News 2017

DOH Letter from the Director of Medicaid

May, 31, 2017


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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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.

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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.”.

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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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.

$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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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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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.”

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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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Karibu | November 21, 2017

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

Panorama Hispano News | December 20, 2017

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.

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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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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