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Health facility on Buffalo’s West Side approved by Planning Board

Buffalo’s West Side will get a new medical facility to provide a host of health care services for low-income residents, as the city Planning Board gave the go-ahead to an organization’s proposal.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, or GBUAHN, will construct a 40,000-square-foot building at 505 Seventh St., directly behind the Urban Family Practice office owned by GBUAHN’s founder and CEO, Dr. Raul Vazquez.

The four-story building will serve both health care and administrative functions for the organization, which helps low-income Medicaid patients obtain care and navigate the health care system.

Specifically, the plans for the $5 million project include providing primary, dental and specialty care in oncology, pediatrics, orthopedics and other fields. The plan also calls for a pharmacy, an ambulatory surgery center and an imaging center. The facility will provide space for GBUAHN’s community health workers, patient advocates and administrative staff, consolidating operations from several locations in the city.

“What we plan on doing is something that’s never been done before on the West Side of Buffalo,” said GBUAHN administrator Ralph Hernandez. “We want to bring the very best quality of care that we can muster for the residents of that area. It’s perhaps the biggest and most needed project ever to be recommended for the lower West Side.”

GBUAHN is a Medicaid “health home,” created in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act to work with patients who have at least two chronic illnesses or serious mental illnesses and who need help getting through the health care system. The program coordinates care, provides transportation and other services and even helps patients find food, clothing and shelter if needed. It employs over 160 people and continues to grow, with officials projecting adding about 100 new employees to run the facility, which will see 50,000 to 60,000 patients per year.

In response to concerns of added traffic on residential Seventh Street, the board required a sliding fence gate on the parking lot and a “Children at Play” warning sign. Officials hope to break ground July 27 and open the facility in spring 2017.