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State DOH to approve ECMC TCU as Demonstration Project ECMC Transitional Care Unit
to be First in WNY for specific patient population

BUFFALO, NEW YORK; September 8, 2011-ECMC officials announced that the New York State Department of Health tentatively approved creating a Transitional Care Unit Demonstration Project at the Medical Center. 

The purpose of a Transitional Care Unit (TCU)-a less-costly and reimbursable service-is to reduce the number of days incurred in the hospital for Medicare patients whose stays exceed the necessary length of stay reimbursement rates.  Patients who would receive care in the TCU are medically stable with clear prognoses, but are still quite ill; those with complex conditions and/or requiring costly care; or patients who will be discharged to home within a few days. 

"We are pleased that New York State has approved our proposal to create a Transitional Care Unit.  This unit will be the first of its kind in Western New York.  The unit will result in better care for this unique patient group and also be reimbursed more appropriately," said Jody L. Lomeo, CEO of ECMC Corp. 

"The fact that the Department of Health is referring to this initiative as a ‘demonstration project' indicates to us that the New York State's Division of Health Facility Planning sees the validity in our proposal and that establishing a Transitional Care Unit could set a more appropriate standard for care of this patient population across the state," explained Richard Cleland, ECMC's Senior Vice President of Operations.  "We anticipate that our TCU should be operational as early as June of 2012."

On an average day at ECMC, 24 medical-surgical beds are occupied by patients for whom Medicare does not pay.  The medical center should discharge these patients more expeditiously, typically to Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) beds, for which Medicare would pay for extended convalescence.  However, a sufficient number of Medicare SNF beds are not available in Western New York.  A TCU would meet some of the need for additional beds, providing a unit that would administer the appropriate level of care that is also Medicare-reimbursable.  The TCU would appropriately be used to provide care for the most complex and costly patient conditions, while allowing ECMC's medical-surgical beds to be used for patients requiring necessary medical-surgical care. 

"An ECMC TCU will bring in approximately $2.6 million in new Medicare dollars (through payments for previously unpaid services) that would yield about $1.6 million after expenses," said Cleland.  "The community will be the real beneficiary of ECMC's improved financial stability since we will have greater flexibility to meet service needs, expand innovative concepts, and subsidize care to other patients unable to afford health insurance." 

The final approval of ECMC's TCU is contingent upon final review of construction documents and inspection by the New York State Department of Health. 

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 30 outpatient specialty care clinics and a long-term care facility.  ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, transplantation 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 and/or members of a private practice plan.  More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service-the difference between healthcare and true care. 


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

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




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