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Home > News Room > Memorial opens new primary care center to meet critical community need

Memorial opens new primary care center to meet critical community need

Memorial opens new primary care center to meet critical community need

A healthcare crisis caused by the sudden retirement of a Niagara Falls physician with a very large primary care practice has prompted Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to open a new primary care center in the heart of the city.

Memorial is accepting new patients and booking appointments at Niagara Falls Memorial Primary Care Center, located in the seventh floor office suites atop the parking facility at 620 10th St. – directly across the street from the hospital.

Experienced and caring family medicine and internal medicine physicians and a dedicated nurse practitioner began seeing patients there Feb. 21. 

Plans to open the new center were fast-tracked last week when it became apparent that the city’s existing medical resources were being significantly strained by the high volume of former patients of Dr. Pravin Mehta who are looking for a new doctor.

“Despite the healthcare’s community’s best efforts, there is a critical shortage of the resources needed to provide timely care to those patients, many of whom are suffering from congestive heart failure, renal failure, diabetes and other chronic illnesses,” said Memorial President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo.  “Their most pressing need is a doctor to oversee their care without having to wait six weeks, eight weeks or longer for an initial appointment – if they can get an appointment at all.”

That need becomes even more acute when you factor in the Greater Niagara region’s documented high incidence of diabetes, heart disease – including congestive heart failure – and stroke.

“This is the population that needs care the most,” Ruffolo said.  “We have seen a sharp increase in the number of patients utilizing our emergency room but we all know that is not the optimal way to provide high quality care.”

To address the crisis, Memorial took what is normally a lengthy process for establishing a new primary care center and, working with the New York State Department of Health to gain the necessary approvals, compressed it into just two weeks.

“These patients need care sooner rather than later,” Ruffolo said. “As the community’s safety net, we knew we had to move quickly to meet their needs.”

Dr. Maria Crea, executive officer of the Medical Society of the County of Niagara, said she welcomes Memorial’s efforts to make care available and accessible to Dr. Mehta’s former patients.

“The medical society has received an overwhelming number of calls from these patients during the past 10 days,” Dr. Crea said. “Many said they have been unable to find a new doctor.  The Niagara Falls Memorial Primary Care Center will be a godsend to them.”

To schedule an appointment at the Niagara Falls Memorial Primary Care Center, call 278-4151.

Ruffolo thanks staff for making Memorial a great place to work

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