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BUFFALO, NY Nov. 23, 2010 - Erie County Medical Center today outlined a dramatic expansion of its ‘Health Campus,' highlighting $150 million in work on a new long-term care facility, a 333-vehicle parking ramp, a transplant and kidney center of excellence, an orthopedic expansion, a refurbishing of the adolescent psychiatric clinic, and other major projects to enhance patient care at the Medical Center.

Expansion work on the Health Campus commenced this fall on a $27 million Center of Excellence for Renal Disease and Transplant Services that is part of a consolidation of the Transplant and Dialysis programs with Kaleida and Great Lakes Health.

Work on the new state-of-the-art 390-bed long-term care facility on the Grider campus begins next spring.

When complete, ECMC's Health Campus will provide good-paying jobs and health-focused economic development centered in a section of Buffalo that has seen too little of both. The project, which includes demolition of eight buildings on the 65-acre ECMC property, will also support hundreds of construction workers over the next 18 months.

The expansion around and beside the existing hospital and clinic buildings represents a strong commitment to Buffalo and ECMC, hospital officials said.

"This expansion of our Health Campus brings real economic development to the City of Buffalo. It will also bring much sought after jobs to the city and top-notch health care for our community," said Jody L. Lomeo, the hospital's CEO. "Our collaboration with Kaleida and Great Lakes Health and this expansion will mean we can attract new patients and more easily recruit doctors and nurses and staff to more modern facilities. Also, families of people we care for on our Health Campus will have the most convenient parking and visiting arrangements."

The $150 million price tag for the work, financed in part by a capital improvements fund the hospital's board set aside in 2009 and a bond issue, is the largest investment in Buffalo's East Side in many years. ECMC already supports nearly 2,500 jobs there.

"This is the type of project that turns a community around. Between the Medical Corridor and the expansion of the ECMC Health Campus, we are seeing a transformation of our city and health-care system," said Sharon L. Hanson, chair of the ECMC Corp. board. "Health care is a growing economic development sector here and nationally. We have not seen this kind of growth in health-care for the residents of our community for decades."

Transformation of the Health Campus, which now has 550 beds and had 60,000 ER patients in 2009, actually began in the last year. In June, ECMC announced its expanded $2.9 million Emergency Department, with eight new trauma exam rooms and two new trauma surgical suites. The hospital performed 9,831 surgeries in 2009 and project that to grow to 11,381 in 2011.

ECMC is already home to the state's top-rated Adult Regional Trauma Center and in May 2009 opened a refurbished 12th floor surgical wing with $725,000 worth of improvements. With an estimated overall economic impact on the region of $750 million, ECMC had total revenues in 2009 of $440 million.

"Buffalo's inner city residents need opportunity, and ECMC's expansion offers it," said the Rev. Jeff Carter, pastor of Ephesus Ministries at 341 Grider St., across from the hospital. "Our congregation and our families understand the impact this project will have on their neighborhoods and this whole community."

The orthopedics center, including a Women's Bone Health Center, will expand ECMC's capabilities and further enhance the coordination of services between all of the Great Lakes Health centers. The orthopedics center for the Health Campus is in the planning stages and is expected to file for a Certificate of Need with the New York State Department of Health in early 2011.

"This is not the ECMC of yesterday," Lomeo said. "This is a new Health Campus growing to serve the needs of patients from every corner of Western New York and not just ER patients, but elective surgery patients, rehab patients, out-patients, orthopedic patients, transplant patients and those selectively choosing ECMC for the care they need.  These are historic initiatives not only for ECMC, but our community."

ECMC currently has 136 skilled nursing beds, and the Erie County Home has 550. The new $87 million long-term care facility will handle about 400 residents, incorporating both current operations into one new one. The existing home needs about $18 million in capital improvements and is losing more than $10 million a year in operations.

"ECMC's decisions will make a real impact in our community, bringing jobs and economic development," said the Rev. Dr. William Gillison, pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 701 E. Delavan Ave. "We continue to work with ECMC's leadership in ways that will aid the hospital and our neighborhood."

Great Lakes Health is the organization formed 18 months ago that is combining operations of ECMC and Kaleida in the most efficient and effective ways possible to enhance the region's health care system.

"Great Lakes, ECMC and Kaleida are forming a health-care system based on excellence that's also designed to keep Western New Yorkers close to home for treatment. ECMC's expansion is a major step toward that goal," said James Kaskie, CEO of Great Lakes Health and Kaleida. "We know that people will come from all over to obtain care at our centers of excellence. Western New York is becoming a destination for health care and that has been our goal from the beginning."

MORE ABOUT ERIE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER:

The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 40 outpatient specialty care clinics and the Erie County Home, a skilled nursing facility. ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, and rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university. More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service provided as a result of its Culture of Care. 

NEWS CONTACTS:

Tom Quatroche: 716-898-5503 -or- tquatroc@ecmc.edu 

Joe Cirillo: 716-898-4300 -or- jcirillo@ecmc.edu

11/23/2010

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