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ECMC Tops Off Kidney Transplant Center - Employee-signed 31-foot girder tops
campusí new $27 million building

BUFFALO, NY; April 12, 2011 - Steelworkers today "topped off" the frame for a $27 million Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care at Erie County Medical Center that is part of a consolidation of transplant and dialysis programs with Kaleida and Great Lakes Health. 

In a symbolic ceremony commemorating the end of the first phase of the 18-month project, crews hoisted a 31-foot steel girder to the top of the building. ECMC employees signed the girder.

The center is part of a five-year, $150 million project on ECMC's Health Campus that when complete 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' jobs over the next 12 months.

"This ‘topping off" ceremony of ECMC's new Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care, is proof that our area can continue to grow and  that we can bring better care to our region and ECMC's Medical Campus," said Jody L. Lomeo, ECMC's CEO. "This is the most dramatic demonstration so far of more than $150 million in expansion projects that will improve ECMC's patient care and benefit our surrounding neighborhoods in the next five years."

Erection of the steel superstructure, delivered by Buffalo Structural Steel and installed by Seneca Steel Erectors, began Oct. 1, 2010. About 25 workers a day have been on the site since then. Some 400 will have worked on the center by the time it's completed a year from now.

The project is also 50 percent ahead of its minority hiring and minority contractor goals, and 100 percent ahead of its female worker and business hiring goals. All work to date is by union workers.

"For the ECMC board, our doctors, nurses and staff, and our neighbors, this is an exciting event," said ECMC Corp. Board Chair Sharon L. Hanson. "We are seeing plans transformed into steel girders. And, soon, we will see a new facility helping people from all over Western New York and Southern Ontario cope with kidney and pancreatic disease."

The $150 million, 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 here.

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 2010, 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.

"We're pleased to see such great progress in such a relatively short time at ECMC," said Great Lakes Board Chairman Robert Gioia. "It is proof that collaboration in our community works, and I am proud to be part of all of the growth for the patients of Western New York at ECMC, Kaleida, and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus."

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.

In February, ECMC dedicated a Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center that will speed healing for trauma, surgical, diabetes and other slow-healing wounds in a unique facility for Western New York with six surgeons and three podiatrists. The Wound Center, which the hospital built in response to closure and consolidation of facilities at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle and ECMC, is a new, state-of-the-art facility with two hyperbaric chambers. It exists to help wound patients before ulcers and injuries lead to amputations.

An 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 2011.

"All this work, both here and in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, is the result of collaboration and a lot of planning," said James Kaskie, CEO of Kaleida Health. "Together, under the Great Lakes banner, we are assembling services for a dynamic health system."

Another part of the overall project is moving the Erie County Home from Alden to the ECMC Health Campus. It 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.

"As someone who relied on the amazing doctors and nurses at ECMC for a kidney transplant already, I am especially dedicated to seeing this new center of excellence succeed and help patients like me for the next decades," said Jonathan A. Dandes, president of the Buffalo Bisons and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. "That's why I'm chairing a drive by the ECMC Foundation to raise $3 million toward this grand new facility." 

MORE ABOUT ECMC: 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, over 40 outpatient specialty care clinics and the Erie County Home, a skilled nursing facility.  ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the State University of New York 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. 


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

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


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