Rep. Louise Slaughter praises Memorial, 1199 SEIU
Rep. Slaughter was greeted by Ann Flack, R.N., left, and Memorial Board of Directors Chairman James C. Roscetti, right.
U.S. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-28th District (NY) lauded collaborative efforts under way at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to revamp and refocus the safety net hospital’s healthcare services in anticipation of federal healthcare reform.
In n April 7 meeting with Rep. Slaughter, officials from the medical center and 1199 SEIU, the union representing about 700 of Memorial’s 1,200 employees, voiced support for President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform agenda and outlined major initiatives they have undertaken to reinvent the way Memorial delivers quality care while strengthening the organization.
“We know the landscape of healthcare is rapidly changing,” said James C. Roscetti, chairman of the medical center’s board of directors. “We can no longer be satisfied with a system that waits for serious medical issues to present themselves before engaging the community we serve.”
Saying the key to community health lies in education and prevention, hospital officials said they have begun work on transforming Memorial from a Traditional Safety Net Community Hospital into a 21st Century Intelligent Personalized Health Care System. The hallmarks of the new Memorial will be:
• A renewed emphasis on primary and preventative care with Memorial serving as the community’s “medical home”
• Concentrated efforts to reduce lengthy emergency room stays and unnecessary admissions by utilizing such services as a 23 hour or less Chest Pain Observation Unit
“We believe our vision is also well aligned with what New York State and the federal government are looking for in healthcare reform – transforming the traditional mission of safety net hospitals by reallocating resources to where care needs to be focused,” Memorial President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said.
“We are gratified that Congresswoman Slaughter is visiting Niagara Falls today. No community in America better symbolizes the need for comprehensive health care reform than Niagara Falls, New York,” said Bruce Popper, Vice President, 1199 SEIU.
Late last year, Memorial engaged HMS Associates, a consultant specializing in network development, health related care analyses and multi-organizational development, to conduct a Western Niagara County Quantitative Community Health Needs and Service Assessment. The results of that study showed mortality rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease are significantly higher in Niagara than in other upstate counties; death rates from diabetes that are inordinately high among the poor in the city of Niagara Falls; and emergency department usage by Niagara Falls residents that is nearly twice as high as that for other Western New York communities
“The healthcare delivery systems that met everybody’s needs in 20th century no longer serve our patients’ needs and have become economically unsustainable,” said Memorial Executive Vice President & COO Anthony F. Zito. “Our goal is to reinvent the way we deliver care, working collaboratively with 1199SEIU and the community we serve to make better use of our existing resources, including our talented workforce.”
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