Thursday, June 9 marked the grand opening of the Golisano Center for Community Health at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) in Niagara Falls, New York. The 26,000 sf facility offers integrated care to adults and children with special needs, including developmentally and intellectually disabled and other at-risk individuals. Aimed at preventing the local special needs population from “slipping through the cracks” of the healthcare system, the Center includes the following components in one cross-functional building intended to promote holistic health:
- Behavioral health/primary care clinic
- Health Home program of Niagara County
- Headquarters for local social services agency Rivershore, Inc.
- Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, which provides space for multiple community agencies to work together (i.e., Child Protective Services, local police, care providers)
- Community Services Suite that provides collaborative workspace for various local programs and services (i.e., navigation program, community outreach, Cancer Services Program of Niagara County, P3 Center for Teens, Moms & Kids, and Project Runway)
- Learning Hub, which offers a multipurpose classroom and work stations for educational programs and onsite training for future care providers
Designed as a warm, inviting, barrier-free and non-institutional environment, the center seeks to address numerous population health factors that have a negative impact on behavioral health outcomes in the community. According to recent studies, high proportions of mentally ill residents don’t regularly receive treatment for their condition; chronic health conditions go largely untreated in the behavioral health population; and high emergency department utilization tends to result from the first two factors. By offering physical linkage between the Golisano Center for Community Health and the existing Emergency Department and Heart Center, non-emergent patients who present at the ED can be referred to primary care after hours to encourage appropriate utilization. Co-locating various services and community resources empowers patients to take advantage of all of the Center’s offerings to better manage their health and keep up with preventative care.
In his remarks during the opening ceremony, NFMMC President and CEO Joseph Ruffolo stated, “The Golisano Center for Community Health is about breaking down silos, casting aside the barriers that segregate and isolate, and fostering inclusion – inclusion right here, right now – while providing quality care in a culture that respects the worth and dignity of every person we see.” The Center has been open and serving the community since mid-May.