Casting aside barriers to equitable healthcare for all
Aimed at preventing the local special needs population from “slipping through the cracks” of the healthcare system, the Golisano Center for Community Health offers integrated care to adults and children with special needs, including developmentally and intellectually disabled and other at-risk individuals. Housing medical services in addition to community programs, the facility addresses the social detriments of health and provides care at the right place, at the right time.
The only outpatient center of its kind in Western New York and one of the few in the U.S., the center is located adjacent to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) and linked to its emergency department (ED). This direct connection encourages appropriate utilization; because high proportions of the special needs population do not regularly receive healthcare services, they often present at the ED with non-emergent issues.
In addition to integrated primary and behavioral care, the center offers a wide range of health, social and educational services that, when taken together, promote holistic health and inclusion, including home care management and care coordination services. Additionally, the center serves as the headquarters for Rivershore Inc.’s Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, the local social services agency for persons living with disabilities, and provides space for multiple community agencies to work together.
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.”