care teams work closely with patients to get them all the services they need in the community (i.e. food, housing, and clothing).

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