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Seneca Nation, Memorial sign healthcare agreement

Seneca Nation of Indians, Memorial Medical
Center sign healthcare provider agreement

The Seneca Nation of Indians and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical have signed an agreement that will allow Memorial to provide medical services to Seneca Nation members.

The pact is effective immediately and will allow Nation Members to receive medically necessary hospital services when authorized by a Nation physician.

"Niagara Falls Memorial is pleased to be able to offer health care to the Seneca Nation," said President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. "Nation members, many of whom work nearby at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, will now have access to all of our services including those at The Heart Center of Niagara, the Diabetes & Endocrinology Center of Niagara and the Brain & Spine Center of Niagara."

Seneca Nation President Maurice A. John said the agreement with Memorial will not only make it more convenient for casino employees to receive care but help all Nation members to receive specialized healthcare services in a timely manner.

"We welcome Memorial as a healthcare partner," President John said. "This is another shining example of how good neighbors can work together to improve the quality of life for us all."
Ruffolo said Memorial will work closely with the Seneca Nation Health Department to schedule blocks of appointments that make it convenient for the Nation to transport members here for care from both the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations.

The agreement is the culmination of a series of meetings held at Memorial and the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Health Center in Irving during the past year. Those visits pointed up the lack of access for Nation members to many of the same specialized services that Memorial offers, including non-invasive diagnostic testing (PET scanning and CT angiography) for coronary artery disease.

Ruffolo said the agreement is a significant milestone in a partnership that already includes the provision of occupational health services for Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel employees, monthly health fairs at the casino and hotel, and medical supervision for the casino and hotel's dedicated EMT staff.

In addition, a ranking member of the Seneca Nation Health Department has held a seat on the hospital's governing board for the past several years and Memorial's allotted portion of the local share of Seneca Niagara Casino revenue will be used to further improve community health services.

Ruffolo and President John also pledged to work together to revitalize downtown Niagara Falls and to attract developers interested in building new, market rate housing that will provide convenient, quality residences for the growing staffs of the casino, hotel and medical center.

"The Seneca Nation and Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel will play an important role in the city's future." John said. "By working together with important community partners like Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, we can ensure that the significant investments we have made and will continue to make will generate maximum benefits for the residents of the community."

"This is just the beginning," Ruffolo said. "We embrace a shared vision that includes the transformation of the entire neighborhood between here and the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel ... from Pine Avenue to Niagara Street ... from Fourth Street to 10th Street and beyond. It is appropriate that such a vision should be shared by our city's two biggest catalysts for economic growth -- the Seneca Nation of Indians and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center."


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