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Home > News Room > Health Department OKs new behavioral health center

Health Department OKs new behavioral health center

The New York State Department of Health has granted final approval for construction of a new inpatient behavioral health center at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

The new 54-bed center will be located on the hospital’s second and third floors and will replace the current behavioral health units in the hospital’s S-5 and W-2 wings.  When completed, it will enhance patient safety and vastly improve Memorial’s ability to meet a growing community need for effective, outcome-based therapeutic services.

“The upgrade will provide a better therapeutic milieu,” said Ramesh Konakanchi, M.D., medical director for behavioral health. “We now find ourselves treating patients not only for behavioral health issues but medical and social issues, as well, and this center will enable us to better meet all those needs.”

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Anthony F. Zito said the $6.9 million project, which will include the replacement of the two S Building entrance elevators and the A Building elevator, will be financed with funds securitized by Memorial’s share of local revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino and gifts from private foundations.  The elevator work is already under way, with the behavioral health center construction scheduled to begin in February.

The outdated behavioral units that will be replaced are more than 30 years old.  The new center will enable Memorial to provide the highest quality behavioral health care in a safe, aesthetically pleasing therapeutic setting that will promote successful therapy.  Its modern layout will promote patient safety and provide dedicated space for therapeutic groups and other constructive group activity – a cornerstone of behavioral health treatment.

In addition, it will provide expanded space to promote family involvement in therapeutic intervention and expanded facilities for art, music, and recreational therapy along with other therapeutic initiatives.

Zito said the third floor component will open as soon as it's complete, in about six months.  Patients from W-2 will then be moved into the new unit and construction will begin on the second floor component, with completion scheduled for March 2010.

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