Another Way Affordable Care Act Could Bring About Visual Change in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As a health navigator for the Greater Buffalo United Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), Hannah Bourque has about 90 clients she works with to help find the medical services they need.

"We reach out to all of our members every month to try to touch base talk to them, get anything that they need. We also meet with them on a monthly basis at their home at their providers office. They come into the office, I talk their calls, whatever comes up we try to tackle it that day head on," said Bourque.

Since it was launched three years back, under the Affordable Care Act, GBUAHN helped match thousands of Buffalo and Erie County residents with health care services they need.

"In terms of our members, we're just short of 6,000 right now," said GBUAHN CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez, MD, who said its the 7th largest of its kind in the state. Vazquez says with 160 staff members already, GBUAHN is adding about 20 new people every month.

That's why GBUAHN is looking to expand. Vazquez wants to build a four-story, 40,000 square foot medical office on Seventh Street right behind the Urban Family Practice building on Niagara Street in Buffalo. Vazquez says the new building will allow consolidating all services under one roof.   

''We hope to kind of at least consolidate some of the patient health navigators and the community health workers right integrated with patient care. And I think that's unique and very important in order to really provide the kind of car that we've always wanted to do," said Vazquez.

Vazquez says the $5 million project would be self-funded by GBUAHN, would create up to 100 new jobs and inject about $11 million a year into the local economy.

With approval from the city's planning board, officials could break ground on July 27 with hopes of opening the new facility in spring of 2017.

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