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Jericho Road, Neighborhood Health and Other Community Health Sites to Get Another $18M to Fight COVID-19

By Tracey Drury – Reporter, Buffalo Business First | Mar 31, 2021

Community health centers with 20 sites across the region will get $18 million in new emergency funding to fight Covid-19.

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IN BUFFALO, HEALTHCARE LEADERS TURN TO THE COMMUNITY FOR VACCINATION UPTAKE:

By Rajiv Leventhal | Mar 11th, 2021

A community-based healthcare organization and its affiliates serving the Buffalo, N.Y, region have leveraged referral application technology to streamline the entire vaccination process

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NEED A FREE COVID-19 TEST IN WESTERN NEW YORK? IT MAY TAKE A WEEK TO GET IT

WKBW | NOVEMBER 19, 2020

As parts of Erie County have entered the Orange level of COVID-19 restrictions, many may be looking to get a test for the coronavirus…

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AS DOCTORS COPE WITH COVID SPIKES, BUSINESSES BRACE FOR POSSIBLE ‘ORANGE’ DESIGNATION

BUFFALO NEWS | NOVEMBER 17, 2020

Dr. Raul Vazquez closed his Urban Family Practice clinic last week on the lower West Side. Now, he is employing mobile care units offering 13 Covid-19 rapid tests at one time…

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OVERWHELMING THE HOSPITAL SYSTEM WILL INCREASE THE COVID-19 DEATH RATE

WKBW | NOVEMBER 17, 2020

Through the success of the medical community, the death rate from COVID-19 has decreased. But maintaining that low mortality rate involves preventing hospital systems from becoming overwhelmed.

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DOCTORS: HOW TREATING COVID-19 HAS CHANGED

WKBW | NOVEMBER 16, 2020

Three Buffalo doctors, all of different specialties, said they have learned a lot about COVID-19 since March. They say these lessons and treatments have led to a lower mortality rate…

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WHERE TO GET A COVID-19 TEST IN WNY

WKBW | NOVEMBER 11, 2020

Tuesday, the Erie County Health Department made some changes to its COVID-19 testing criteria…

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DR. RAUL VAZQUEZ WITH A “BIG PICTURE” UPDATE ON COVID-19

WBBZ-TV | NOVEMBER 6, 2020

Dr. Raul Vazquez from G-Health Enterprises joins host Penny Wolfgang for a full half hour…

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DELAY IN COVID TEST RESULTS? DEPENDS ON WHO DOES IT

WGRZ | JULY 22, 2020

Five months after coronavirus first reared its head in the state of New York, the time for some in getting results from a COVID-19 test are getting longer and longer…

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EXPERTS WARN GETTING COVID TESTING RESULTS TOO LATE COULD MAKE TESTING USELESS

WIVB | JULY 15, 2020

As Erie County reports the latest numbers of coronavirus cases some people say they’re still waiting to get their test results even up to 14 days later. A local doctor warns the longer the wait, the less effective the testing becomes. Julie Cirivello says she’s been waiting more than a week for her…

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LOCAL HEALTH EXPERTS SAY FIGHT AGAINST CORONAVIRUS ISN’T OVER

WIVB | JUNE 27, 2020

Dr. Raul Vazquez CEO of Urban Family Practice says the fight against coronavirus is far from over. As some restaurants and businesses are reopening he says it’s not the time to let your guard down. “I know everyone wants to get out and it’s nice to be outside and do these things but…

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NEWS 4 PRESENTS CORONAVIRUS TOWN HALL WITH LOCAL MEDICAL EXPERTS

WIVB | MAY 20, 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 has now lasted six months. While medical experts are learning more everyday, many questions still remain unanswered about this virus. News 4, in partnership with Buffalo Healthy Living, is presenting an hour-long town hall discussion with five leaders in local medicine on Friday, May 22, 2020, at 3 p.m. Viewers…

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LOCAL DOCTOR SAYS PEOPLE ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE AND GETTING TESTED FOR COVID-19

WIVB | APRIL 27, 2020

Before New York State can reopen, Governor Cuomo says the key is testing. Two types of testing have happened throughout Western New York in recent weeks. The newest, antibody tests, helps to tell if a person had the coronavirus before. More testing sites have now popped up across Western New York, including at…

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HEALTH OFFICIALS HOPE TO MAKE COVID TESTING MORE AVAILABLE FOR HARDEST HIT PARTS OF ERIE COUNTY

WIVB | APRIL 13, 2020

Erie County health officials hope to make testing more available for some of the hardest-hit areas including the 14215 zip code. We spoke with a local doctor on his plan to help contain the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Raul Vazquez says there are three ways to help fight the spread of coronavirus, especially…

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LOCAL DOCTOR SAYS PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS SHOULD PLAY BIGGER ROLE IN FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

WIVB | APRIL 2, 2020

Testing is one of the biggest concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the Erie County Department of Health has had the capability to conduct its own COVID-19 tests from the beginning, results have lagged far behind other urban areas in the state. Much of that has to do with a nationwide…

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ACO MODEL DESIGNED TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES WHILE SAVING MONEY

BY BUFFALO BUSINESS FIRST | MAY 15, 2020

After two waves of coronavirus devastated communities across the country, health officials say warmer temperatures will help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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TESTING CAPABILITIES INCREASE IN WNY

BY WGRZ | APRIL 28, 2020

G-HEALTH ENTERPRISE. PARTNERING WITH UNITED HEALTHCARE AND FIDELIS… HAVE ROLLED OUT VANS TO GET TESTING PHYSICALLY CLOSER TO PEOPLE ON BUFFALO’s EAST AND WEST SIDE.

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NYS HEALTH EXPERTS COMPARE CORONAVIRUS AND SPANISH FLU IN ANTICIPATION FOR NEW WAVE OF INFECTIONS

BY FADIA PATTERSON | CITY OF BUFFALO | MAY 25, 2020

After two waves of coronavirus devastated communities across the country, health officials say warmer temperatures will help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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BOOSTING OUTCOMES — AND SAVING MONEY — THROUGH ACO MODEL

BY TRACEY DRURY – REPORTER, BUFFALO BUSINESS FIRST | MAY 22, 2020

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (GBUACO) remains the region’s only state-designated accountable care organization (ACO), overseeing care for about 30,000 patients across the region insured by government programs through Fidelis and YourCare Health Plan.

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GETTING A COVID-19 ANTIBODY TEST

BY: HANNAH BUEHLER | MAY 3, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Antibody testing is ramping up in Western New York.

It’s a blood test, that tells if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have been infected with the virus. If your test comes back that you have a high antibody count, you likely had COVID-19.

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THE REGION WILL STAY IN LIMBO WITHOUT MORE COVID-19 TESTING

EFFORT MOSTLY TARGETS PATIENTS WITH MEDICAID

BY SCOTT SCANLON/REFRESH EDITOR/BN | MAY 3, 2020

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week used results of early antibody testing across the state to estimate that 7.1% of those in Western New York have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

That would leave about 1.4 million people in the eight-county region still vulnerable to the virus.

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LOCAL DOCTOR SAYS PEOPLE ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE AND GETTING TESTED FOR COVID-19

SHANNON SMITH/WIVB | APRIL 27, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dr. Raul Vazquez talks about how people are taking advantage and getting tested. G-Health Enterprises network has offered drive through testing for both types of tests, and have done nearly 400 of them in two weeks. Click below for more information.

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MOBILE VANS TO START COVID-19 TESTING IN POOR CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

BUFFALO NEWS | APRIL 27, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (BN) — Nurses and other health providers spent Monday afternoon outside Urban Family Practice on Jefferson Avenue conducting blood tests on Medicaid patients to see if they’ve already had the new coronavirus and now have antibodies.

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$8M WILL FUND FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 IN BUFFALO’S MOST ‘VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES’

BY CAITLIN DEWEY | APRIL 22, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (BN) — A broad slate of Buffalo health care providers, faith leaders and community organizations will receive more than $8 million in state funds to battle Covid-19 among the city’s most vulnerable residents.

The wide-ranging plan – announced Wednesday by executives at Erie County Medical Center and the regional health care consortium Millennium Collaborative Care – aims to both expand testing in low-income, high-risk communities and increase medical services and social support for people who fall ill..

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GBUACO INKS NEW DEAL WITH FIDELIS CARE

BY TRACEY DRURY – REPORTER, BUFFALO BUSINESS FIRST | SEPTEMBER 17, 2019

A Buffalo health care organization has signed a second contract to manage services for up an additional 12,000 Medicaid recipients in the region.

The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization runs the region’s only state-designated ACO, a model that rewards physicians and providers for cutting costs and improving care and outcomes for Medicaid recipients.

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YES, THIS VIRUS DISCRIMINATES, BECAUSE WE STILL DO

DR. RAUL VAZQUEZ SAYS BUFFALO NIAGARA NEEDS A COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACH TO FIGHT THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS AND REACH PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS. BUT EXPERTS LIKE HIM HAVE YET TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE PLANNING DISCUSSIONS.

BY ROD WATSON/BN | MARCH 31, 2020

“This virus does not discriminate … (it’s an) equal-opportunity virus that can affect anyone of any age, of any race, from any ZIP code.”– Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

While the point he was making – that everyone should follow social distancing and other precautions – is certainly valid, the idea that the novel coronavirus is colorblind is no more true than is the notion that American society is colorblind.

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WESTERN NEW YORK DOCTOR STARTS DRIVE-IN TESTING CLINIC FOR PATIENTS

DR. RAUL VAZQUEZ IS USING HIS PRACTICE TO GET MORE TESTS FOR PEOPLE IN VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES

KARYS BELGER/WGRZ | APRIL 16, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dr. Raul Vazquez has been advocating for weeks to get more COVID-19 tests for communities in Buffalo where there are high rates of underlying health conditions and lack of access to resources.

His practice recently began administering tests to try and close the gap.

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BUFFALO DOCTOR CREATES CORONAVIRUS TESTING SITE

OLIVIA PROIA/WKBW | APRIL 16, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It all started when Dr. Raul Vazquez’s 24-year-old daughter Nadia got sick. She had a fever and shortness of breath. Three days after coming home from the hospital, she received a call that she was positive for COVID-19.

The process caused him to think: How would this experience have been if he wasn’t a doctor? Or if his family had no doctor at all?

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N.Y.C. DEATH TOLL SOARS PAST 10,000 IN REVISED VIRUS COUNT

DAVID GOODMAN AND WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM/NYT | APRIL 14, 2020

New York City, N.Y. — New York City, already a world epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, sharply increased its death toll by more than 3,700 victims on Tuesday, after officials said they were now including people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died of it.

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14125 ZIP CODE MOST AFFECTED BY COVID-19 IN ERIE COUNTY

WGRZ | APRIL 9, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WGRZ) — BUFFALO, N.Y. — Is a community that’s 80% African American, and the population has a history of chronic illnesses. Dr. Raul Vazquez says these factors present a great risk for the community, because most of these individuals don’t have access to a primary care physician.

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DR. RAUL VAZQUEZ IS WORKING ON A COMMUNITY ACTION PLAN TO HELP CONNECT PATIENTS TO DOCTORS AMID THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

KARYS BELGAR/WGRZ | APRIL 8, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WGRZ) — BUFFALO, N.Y. — As more information is released about COVID-19, local community leaders are continuing to raise concerns over how the pandemic will affect communities of color in Buffalo and Erie County.

The African American Health Equity task force recently called on local leaders to take steps toward making sure communities of color, particularly on Buffalo’s East Side, get access to testing. The concern is that the chronic health conditions that already exist in communities of color will cause the COVID-19 pandemic to be even more devastating.

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YOURCARE, GBUACO RENEW MEDICAID SAVINGS CONTRACT

BY TRACEY DRURY – REPORTER, BUFFALO BUSINESS FIRST | APRIL 4, 2019

YourCare Health Plan has renewed its contract with the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, a value-based payment plan based in Buffalo.

The deal comes three years after the two organizations first partnered, following GBUACO’s creation as one of the first ACOs in New York’s program that rewards rewards physicians and providers for cutting costs and improving care and outcomes for Medicaid recipients.

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NEW GUIDELINES, NEW PRIORITIES: HEALTHCARE WORKERS SAY NOT ALL CAN GET ACCESS TO TESTING

MADISON CARTER/WKBW | MARCH 25, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Wednesday afternoon Erie County Executive announced new guidelines for priority testing in the County.

PRIORITY will now go to:

  • -healthcare workers, and those who pose a risk by being in close proximity to health care workers
  • -law enforcement
  • -people living in heavily populated places: prison, nursing homes, etc.
  • -pregnant women, or women who have just given birth
  • People who will NOT be given priority testing are:
  • -people already under quarantine, with mild symptoms
  • -people without symptoms, even if in contact with someone positive
  • -mildly sick people who do not live in heavily populated areas

These are the guidelines that health care providers must follow when contacting the health department to recommend testing.

Dr. Raul Vazquez, a family care physician, says doctors can only recommend testing, but what happens after that is out of their hands.

“The Department of Health and everyone says ‘call your primary care’,” said Vazquez. “So yeah, they call and we refer, but then once the testing gets done we’re out of the loop as a primary care physician.”

Stephanie Surman is an LPN who works in private homecare directly with children, she and her boyfriend have had symptoms of COVID-19 for over a week but cannot get a test.

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DR. RAUL VAZQUEZ, CEO OF URBAN FAMILY PRACTICE, CONDUCTS A CHECKUP ON MATHEW MARTINEZ AT THE GREATER BUFFALO UNITED ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATION, WHICH MOSTLY HANDLES MEDICAID PATIENTS.

JOHN HICKEY/BUFFALO NEWS | MARCH 12, 2020

More value-based care
Urban Family Practice, which serves more than 9,000 mostly Medicaid patients in Buffalo, will open its third clinic this month. Since the first office on the West Side opened about eight years ago and became part of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (GBUACO), leaders and staff have labored to move from a fee-for service health care model – where providers are paid based on office visits, tests, drugs and treatments they prescribe – to a “value-based model” that provides reimbursement on how well a practice keeps patients healthy and helps them avoid hospitalizations. Those who do so receive greater “bundled payments” designed to focus more on greater access to preventative care, creating a less costly health care system over time.

The Medicaid Redesign Team I recommended this idea in 2011. It gave way to several practices across the state that operate like Urban Family Practice.

“We’re not asking the state for more money. We’re asking the state to make the regulations such that they give us the ability to innovate the way we want to innovate here,” said Dr. Chet Fox, chief medical officer with Urban Family and GBUACO. “The average bariatric surgery cost $40,000. For two surgeries, you could hire a dietitian, maybe even two, that could work full time for a year.”

 

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