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BUFFALO, NEW YORK; December 27, 2005 - According to the Hospital Comparison Tool from Health Share Technology, Inc., a WebMD company, used to evaluate the latest (2003) New York Medicare data, Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation ranks first of all Upstate New York hospitals performing kidney transplantation.

The overall ranking reflects the combined performance of the ECMC Transplant Program in a number of individual categories, including mortality rate, number of complications, average length of stay, and relative cost for treatment.

Rocco C. Venuto, M.D., Medical Director of Renal Transplant and Director of the Nephrology Division for ECMC stated, "Our quality initiatives drive these processes, while our kidney/pancreas transplantation team of surgeons, nephrologists, physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, clinicians, and support staff enable us to achieve such remarkable results. As pleased as we are about the results of this comparison report, we are very excited about the results thus far with a new steroid-free drug regimen to prevent transplant rejection and to decrease complications. We reported at the recent meeting of the American Society of Nephrology a further reduction in length of stay and better kidney function at the time of initial hospital discharge. Therefore, I expect that ECMC will continue to fare well in future comparison reports, with further positive results in kidney transplantation."

ECMC Corporation manages the leading Western New York End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program. Services provided through the ECMC ESRD program include hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis (two types of blood cleansing methods), and renal (kidney) transplantation. Renal/hypertension clinical services are conducted on a weekly basis. Specialty services are provided for individuals with difficult to control high blood pressure, blood or protein in urine, kidney stones or infections, and poor kidney function.

ECMC is a primary S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo site for the training of future nephrologists. The Renal Services Unit at ECMC is nationally-recognized for research with particular concentration in the causes and consequences of high blood pressure in pregnancy, the causes of progressive kidney failure, the management of viral illness in kidney transplants, and the metabolism of drugs in patients with impaired kidney function and those post-transplant.

The Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation encompasses an advanced academic medical center with 550 inpatient beds and 156 skilled nursing home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, over 40 outpatient specialty care clinics, and the Erie County Home, a 586-bed skilled nursing facility. The medical center serves as the regional center for trauma, burn, rehabilitation, and a major teaching facility for the State University of New York at Buffalo. The ECMC Corporation is dedicated to being the medical center of choice through excellence in patient care and customer service.

DEFINITIONS IN BRIEF: "Rank" is the overall rank of each hospital in this group of hospitals. "Index" is a point score used to calculate the ranks. This is the average rank across all measures, weighted by the rank given to each measure. "Mortality" is the rank based on the percentage of patients who died while being treated. "Complications" is the rank based on the percentage of patients who develop problems while being treated. "Length of stay" rank is based on the average number of days people stay in the hospital for treatment. "Cost" rank is based on the hospital's relative cost for treatment (not what you pay).

NEWS CONTACT: Joe Cirillo at 716-898-4300

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