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CEO Young says ECMC welcomes financial and performance audit

Buffalo, NY (April 12, 2007) - Erie County Medical Center CEO Michael A. Young today welcomed Niagara County Sen. George Maziarz's call for a state Comptroller's audit of the hospital and urged the senator to expand his demands to include all hospitals in Erie and Niagara counties and add performance criteria in the audits as well.

"That way," said Young "all our patients can get a baseline for how hospitals in this region function and how they might improve, ECMC included. If Sen. Maziarz thinks an audit would help ECMC's operations, and everyone's, we welcome it.

"Let's put all our cards on the table and audit all non-profit hospitals in Buffalo-Niagara so everyone can get the clearest possible sense of what the region needs to change or improve so its patients get the best-possible and cost-efficient health care," Young said.

"This is a goal we're sure all health care leaders in the region would welcome and Sen. Maziarz should be commended for suggesting it," Young added.

ECMC announced last week that it will move ahead with its plans for a $91.7 million "comprehensive heart and vascular" care facility. The hospital's corporation will finance half and it will seek soon-to-be-available state funds for the remainder.

This center would be an adjunct to community hospital care, like that provided by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Bertrand Chafee Hospital and others that don't have full tertiary care services. Part of the reason for this sort of cardiac center is to provide rigorous heart protocols where physicians work across medical and community boundaries. This center is a model for helping community hospitals, which properly should treat cardiac patients daily, but still need backup services they don't have, but a cardiac care center does, such as open-heart, interventional cardiology and electrophysiology. This hospital would be complementary to and supportive of community hospitals, like Niagara Falls Memorial and others.

"This is a new facility, but more important it's a new model of collaborative care that keeps the patient the focus of all that we do," Young said. "Sen. Maziarz has demonstrated perfectly the need for a discussion of these issues."

The new center, to be built on ECMC's 67-acre campus and be part of the hospital's 2010 care initiatives, would have 56 beds and four multi-platform operating rooms that will minimize the need to move patients, while providing state-of-the-art care. The cardiac care center has been in the planning stages since before the Dec. 1, 2006 release of the Berger Commission report - which defines the need for just such a facility - and state health officials are well aware of the plan.

The planned 85,000-square-foot cardiac care center would employ 100 additional, high-paying professionals with full benefits. It will also continue to cement ECMC's commitment to an underserved inner-city. neighborhood with significant investment in jobs - including construction work - and services.

Last week, ECMC announced 2006 audited financial results showing the hospital had a $7.5 million surplus after paying all expenses. Add to that $2.5 million in investment income and it formed a $10 million operating surplus, the hospital's first in recent history. The finances showed a $36 million improvement in operating margin in two years.

The reversal of recent trends has been driven largely by more patients choosing and using the hospital and a focus on operating efficiencies and cost savings, Young said.

Operating revenues increased by $66 million, or 24 percent, over the past two years as costs were contained and more patients selected ECMC for services they knew were excellent here. From 2005 to 2006 revenues increased 16 percent, or $47 million, to total $338 million.

ABOUT THE ERIE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER:

Erie County Medical Center is known for its best-in-the-state, life-saving Level I trauma center; also excellent heart, kidney, burn, psychiatric and orthopedic programs; a superior physician and nursing staff.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Erie County Medical Center
(716) 898-5503
TQuatroc@ecmc.edu

 

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4/12/2007

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