Buffalo General to convert ER

June 24, 2014 Updated Jun 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM EDT

By Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First Reporter

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Buffalo General to convert ER

June 24, 2014 Updated Jun 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM EDT


Buffalo General Medical Center is adding a "safe room" in its emergency department to better treat patients with behavioral health issues.

The project calls for converting a bay in the ER by adding safety doors and hardware, as well as covering medical gases and eliminating sharp corners and strangulation hazards.

The certificate-of-need application, which requires only a limited review by the State Department of Health, would allow for better care for patients with mental health concerns.

Kaleida Health, Buffalo General's parent, said in the application the safe room will allow the hospital to more safely and effectively treat patients with acute behavioral health concerns.

"Although BGMC has recently decertified all behavior health inpatient beds, as a large urban hospital with a history of caring for those with behavioral health concerns, patients still occasionally present to the BGMC ED seeking behavioral health care," it said.

Buffalo General closed its 91-bed behavioral health unit last summer after teaming up with Erie County Medical Center to create the 180-bed Regional Behavioral Health Center of Excellence on the ECMC campus. Both Kaleida and ECMC are overseen by the Great Lakes Health System.