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Kaleida Health, UB Break Ground on Vascular Treatment, Research and Technology Building

Architectural rendering of the future Kaleida Health/UB building.

Published August 3, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The effort to transform Buffalo into a world-class health care destination and expand the University at Buffalo's campus in downtown Buffalo took a major step forward today as Kaleida Health and UB broke ground for a new 10-story global vascular institute and research building.

The $291-million combined facility, to be located next to Buffalo General Hospital at Goodrich and Ellicott streets, will bring together Kaleida Health physicians and UB researchers in a collaborative effort to deliver state-of-the-art clinical care, produce major breakthroughs on the causes and treatment of vascular disease and spin-off new biotechnology businesses and jobs.

"Today marks a new era for health care delivery in Western New York," said James R. Kaskie, the president and CEO of Kaleida Health. Kaskie also serves as president and CEO of Great Lakes Health, the governing body overseeing the integration of Kaleida Health and the Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC).

Kaskie added, "Through a physician-led process, we have delivered on reform and, just as important, set the stage to build the preeminent flagship medical center in upstate New York. Our new global vascular institute is destined to be the heart of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, with improved quality and better access for the patients that we serve."

"This is a major milestone for UB and for Buffalo," said UB President John B. Simpson. "This collaborative endeavor greatly advances our plans to expand UB's academic and clinical health science programs in downtown Buffalo -- a key element in our UB 2020 vision. Together with our strong clinical and research partners in the region, we are steadily transforming Buffalo into a major hub for the best in medical care, education and research, and revitalizing our region's economy in the process."

Simpson added, "As a true public-private partnership, this project owes much to the leadership of our Western New York legislative delegation. This project would not have been possible without the delegation's efforts to secure the transfer of previously approved capital construction funds to the Buffalo 2020 Development Corporation, which will allow us to move forward with our partnership with Kaleida Health."

Construction of the building, designed by Cannon Design, Architects and Engineers, is expected to take approximately two years to complete, with doors opening in late 2011. Turner Construction is the general contractor for the project.

In 2007, the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the "Berger Commission," ordered the closure of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital. Kaleida Health decided to shift the hospital's cardiovascular and stroke-related services to the soon-to-be-built facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

"We must take the necessary steps to fix our broken health care system so that all New Yorkers receive the high-quality care they need and deserve," said Governor David A. Paterson. "It is for this reason that I applaud Kaleida Health, University at Buffalo and Great Lakes Health for their vision and commitment to improving access and quality of care for the people of Western New York."

Construction of the building also helps advance the UB 2020 strategic plan, which is focused, in part, on bringing UB health sciences programs to downtown Buffalo, advancing UB's strength in the biomedical sciences and other research fields and increasing the university's economic impact in Buffalo. Expanding the UB campus in downtown Buffalo would bring an estimated 13,000 UB faculty, staff and students to downtown.

The building will house four floors of Kaleida Health's $173 million merger of its cardiac, stroke and vascular operations, plus a new and expanded emergency department. It will also house research and development facilities, including four floors for UB's $118 million Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) and a UB Biosciences Incubator.

The co-location of Kaleida Health physicians and UB researchers and faculty in the facility is expected to bring about advancements in care and treatment -- and development of new medical technologies -- that would not happen in isolation.

For Kaleida Health, the global vascular institute will consolidate heart, stroke, vascular and neurosurgery services in one location. The new building will also help fulfill Kaleida Health's vision to create a world-class, academically oriented medical center, second to none in the Northeast United States. In fact, in the coming weeks, ECMCC and Great Lakes Health plan to announce a significant investment in the global vascular institute, further consolidating heart programs in Western New York.

For UB, the Clinical and Translational Research Center will expand the university's focus on translating basic medical research into new treatments and technologies made available for patients. The Biosciences Incubator will provide laboratories and office space, and start-up services to companies spun off from UB medical discoveries. UB's incubator is expected to be at full occupancy after 2-3 years, with 130 employees. According to studies on the economic effect of biomedicine and biotechnology research, the UB CTRC and Biosciences Incubator are projected to produce an annual economic impact of $68,750,000.

Kaleida Health and UB officials say the new building will help transform Buffalo into a regional destination for excellence in health care, on par with medical research centers available in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Moreover, the collaborative work being done in the Kaleida Health-UB building will play a major role in the continued growth of a life-sciences industry in Buffalo and the creation of a knowledge-based economy leading to the creation of thousands of new jobs in the region.

The new building is made possible by a unique partnership between UB, a public university, and Kaleida Health, a private entity. This partnership is expected to save taxpayers $21 million through reduced construction costs and operational efficiencies. The building is an example of the type of projects UB is prohibited from doing on a regular basis by the state, unless it first goes through a cumbersome approval process. This is why UB is seeking the flexibility to pursue these types of public-private partnerships through the UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act, introduced into the state legislature this year by the Western New York delegation.

The new building also advances the goals of the Berger Commission, which mandated Western New York organizations to significantly improve the quality and availability of health care by ending expensive duplication of services, filling gaps in our region's health care system, recruiting top-level researchers and physicians and providing state-of-the-art training to UB medical students.

When complete, the Kaleida Health-UB facility will house nearly 600 patient beds, 30 operating rooms, 17 interventional labs for cardiac, vascular and neurosurgical procedures, as well as four CT scanners and four MRI's. It is anticipated that the new emergency department will accommodate more than 60,000 visits, while the hospital will discharge nearly 27,000 patients.

In June, Kaleida Health received two key approvals to build the facility. The New York State Department of Health's Hospital Review and Planning Council approved Kaleida Health's final certificate of need for the 10-story structure and the City of Buffalo's Planning Board unanimously approved the site plan for the project.