Kaleida Health Board of Directors Endorses Move of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital to Medical Campus

Updated: 2/6/2008

Three steering committees announced; will guide the transition


From left to right: Dr. Hashmat Ashraf, Dr. Ken Pearson, Edward F. Walsh, Jr., Dr. William Boden, and Dr. David Janicke discuss plans to move the clinical services and programs of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Kaleida Health Board of Directors officially approved plans to move the clinical services and programs of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The action was taken at the board’s meeting on Monday night.

“We are at another exciting moment in Kaleida Health’s history,” said Edward F. Walsh, Jr., Chair of the Kaleida Health Board of Directors. “Ten years ago next month, we created the preeminent health care provider with the merger of Buffalo General, DeGraff, Millard and Children’s Hospitals. This is the next and natural evolution for our organization. We truly believe that we are on the brink of a new era for health care in Western New York.”

“For the past year, we have outlined a physician-led vision to create a better health care delivery system for Western New York,” said James R. Kaskie, President and CEO of Kaleida Health. “We outlined a plan, a timetable and the need for funding. Our organization was willing to evolve if it meant making what we have today, even better. The Department of Health’s recent endorsement and $65 million in funding for that vision will now allow us to make reform, a reality.”

Kaskie says that includes planning for a new academically oriented medical center on the medical campus, integrating the key programs and personnel of Buffalo General and Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospitals. The project is expected to exceed $100 million.

A new medical center would serve as Kaleida Health’s flagship tertiary site. It would have approximately 600 patient beds with 30 operating rooms, 16 catheterization, angiography and electrophysiology labs, plus 4 CTs, 4 MRIs and a new emergency department.

Kaleida Health’s “new facility” would account for more than 26,000 discharges and 63,000 emergency department visits. There would be no new capacity, rather a consolidation of services and reduction in duplication.

The goal would be to renovate the tower (built in 1986) of the current Buffalo General Hospital plus build new infrastructure in the surrounding neighborhood of High, Ellicott, and Goodrich streets.

“The medical executive committee has endorsed this plan and is extremely excited about the opportunity,” said Evan Evans, M.D., a general surgeon in private practice, a voluntary clinical assistant professor at SUNY-UB, a member of the Kaleida Health board of directors and the president of the 1,800 member Kaleida Health Medical-Dental staff. “Physicians have had a voice in this process and will be assisting in the transformation of our health care delivery system.”

Hashmat Ashraf, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery for Kaleida Health and a practicing physician at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital said, “This is a golden opportunity to build a comprehensive medical campus for the Western New York community for which the coming generations will be proud. Therefore, it is our responsibility to do it right."

“If the proposed complex is done right, it could very well be the most wonderful thing to happen to Western New York,” said L. Nelson “Nick” Hopkins, the chief of neurosurgery at Kaleida Health. “We are striving to build a world-class medical facility that can compete with the finest in the country."

Kaleida Health also announced three steering committees that will guide the transition:

• Clinical Operations – In existence for more than one year, this physician-led committee is driving the programmatic and clinical decisions of the integration. Donald Boyd, the president of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, is chairing it.

• Employee Relations - Will guide the labor issues for the affected workforces at both Millard Gates and Buffalo General hospitals. Kaleida Health’s chief operating officer, Connie Vari, will chair this committee.

• Facility Re-use - Will determine the best re-use of the Millard Fillmore Gates circle site. Michael P. Hughes, Kaleida Health’s vice president for public affairs, will serve as chair.

David Palmer, Area Director for the Communication Workers of America Local 1168 said, “This is an exciting vision for Western New York. CWA supports plans to relocate Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital services to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Doing so will improve Kaleida Health's already strong quality of care while preserving the jobs that our area needs.”

George Kennedy, Executive Vice President of 1199/SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East said, “1199/SEIU commends the management team and the system's broader community for proposing this exciting plan and we look forward to working to make it a reality. Kaleida Health has articulated a strong commitment to its workforce as part of this plan: no job loss as a result of Berger mandates. The working relationship between labor and management continues to improve and we look forward to further collaboration in the coming months.”

In January, the state department of health awarded Kaleida Health $65 million toward the relocation of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital’s key services such as stroke, cardiac, and geriatrics. It was the largest HEAL-NY award in New York State.

James G. Corasanti, M.D., Ph.D., a gastroenterology specialist with the Buffalo Medical Group said, “The concept of bringing together, in a new state-of-the art facility, the technologies, programs and talented physicians that have traditionally remained segregated by a few miles, is enticing to the practicing physicians at both institutions.”

In July of 2007, Kaleida Health unveiled a physician-led collaborative vision that would evolve the organization -– in partnership with the community -– into an even more vibrant integrated healthcare delivery system. The plan would transform major components of the current system into centers of excellence on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus while developing a robust ambulatory system that improves the overall health of the community.

“The relocation of Gates hospital to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will further strengthen our programs and help create a first class medical center for patient care, teaching and research,” said Kevin Gibbons, MD, a neurosurgeon who is the program director and vice chair for the department of neurological surgery for University of Buffalo. “Although transitions can be difficult, the result will be better healthcare for the patients of Western New York.”

“The integration of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle and Buffalo General Hospitals onto the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will create an unprecedented flagship health care facility in Western New York,” said Kenneth Pearson, M.D., the chief of radiology for Kaleida Health. “It will set the new standard for comprehensive clinical care, advanced research applications and academic training services.”

The new healthcare delivery system would also become a strong partnership among the private practice and academic physicians, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, local HMOs, and various community, healthcare and not-for-profit agencies.

“We need a medical center in Western New York,” said John Corbelli, M.D., a cardiologist who practices at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital. “Our physicians, medical staff and administration have come together and made a commitment to see that it happens. We want to create a center of excellence that patients throughout the region will benefit from. It's going to be a tremendous effort, but we stand committed to making it a reality."

Kaleida Health has been working on healthcare reform issues for more than two years. The comprehensive vision and plan was developed with the input of more than 75 physicians who are active at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle, DeGraff Memorial and Buffalo General Hospitals, as well as the University of Buffalo.

In addition, the organization has worked closely over that same timeframe with labor and University of Buffalo leadership, held numerous employee focus groups, plus sought input from the business community, HMOs, not-for-profit and community leaders.

The vision and strategy complements Kaleida Health’s strengthening of programs and services at Women & Children’s Hospital (planning a $100 ambulatory project), the $64 million expansion of Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, the continued growth of the Visiting Nursing Association, the continuation of essential services at DeGraff Memorial, the strong shared corporate services located at the Larkin Building, and other robust programs serving the community such as ambulatory care, labs and long-term care.

Contact Information:
Michael P. Hughes
Phone: (716) 859-8066