The Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center campus has undergone a tremendous transformation over the past 12 years.
The opening of the ER1/Heart Center of Niagara in 2006 and the Golisano Center for Community Health in 2016 have doubled the size of its downtown campus. The addition of a host of skilled and experienced physicians to its staff has resulted in greatly expanded high end surgical services and the opening of a primary care center, comprehensive wound care center, OB/GYN Center, bariatric surgery center and other vitally needed medical services along the 10th Street Medical Corridor.
All told, Memorial provided inpatient and outpatient services to more than 44,500 people (unduplicated count) in 2015 and again in 2016. In recent years, it has further solidified its status as a major economic contributor to the Greater Niagara Region with a stable work force of 1,200 employees, the creation of 150 well-paying new jobs during the past four years and an annual economic impact on Niagara County and the surrounding area of $275 million annually.
With this growth have come some serious challenges, especially at Memorial’s downtown campus. Its aging seven-story parking garage needs the kind of attention all such structures require after 40 years of service in a climate such as ours.
This structure is much more than a place to park. Its seventh floor houses vital hospital services including the Wound Center of Niagara and several doctors’ offices. The top level provides a helipad for Mercy Flight helicopter, a capability that will take on added importance in early April with the implementation of lifesaving cardiac catheterization emergency services at Memorial.
The growth being experienced along the 10th Street Medical Corridor has also added urgency to the need for Memorial to replace its aging emergency power generators.
The medical center and 1199SEIU, the union that represents more than 800 Memorial employees, recently launched a major joint initiative asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to provide state funding for needed capital and infrastructure improvements. The requested funds would renovate and transform the aging parking facility and bridge connector into an aesthetically attractive interactive facility that would host medical center and community activities.
They would also replace Memorial’s antiquated emergency power system with one that will guarantee adequate emergency power to support its critical role as a First Responder facility in the event of a public emergency situation.
Implementing these infrastructure upgrades will ensure Memorial’s continued ability to provide high-quality care by Memorial’s skilled and dedicated employees in a safe and secure setting for decades to come, as well as positioning the medical center for continued growth.
I urge you to show Gov. Cuomo your support for this project by visiting niagarafallsmemorialcares.org and adding your name to the petition at the bottom of the page.
[Robert L. Bull Jr., M.D., F.A.A.F.P., is a family physician at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s Lewiston Primary Care Center.]