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Home > News Room > Transformation journey brings $8.3 million in upgrades to Memorial Medical Center

Transformation journey brings $8.3 million in upgrades to Memorial Medical Center

A determined effort to address community healthcare needs has led to series of investments totaling more than $8 million in building, equipment and technology upgrades by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Many of the improvements are either complete or in process, the latest being a million dollars of sophisticated cardiac monitoring equipment for the emergency department,  intensive care unit and telemetry floors and new fetal monitors for labor and delivery. 

The process began in 2008 when the downtown medical center commissioned a community healthcare needs assessment for western Niagara County. The hospital’s board of directors and senior administration spent the next year prioritizing those needs and strategizing a plan of attack.

The result was an 88-point, three-year business plan approved in late 2009 – a plan that is now coming to fruition.

“This is all under the umbrella of our roadmap for transformation from a traditional safety net hospital to a center for community health in collaboration with other providers.  Our goal all along has been to better meet needs of the community while positioning ourselves for healthcare reform,” Memorial President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said.

That transformation journey has led to a number of successes including:

• The establishment of primary care physician offices in Niagara Falls, Wheatfield and Grand Island.
• Establishment of an academically affiliated osteopathic family medicine residency program that provides rigorous training to post-graduate physicians.
• Collaboration with community partners in “Healthy Moms Healthy Babies,” a program that improves access to prenatal care and other services for pregnant women.
• Implementation of a computer-based bedside medication administration system that has streamlined medication management and virtually eliminated the occurrence of medication errors.  It also increases the amount of time nurses can devote to providing care at the bedside.
• A reduction in inappropriate emergency room usage and in the average length of stay for inpatients.
• The development of an outpatient renal dialysis center. 
• Improved patient satisfaction scores.

Earlier this year, Memorial partnered with DaVita, a national provider of quality kidney care, to assume responsibility for the provision of renal dialysis services on the Memorial campus. 

The medical center has worked hard to reduce expenditures and increase cash flows to support this transformation, Memorial Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee said.

“Our fiscal discipline paid dividends this week when we were able to refinance more than $14.3 million of long-term debt at a much lower interest rate,” Ms. Kee said. “We conservatively estimate that transaction will save Memorial more than $2.3 million in debt repayments over the next 24 years.”

Still to come are a number of projects for which plans are in place. Among them:

• A new $1.3 million interventional radiology suite.
• Some $400,000 in building renovations and technology upgrades, including digital mammography, at the Summit Healthplex in Wheatfield in addition to new mammography equipment at the downtown hospital.
• Upgraded laboratory equipment and ultrasound units.
• More than $1 million in repairs and upgrades to the hospital’s covered parking ramp, including the installation of new elevators and enclosed lobbies on each level.
• A $1.1 million renovation of the medical-surgical unit on the second floor of the Schoellkopf Building. (S-2)
• A $1 million renovation and expansion of the pre-op, surgery and post-operative areas.
• Installation of a new building façade, bright lighting and a covered patient drop-off/pick-up area.

Innovative patient care programs are also being developed.  Among them: an integrated center for primary care and addiction planned in partnership with Horizon Health Services.  If approved by the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services the integrated center will be the first of its kind in Niagara County.


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