Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Erie County Medical Center Corp. on Friday cut the ribbon on a $27 million Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care at the hospital’s Health Campus that experts hailed as an impressive national model in the transplantation and kidney care field.
It is the first tangible clinical combination since ECMC and Kaleida Health agreed to collaborate in June 2008.
The center is comprised of the 10th floor in the main hospital and an entire floor in the new free-standing building. The center will provide dialysis and transplant services, and vascular access surgical care. The $27 million center will handle all kidney-related services including in- and out-patient dialysis.
The project received $7.5 million in the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New York Phase II grant funding in 2010.
With the combination, it becomes the only kidney and pancreas transplant center in Western New York. State Health Department officials toured the center this week and it is expected to reach full operation in the coming weeks.
“The new transplant center is truly a state-of-the-art facility for kidney patient care and transplantation. The design of the facilities makes it an outstanding patient-focused center for patient ease of access and treatment,” said Edward Y. Zavala, administrator of the Vanderbilt University Transplant Center. “There are 236 kidney transplant programs approved by the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network in the United States and this is among the newest and most comprehensive in the country.”
The Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation & Kidney Care is expected to handle 150 to 200 transplants a year. It features 36 modern hemodialysis stations; facilities for home dialysis training; out-patient and community outreach offices; clinical support spaces and room for additional dialysis stations to meet future growth needs.
In conjunction with the new building, the redesigned area dedicated to transplantation and vascular access on the hospital’s 10th floor includes doctors’ offices and patient and family reception areas; a new vascular access center for inpatients and outpatients that includes two operating rooms dedicated to vascular access procedures; a new inpatient dialysis center with six state-of-the-art stations; administrative and conference rooms.
The center is part of a five-year, $150 million growth plan on ECMC’s Health Campus. When complete, the plan will provide good-paying jobs and health-focused economic development centered in a section of Buffalo that needs jobs.
“This is another tangible step in the transformation of health care in Buffalo, and the first clinical collaboration between ECMC and Kaleida, and we couldn’t be more pleased,” said Jody L. Lomeo, ECMC’s CEO. “Opening this new transplant center is an historic accomplishment for the community. This also represents countless hours of physician-led effort in the last three years to ensure this project focused on excellence in patient care.”
“Not too long ago, most people said this was impossible. Not anymore,” Lomeo added.
With Kaleida and ECMC combining services and skilled personnel to staff this center, and because it is the only one in the region, discussions are underway with the Catholic Health System to refer patients here as well.
“This is a major milestone for our two boards, our doctors, nurses and staff, our neighbors, the Great Lakes Health board and the University at Buffalo,” said Kaleida CEO James Kaskie. “This center brings two very good programs together into one great program. We now have a nationally recognized facility to help people from all over Western New York, Southern Ontario, and the United States, cope better with kidney and pancreatic disease.”
The $150 million worth of work for the entire campus, financed in part by a capital improvements fund ECMC’s board set aside in 2009, and a 2011 bond issue, is the largest investment in Buffalo’s East Side in many years. ECMC already supports nearly 2,500 jobs here.
“I came here 26 years ago because I was told a unified kidney and pancreatic transplant center was imminent,” said Dr. Brian M. Murray, chief medical officer of ECMC and transplant program director. “This entire community will benefit from this center, the work we’ll do here, the research that will ensue here and the lives we’ll save.”
Transformation of the Health Campus, which now has 550 beds and expects to treat 65,000 ER patients in 2011, started 18 months ago. In June 2010, ECMC announced its expanded $2.9 million Emergency Department, with eight new trauma exam rooms and two new trauma surgical suites. The hospital performed 9,831 surgeries in 2009 and officials projected that to grow to 11,381 in 2011.
ECMC is home to the state’s No. 1-rated Adult Regional Trauma Center and in May 2009 opened a refurbished 12th floor surgical wing with $725,000 worth of improvements.
With an estimated overall economic impact on the region of $750 million, ECMC had total revenues in 2009 of $440 million.
In February, ECMC opened a Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center that will speed healing for trauma, surgical, diabetes and other slow-healing wounds in a unique facility for Western New York with six surgeons and three podiatrists. The Wound Center, which the hospital built in response to closure and consolidation of facilities at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle, is a new, state-of-the-art facility with two hyperbaric chambers.
An orthopedics program, including a Women’s Bone Health Center, will expand ECMC’s capabilities and further enhance the coordination of services between all of the Great Lakes Health centers. The orthopedics program will be an expansion of services in the new freestanding building and existing space on the Health Campus and is in the planning stages. A Certificate of Need for this program is expected to be filed with the Health Department soon.
Another part of the overall project is moving the Erie County Home from Alden to the ECMC Health Campus. In July, ECMC Corp. broke ground for the new $103 million, 390-bed nursing home.
The new long-term care facility, which will open in December 2012, replaces the 80-year-old Erie County nursing home in Alden. It also combines in one location existing long-term care beds from Alden and ECMC.