UBMD Physicians’ Group is starting to move into the Conventus building downtown, centralizing in one location more than 100 doctors from the big medical group on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
UBMD, which formed in 2005, is the umbrella organization for 18 separate medical specialty practices whose more than 500 doctors are affiliated with the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The group also includes 1,200 other health professionals and staff.
Twelve of its medical practices are moving into Conventus at 1001 Main St.: dermatology, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, obstetrics-gynecology, orthopaedics and sports medicine, pathology, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery and urology. Neurology and OB-GYN moved this week. Pediatrics is set to move in two weeks. The others are expected to be in the building within the next eight weeks.
"To have our doctors centered in one place is cost-efficient and convenient for patients, especially those who have multiple appointments with different specialists or who we find need to see another specialist when they come in," said Dr. Kevin Gibbons, executive director of UBMD and a neurosurgeon with UB Neurosurgery.
The seven-story Conventus building was designed as a link between Medical Campus institutions, with direct connections to UB’s new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and to the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, both under construction. The pediatric hospital is, in turn, connected to Buffalo General Medical Center and the Gates Vascular Institute.
UBMD doctors take care of patients, teach medical students and residents and do research, so the move to the Medical Campus, along with a new medical school, represents a significant change after decades of operating in separate locations.
Taken together, the developments on the Medical Campus are the culmination of efforts to improve care, medical education and encourage research and life science startups in a community that lacked a medical school with its own major teaching hospital.
"Being under one roof is also important for the doctors because now they will work and learn together in a clinic model," Gibbons said. "There are doctors I have had working relationships with for years but rarely or never met. Now, we'll be meeting."
Gibbons said the benefits of the relocation also extend to the education of medical students, residents and those in fellowships.
"We train 75 percent of the doctors who practice in Western New York," he said, noting the advantage of the physical connections to the hospitals and medical school.
"This move is integral to the advancement of our multi-specialty program and our patient care,” Dr. Teresa Quattrin, president and chief executive officer of UBMD Pediatrics, said in a statement. “Caring for patients on the same floor with 11 of our sister UBMD practices creates a new synergy within UBMD as it can enhance and allow for the transition of our pediatric patients to the adult care providers."
The proportion of physicians in solo or two-physician practices has decreased over the last few decades, as more doctors moved to practice in single- or multiple-specialty groups, or as employees of hospitals. The reasons are varied, including desire for a better lifestyle, improved patient care, greater complexity of administration, cost efficiency and negotiating leverage.
Some of the remaining six UBMD specialty practices may move into Conventus in the future, Gibbons said. But some will not because of the nature and needs of the specialties, such as emergency medicine and nuclear medicine.
The physicians now work at dozens of locations, including hospitals and clinics that UBMD physicians staff, as well as in medical offices throughout the Buffalo area. Gibbons said it's not entirely clear what will happen to the sites the groups are moving from. Some will remain open and others will close, depending on the type of service, location and lease.
To keep patients informed about the move, UBMD launched a website, www.ubmdconventus.com, that includes details on parking, public transportation and other issues.
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