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BizTalk: A new model for primary medical care

The Buffalo News | March 9, 2018

A new model for primary medical careThe front of the Urban Family Practice office on Jefferson Avenue looks as unassuming as it gets along a nondescript strip mall on the city's East Side.

But inside, Drs. Raul Vazquez and Chet Fox are building what they see as the primary care medical practice of the future.

They're following a recipe Vazquez is using on the West Side, where he recently opened a new $6 million building that serves as the headquarters for his Urban Family Practice, as well as an assortment of newer ways to deliver and pay for care. These include value-based arrangements in which doctors and hospitals take on more of the financial risk of ensuring that their patients receive the services they need.

One of the new payment models is the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization operated in partnership with YourCare Health Plan, a Rochester insurer. The organization, which includes doctors from throughout Buffalo, is responsible for thousands of Medicaid patients in a contract that imposes quality measures and puts the doctors at financial risk for costs.

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GBUAHN Reaches 8000 Member Milestone

Buffalo Rising | February 6, 2018

Since the grand opening of its new Lower West Side facility in September 2017, Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) has been growing by leaps and bounds. As of Friday, February 1 of this year, the healthcare network has enrolled a whopping 8000 members.

The incredible growth is being attributed to myriad factors. Not only did GBUAHN build state of the art facilities, the Lower West Side campus is also conveniently located in a neighborhood that serves its primary client base. GBUAHN’s new multi-million dollar medical facility at 505 7th Street (learn more), is located directly behind 564 Niagara Street, Building 2.

GBUAHN acknowledges that its continued growth is partially due to its convenient location. But it also states that its clients appreciate the effort that goes into helping them to navigate the oft-complex Medicaid system. GBUAHN has also been making significant strides in ensuring that its patients have access to maintenance care for chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. With the help of dietitians, and other health oriented resources, the goal is to keep patients healthy, rather than seeing them rolling through the door for emergency visits. The result from all of these initiatives is a tripling of size of the healthcare network over the last five years.

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Buffalo doctor says ACA still alive despite passage of tax bill

Spectrum News | December 21, 2017

One WNY doctor says despite President Trump pronouncing the Affordable Care Act "dead" with the passage of the Republican's tax plan, the health care plan is still very much alive.

On Wednesday, Trump said the provision in the tax plan that eliminates the individual mandate effectively repeals the Affordable Care Act.

The individual mandate imposed a tax penalty on any eligible person who didn't purchase insurance.

The head of the Greater Buffalo United Accountability Healthcare Network says the individual mandate was important to funding the ACA, but most of the policy is still in place.

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News 4 Teams with Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund Committee for Telethon

WIVB Channel 4 | December 11, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It has been almost three months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.

As of Tuesday morning, only 64 percent of the island has power.

News 4 and the Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund Committee have teamed up to help the thousands of people in Puerto Rico that are still struggling.

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Health care company delivers turkeys to the needy

WKBW Channel 7 | November 21, 2017

Delivering Turkeys to the NeedyBUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - A local health care company wants to make sure everybody has enough to eat come Thanksgiving.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) bought 100 turkeys and delivered them to the front doors of some of their neediest patients on November 20th.

"Not everybody always has the access, and I think we try to do, at least, sometimes you walk into people's homes, you see how people often live, and it's surprising even here in Buffalo that we have to do this," said GBUAHN CEO Raul Vazquez.

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It’s not too late to vaccinate – GBUAHN recognizes Influenza Vaccination Week

Panorama Hispano News | November 17, 2017

GBUAHN recognizes Influenza Vaccination WeekDecember 3-9, 2017 is National Influential Vaccination Week, and the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) wants to let the public know that it’s not too late to vaccinate. At this time of the year, people may think it is too late to get a flu vaccination, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the entire flu season.

“Flu season often peaks between December and February, but activity can occur as late as May,” says Dr. Raul Vazquez, chief executive officer of GBUAHN. “At GBUAHN, we are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.”

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies that fight the flu virus to develop in the body, so it’s best to get a flu shot early.

For many people each season, the flu means a fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and miserable days spent in bed. Millions of people across the U.S. get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people actually die from the flu each year.

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The Buffalonian of the Week: Dr. Raul Vazquez, Physician and CEO at GBUAHN/GBUACO/GBUIPA

Karibu News | November 15, 2017

The Buffalonian of the WeekLeading GBUAHN/GBUACO’s is their CEO, Dr. Raul Vazquez. Originally from the Bronx in New York City, the father of four came to the city in 1985 as a medical student at the University of Buffalo’s School of Medicine and practiced medicine for 26 years. We spoke to him to discuss his work as a doctor, GBUAHN, and the medical issues his organization’s patients face.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), located on 564 Niagara Street in Buffalo, is the sixth largest Medicaid Health Home in the State of New York and the largest one outside of the New York City area. Since 2013, it has been treating patients with chronic illnesses from Buffalo’s low-income communities, including refugees and immigrants. Its ever-expanding network in its affiliated Accountable Care Organization, the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (GBUACO) brings together 500 doctors and works with organizations such as Jericho Road Ministries, Inc., Urban Medical Practice, and Kaleida Health. GBUAHN/GBUACO also employs over 200 people and has been adding 10-15 new employees to its staff every two weeks.

What made you decide to stay in Buffalo? I love Buffalo. New York City is good, but it’s just congested and I didn’t know if I wanted to raise my kids with all of it. It’s sort of city/country place. It’s a mixture. It’s not a city, it’s not country. It’s a hybrid. I like the combination of the two.

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When it comes to high blood pressure, even one small change could save your life

WKBW Channel 7 | November 15, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Creating a healthy lifestyle isn’t always the challenge, sustaining and maintaining it often times is - especially when it comes to managing serious conditions like hypertension.

Studies show high blood pressure is the leading cause of death worldwide, with close to 80 million Americans suffering from it daily. That said, it's also the second-leading cause of preventable death here in the United States - which means you can help yourself - even over the holidays.

“I opened up here, because this is where the need is. A big percentage of my patient-base is African-American and Hispanic - look where we are, this is where the need is. Two decades later, we’re stronger than ever, offering even more services and changing even more lives, he said.”

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GBUAHN now the largest Medicaid Health Home outside New York City area

Panorama Hispano News | October 31, 2017

Buffalo’s biggest health home stakes its claim among the state’s most populous region

(BUFFALO, N.Y., October 31, 2017) – The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) is now the sixth largest Medicaid Health Home in New York state. Western New York’s biggest health home has the largest membership outside health homes located in the New York City area. Latest data from the New York State Department of Health shows only health homes located in the Hudson River area, Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx have larger memberships than GBUAHN. GBUAHN now has 7,567 members and is larger than two health homes located in the Bronx. In addition, GBUAHN is the first and only health home organization in New York State to achieve National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition for case management.

“Buffalo can be proud that we care so much about our citizens that GBUAHN is leading the way in Western New York when it comes to keeping people of all socio-economic groups healthy,” said GBUAHN CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez. “We are breaking down barriers to health care that many low income individuals face and we are making them healthier, improving the overall wellness of our city and region.”

Medicaid Health Homes were established under the Affordable Care Act to provide care coordination for Medicaid recipients with two or more chronic health conditions or a single qualifying condition such as a serious mental health condition or HIV/AIDS.

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Head of WNY healthcare network speaks out on federal response to Maria

Spectrum News | September 30, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- One local doctor with family ties to Puerto Rico is speaking out about the response to the disaster on the U.S. Island.

"There' s a lot of Puerto Ricans in this state, not just in New York City, and a lot of us, when it's our island, we're gonna come out. We're all American, but we're also very proud Puerto Ricans to help our own,” said Raul Vasquez. MD. GBUAHN President.

For Dr. Raul Vasquez the disaster in Puerto Rico is not just a humanitarian crisis, it's personal. He has many family members on the U.S. island and worries about the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria.

“We've got FEMA we've got entities that are responding to this type of situation, and this is America, we've done this many, many, many times, and to come and see through some of the TV stations that are finally bringing information home and being able to talk to some of our family members on different parts of the island, to find out that we haven't done enough. We're back into a Katrina model. Which is a role model," said Vasquez.

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New facility creating a “medical neighborhood” in Buffalo’s lower West Side

WBFO 88.7 | September 22, 2017

Medical NeighborhoodA new integrated medical facility is serving thousands of Buffalo-area residents by building a community based around health care.

Through the front doors of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network’s new building on Niagara Street is a reception desk that could be found in any other medical practice in the city. But what surrounds it in the rest of the 40,000 square foot building is what sets the facility apart.

Primary care and specialty medicine, care coordinators, and executives fill the first through third floors of the facility. In the basement, community health workers and a wellness center round out the amenities. Within the next month, an already-built pharmacy and lab are expected to come online as well.

The $6-million facility at 564 Niagara Street is expected to infuse $11-million into Buffalo’s lower West Side economy. When asked how, GBAHN founder and CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez has a simple response: “jobs.”

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$6 million medical center unveiled on West Side

WGRZ Channel 2 | September 21, 2017

BUFFALO, NY — A ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening unveiled the largest construction project on Buffalo's Lower West Side in 25 years.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network celebrated the grand opening of its new $6 million, 40-000-square-foot building. The new GBUAHN's new facility in the 500 block of Niagara Street is expected to pump $11 million into the local economy annually.

The state-of-the-art medical clinic offers primary, behavioral and wellness care to people in the community.

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New $6 million health center one of largest West Side projects

The Buffalo News | September 20, 2017

Medical NeighborhoodA new office for a physician practice at 564 Niagara St. is now seeing patients – and it represents some big changes.

The $6 million, 40,000-square-foot building that houses the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network is one of the largest projects on the city's lower West Side in recent years.

Physicians and other health care providers in the group who work there also are early adopters of newer medical group arrangements for coordinating patient care, and paying doctors for the quality, not just the quantity, of care they provide.

The building brings together in one place a host of services from different providers, including primary care, medical specialties, wellness and fitness programs, and behavioral health, said Dr. Raul Vazquez, the network's president and chief executive officer.

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Innovative West Side medical facility preparing for grand opening

WBFO 88.7 | August 22, 2017

GBUAHN Health Facility!A new integrated medical facility for Buffalo’s West Side neighborhood is nearing its grand opening after a year of construction.

It’s been just over one year since ground was broken at 505 7th Street, where the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization aims to bring together wellness with primary care, behavioral health, and other support services.

“There’s a lot of wellness you’re going to see in terms of the exercise equipment and samba classes, and yoga classes,” said GBUACO President and CEO Dr. Raul Vazquez. “The health coaching, the teaching, the group sessions on the bottom floor. The first floor, the primary care and behavioral health integration – which is unique to the area – is going to be really great for patients. It’s a lot more room, very comfortable. Second floor: specialties and the care coordinator that we’re working with, [Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network].”

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ECMC Emergency Department Adds ‘Health Home’ Services

Millennium Collaborative Care | August 18, 2017

ECMC Adds ‘Health Home’ ServicesOn Aug. 1, the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Emergency Department (ED) began offering Health Home services to Medicaid clients who visit the ECMC ED.

This new Health Home access has been made possible thanks to the leadership of Lucia Rossi, MAOL. Director of Outpatient Operations Primary Care, ECMC; and the collaborative efforts of ECMC ED team members and three leading area Health Home organizations including Health Home Partners of WNY; Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), and BestSelf Recovery Community.

“Staff and providers in both inpatient and outpatient settings, are working diligently and passionately every day inside the walls of their organizations to provide their patients with the highest level of care and compassion, only to be met with barriers that their patients are experiencing outside in their everyday lives,” explained Lucia Rossi. “Integrating Health Homes into our organization will create a bond with our patients out in the community that will undoubtedly enhance their healthcare and overall quality of life.”.

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Ridesharing service to help with medical transport

WIVB Channel 4 Buffalo | August 3, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Currently up and running is one-of-a kind program, still in its infancy, that’s using ridesharing services to take people to and from their medical appointments.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization is teaming up with other medical providers in Erie County and Lyft — and they say it could save them millions of dollars.

A 30- to 60-day pilot program is underway to help transport patients during the hours not covered by traditional medical transport.

The idea is to cut in half for their patients the nearly 2 million dollars spent every quarter on emergency room visits.

Lyft would also drive patients to preventative medical visits, which would save money in the long run.

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Buffalo-based health care company partnering with Lyft for better care, cheaper costs

WBFO 88.7 | August 2, 2017

For a group of Medicaid patients in Buffalo, getting to medical care is about to get easier, more efficient, and less expensive. The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization is now partnered with ride-hailing service Lyft to provide its most frequent users of emergency rooms and in-patient care with rides to more appropriate alternatives.

Chief Executive Officer Dr. Raul Vazquez said GBUACO was looking for a different approach to managing its “top utilizers” – 30 patients that use emergency rooms and in-patient care centers more than any of the company’s 10,000 clients.

As a Medicaid accountable care organization, GBUACO has a contract with Western New York-based health care company YourCare for a value-based pilot program – the only one in Upstate New York, according to Vazquez. The more GBUACO creates savings and meets metrics for quality, the more money gets returned to their network. That’s where ride-hailing service Lyft can be of assistance.

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Lyft partners with WNY Medicaid providers to offer free rides

The Buffalo News | August 2, 2017

Free Rides!A Western New York health collaboration that advocates value-based care has teamed up with the Lyft ride-hailing service to provide free rides to Medicaid patients who use affiliated services.

“The major reason our Medicaid patients miss doctors’ appointments is because they cannot find an efficient mode of transport,” said Dr. Raul Vazquez, chief executive officer of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization. “This partnership with Lyft enables our care coordinators to arrange rides for our patients that are cheaper, faster and oftentimes more comfortable and reliable.”

The accountable care organization announced Wednesday that it will offer free rides to patients who need to visit any of its network providers.

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Lyft to provide free rides to GBUACO patients

WKBW Channel 7 Buffalo | August 2, 2017

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization announced a new partnership Wednesday that will allow it to move "more patients, more swiftly."

GBUACO is teaming up with Lyft to provide free rides for patients. The deal was inked shortly after the ridesharing company was approved to operate in Western New York.

Care coordinators will set up rides for GBUACO network patients utilizing Lyft Concierge. Concierge is a third-party web application that allows the health care provider to arrange rides online on behalf of individuals who may not have the technology, or the ability, to do it themselves.

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Lyft partners with Buffalo healthcare agency to transport patients

Buffalo Business First | August 2, 2017

Low- and moderate-income residents who are Medicaid clients of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organizations may now get a free 'Lyft' for medical appointments.

In a just-inked deal between GBUACO and the ride-sharing provider Lyft, the agency’s Medicaid patients may schedule free rides for medical appointments, helping to ease a problem where some bypassed doctor’s visits because of transportation issues.

Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization is one of the first healthcare companies in the Buffalo Niagara region to provide such a service through Lyft.

“Our partnership with GBUACO will help remove transportation barriers and provide reliable, on-demand rides to patients who need it,” said Gyre Renwick, Lyft head of health care partnerships.

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2017 Who's Who in Health Care

Buffalo Business First | July 29, 2017

Welcome to Who’s Who in Health Care, your source for information about the men and women who are involved in the well-being of Western New Yorkers.

Business First invited doctors, medical professionals, CEOs, financial executives, medical company CEOs and office management to be part of this feature.

In addition to biographical information, we asked what we thought was a pertinent question: “What’s the best part of your job?” We hope you’ll enjoy a look at these medical professionals.

Read more See Who's Who List

Construction Watch: GBUAHN Health Facility

Buffalo Rising | July 6, 2017

GBUAHN Health Facility!A $5 million, 40,000-square-foot medical facility is nearing completion at 505 7th Street. Once open, the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) medical facility, an extension of Urban Family Practice, will be the “singular largest commercial development on the lower West Side in the last 25 years” according to the healthcare providers.

Taking a look at the building’s layout, the main entranceway is situated in the rear of the structure, facing Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street. Parking is also situated in back.

After 20 years servicing the medical needs of the lower West Side, Urban Family Practice set out to expand its medical offerings via the new facility on 7th Street. Once open, the expanded practice anticipates on providing medical care for 50,000 people a year.

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Healthcare Network CEO Says Some Good May Come From Effort to Repeal Affordable Care Act

Time Warner Cable News | December 2016

Some Good May ComeDr. Raul Vasquez is the head of Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. It is one of the biggest healthcare networks in the region.

Many of its clients get healthcare thanks to the Affordable Care Act. But now with the future of the act in jeopardy, many people are worried.

"21 million people aren't going to lose their insurance tomorrow. That's not the way this country functions and we have a lot of legal and a lot of. The way I see it is you get into a room, and then once you're inside the room you see what's inside the room. I think Trump hasn't seen that room yet. And when he gets in, he's going to see the limitations he has in terms of the amount of changes that he can bring forth," said Vasquez.

Vasquez says while it is unlikely the Republican-controlled Congress will be able to do away with the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, he does see some major changes coming.

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An Innovative Medical Practice is Blooming on Buffalo’s West Side

The Buffalo News | October 2016

YourCare Partners with GBUACODr. Raul Vazquez had never visited Buffalo when he applied to the University at Buffalo’s medical school 30 years ago. Today he’s one of the area’s most active physician-entrepreneurs.

The Fordham University graduate grew up in the projects in the South Bronx, the son of parents from Puerto Rico. He was drawn to studying medicine after seeing his Uncle Joe Gonzalez, and their neighbors, struggle to get the proper care for their asthma and other ailments amid a language barrier, poverty and limited access to transportation.

Vazquez flew up to Buffalo on the old People Express airline – “You paid on the plane. Thirty-five dollars round-trip.” – and never left. “I was energized. I said, ‘This is where I want to go,’ ” he recalled.

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Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations: State Update

Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. | September 2016

With the imminent launch of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (ACO), New York is the 10th state to implement a Medicaid ACO program. This CHCS fact sheet describes the components of Medicaid ACO programs and details the state-based Medicaid ACO programs currently underway in 10 states. It also shares promising results from four state Medicaid ACOs -- Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, and Vermont.

Across the country, states are exploring the viability of Medicaid accountable care organizations (ACOs) that align provider and payer incentives to focus on value instead of volume, with the goal of keeping patients healthy and costs manageable. To date, 10 states have launched Medicaid ACO programs, and six more are actively pursuing them.

This fact sheet from the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) walks through current progress for Medicaid ACOs. It provides a definition for ACO and describes how emerging state programs are seeking to drive accountability through three key activities: (1) implementing a value-based payment structure; (2) measuring quality improvement; and (3) collecting and analyzing data. It also provides a glimpse of some early state successes.

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YourCare partners with physician providers on new pilot

Buffalo Business First | September 20, 2016

YourCare Partners with GBUACOYourCare Health Plan has signed on as the first health plan to participate in a new accountable care organization program in Buffalo aimed at helping reduce costs and improve care for Medicaid recipients.

The Rochester-based health plan, which serves 55,000 individuals on government health plans like Medicaid and Medicare, signed a three-year agreement Tuesday to partner with the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization as it develops the state’s first Medicaid accountable care organization.

The ACO model brings together groups of health care providers, insurers and community groups to coordinate care for members with a goal of reducing costs and improving health care outcomes. GBUACO received approvals last month from the state Department of Health and is now working to sign up partners and members. Its provider network also includes physicians associated with the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, MASH, Dent Neurologic Institute and Western New York Medical Group.

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Greater Buffalo United Independent Practice Association lands State’s first health value program

Panorama Hispano News | September 14, 2016

State’s first health value programThe Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, an affiliate of the Greater Buffalo United Independent Practice Association, was authorized by the state Department of Health last month as the state’s first Accountable Care Organization, a model that pays groups of providers to work together to reduce costs and increase health care outcomes.

How ACOs work

  • Local health care providers and hospitals volunteer to work together to provide you with coordinated care.
  • The doctors and other providers who are helping care for you will communicate with each other, and partner with you in making health care decisions.
  • You may spend less time filling out medical history paper work because your doctors may already have this information in an electronic health record.
  • You’ll likely have fewer repeated medical tests because your doctors and hospitals will share information and coordinate your care.
  • You’ll be in the center of care, and your doctors will be better able to keep you informed, and to keep listening and honoring your choices.

Unlike HMOs, managed care, or some insurance plans, an ACO can’t tell you which health care providers to see and can’t change your Medicare or private insurance benefits.

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New Health Care Group Aims to Streamline Services

Time Warner Cable News | September 9, 2016

Streamlining ServicesBUFFALO, N.Y. – A local doctor announced a new organization Thursday that could help make finding and delivering health care services more convenient.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, or GBUACO, was revealed by Dr. Raul Vazquez, who runs the Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street.

"With GBUACO as an accountable care organization, we take on that duty to manage, to make sure that that patient, when they have a particular problem, they get taken care of at the right place at the right time with the right people," said Vazquez.

The New York State Department of Health authorized GBUACO to operate as a Medicaid and commercial insurance accountable health organization. Vazquez says that will free up doctors to better treat patients.

"You're kind of becoming a physician again,” said Vazquez. “Our description of an [accountable health organization] is kind of eliminating the barriers so that when a doctor says they need a drug, or a test, or whatever it is, it just gets done.”

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New health care organization opens in Buffalo

WBFO 88.7 | September 8, 2016

New health care organizationA new patient-centered healthcare organization is opening in Buffalo.

The President and CEO of Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, Dr. Raul Vazquez says, the group's focus is on increasing quality of services and patient satisfaction.

Vazquez says, doctors are the only prescription for managing healthcare costs not insurance companies.

"They have good ads and things like that. But when it comes down to, 'I'm the one in the room touching that person's life, not someone that's in an office,' I think that's what we're trying to do, is bring that relationship back, that's been hurt by the current system," Vazquez said.

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Clock Ticking for Lead Testing in All New York Elementary Schools

Time Warner Cable News | September 8, 2016

The Clock Is TickingBUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new measure, signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, requires all New York state schools to test water for lead contamination. It's a persistent problem in Buffalo and across Erie County.

Doctors say lead exposure can cause neurological impairments in children.

"Water quality is key," said Cuomo, D-New York. "The more we learn about our water, in all different dimensions, the more we have reason to be concerned, frankly.

"We want to start with our children, make sure our children are safe. That starts with testing the water that is actually in the schools and coming out of the fountains."

Elementary schools must complete lead testing by the end of September. Schools with older children have until the end of October. Buildings found to have high levels of lead will have to implement plans to fix the problem.

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Buffalo Health Group Lands State's First Medicaid Value Program

Buffalo Business First | September 8, 2016

NY State's First ProgramA Buffalo group is among the first groups in New York state to pilot a new value-based payments program for Medicaid recipients.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, an affiliate of the Greater Buffalo United Independent Practice Association, was authorized by the state Department of Health last month as an accountable care organization, a model that pays groups of providers to work together to reduce costs and increase health care outcomes.

It’s part of a new pilot program that brings together health care providers and Medicaid managed care organizations to coordinate care for patients.

The group ultimately will receive financial incentives for reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and duplicative costs for Medicaid patients in the same way that federal ACO programs work for Medicare patients. Catholic Medical Partners operates the region’s only ACO through the federal program through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The program has seen mixed results in the programs first three years.

The GBUACO will include 140 Buffalo-area providers, including physician providers at the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. The program will accept both ACO and commercial payment models.

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Medical group that caters to Medicaid plans $5 million facility on West Side

The Buffalo News | August 4, 2016

$5 Million FacilityA fast-growing three-year-old health care organization that helps low-income Medicaid patients in Buffalo obtain medical services is seeking to consolidate its administrative and health care workers in a new building to be constructed on the city’s West Side.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, or GBUAHN, wants to build a four-level, 40,000-square-foot medical office building on Seventh Street to house its community health workers, patient advocates, doctors and staff, who are now scattered in several locations around the city. The $5 million project would be located at 505 Seventh St., directly behind the Urban Family Practice facility at 564 Niagara St., which is also run by GBUAHN’s CEO, Dr. Raul Vazquez.

If approved by the city’s Planning Board at its meeting on Monday, officials hope to break ground July 27, with hopes for a spring 2017 completion and opening.

Founded and officially designated in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act, GBUAHN is a Medicaid “health home,” created to work with patients who have at least two chronic illnesses – such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease – or serious mental illnesses, and who need help getting through the health care system to receive care. The program coordinates care, provides transportation and other services, and even helps them find food, clothing and shelter if needed. According to Vazquez, as many as 130,000 of the 204,000 Medicaid recipients in Erie County would qualify for “health home” services.

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Buffalo's Lower West Side will be home to $5 million integrated medical care facility

WBFO 88.7 | August 3, 2016

Groundbreaking!Buffalo’s Lower West Side is now the future home of a $5 million integrated medical facility. Groundbreaking for the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network’s newest project took place Wednesday afternoon in a grass and gravel lot on Seventh Street.

GBUAHN Chief Executive Officer Dr. Raul Vazquez said the planned 40,000 square-foot building will combine elements of health and wellness never before seen together in the West Side community.

“We’ll have nutritional classes, we’re putting about a quarter-million dollars in exercise equipment for employees and members. We have our community health workers that are going to help people with disease management and health coaching on that floor. The first floor on top is primary care and behavioral. Those two systems have never really worked together and a lot of the costs of ER and in-patient care has been because of that,” said Vazquez.

Vazquez said that with the reduction in ER and in-patient care the facility will provide, those lowered costs will be seen by Medicaid, insurance companies, and individual patients that GBUAHN works with. The facility will also house a cancer treatment center, nutrition services, a pharmacy, ambulatory csurgery center, imaging center, laboratory, 24-hour call center, and GBUAHN’s administrative offices.

“We’re tying in, not just managing a patient in the office. We’re managing in this community, creating these medical neighborhoods, which I find are crucial,” said Vazquez. He believes having all of a patient’s needs taken care of under one roof is the answer for effective healthcare.

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GBUAHN Health Facility to Break Ground

Buffalo Rising | July 29, 2016

New Facility!Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) has scheduled a groundbreaking for its $5 million, 40,000-square-foot medical facility. Shovels will go in the ground on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, (12:00 noon) at 505 7th Street on the city’s lower West Side. According to GBUAHN, this is the singular largest commercial development on the lower West Side in the last 25 years. The medical campus will offer residents a full range of healthcare services, to a neighborhood that is purportedly lacking in such amenities.

"The building will feature a variety of physicians’ and specialists’ offices, a cancer treatment center, nutrition services, a fitness and wellness center, pharmacy, ambulatory surgery center, imaging center, laboratory, and a 24-hour call center."

“This will be an exciting addition to our community,” said Raul Vazquez, MD, GBUAHN chief executive officer. “It will help decrease the fragmented healthcare that has been at our end of the city for a long time.”

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West Side medical practice preps $5M expansion

Buffalo Business First | July 28, 2016

$5M ExpansionIt took three years and as many different designs, but a medical practice expansion on Buffalo’s West Side is finally ready to begin.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network will break ground Aug. 3 on a 40,000-square-foot, two-story addition to its existing site on 7th Street. With a project cost of $5 million, the expansion will bring a series of services together in one site that are now scattered around at eight GBUAHN practice sites in the city.

The original plan, filed with city officials in 2013, called for spending $2 million on a 17,600-square-foot expansion.

That plan was scaled up last summer to a $10 million, three-story facility based on the success of the practice’s home health program. The plan also called for two additional expansions at other GBUAHN sites in Lackawanna and on the East Side, where the practice wanted to add 20,000 square feet. But funding from a state capital grants program failed to materialize, which led to the decision to focus on the West Side first, said Dr. Raul Vazquez, CEO at GBUAHN.

“Instead of doing all three at one time, we’re going to do this one, finish and then start the others,” he said. “I’d rather end up with a great product and not get caught up in the plan.”

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

TWC News | July 8, 2016

Visual Change in BuffaloBUFFALO, 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.

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"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.

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