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Technology improvements on the agenda for BCH this year

SPRINGVILLE—Bertrand Chaffee Hospital announced an $11.3 million grant last month, which the hospital will use to invest in equipment, technology and site development over a five year period. One of eight hospitals in the region to receive funding through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Project, the grant serves as the largest ever for BCH.

“We’ve created a dynamic set of offerings with our inpatient and outpatient medical services,” said Teresa Donohue, CFO, in a press release. “What we have aligns Bertrand Chaffee Hospital with the goal of New York state: to ensure that the healthcare system can meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers.”

The grant funding, which totals $11,319,515, will be used to improve healthcare access to primary care and specialty services, upgrade imaging and technology infrastructure and preserve jobs and health services for residents in southern Erie, northern Cattaraugus and Wyoming counties. According to a press release from Cuomo’s office, BCH will be relocating the existing primary care center within a “stand-alone health care center,” which will help increase the capacity for primary and specialty care access. Development and Community Relations Coordinator Kara Kane said as of now, the hospital has not determined where on its campus the primary care and specialists services will be located.

“BCH is a vital community resource, providing much-needed health service, and is a leading economic engine for our region,” said Gary Eppolito, president of the BCH Board of Directors, in a press release. “With this award we can accelerate the progress we have made to improve health services for our neighbors.”

Before the end of the calendar year, the hospital expects to begin investments in technology that will enhance access to advanced diagnostic capabilities. Kane said the first investment will be into imaging software for mammography. That will be the initial investment, followed by others.

BCH CEO Nils Gunnersen, in a press release, said the larger question is looking at what the grant means for the future of healthcare in the community.

“We took a strategic approach to design our application and outlined projects that are a direct, proactive response to community health needs,” Gunnersen said. “Improved access to healthcare leads to better health outcomes, and that’s our ultimate goal for the community. Keeping health care local is the essence of keeping our patients healthy.”

Both Village Mayor William Krebs and Ashford Town Supervisor Charles Davis congratulated the hospital on the grant, calling BCH vital to their communities and thanking the leaders for their hard work.

“This grant will fund the needed technology and site development to keep our community hospital competitive in regional health care,” Krebs said.

Senators Patrick Gallivan and Catharine Young also shared their support for the hospital, pointing out the need for its services within the rural areas of their districts.

“I am thrilled that Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, which serves people in the northern region of my district, also will receive major state funding to upgrade and strengthen their services,” Young said.

The news of the grant follows the hospital’s purchase of the building at 210 E. Main St., in February. Though no official plans have been released yet for the building, after the purchase, Kane said it would be used to help improve local access to healthcare. The hospital is looking to have the Primary Care Center under one roof, as it sits now, the space is split between the first and third floors.

“We’re looking at everything,” Kane said. “Every option is on the table … with this grant.”

Along with centralizing the Primary Care Center, Kane said there will be space for rotating specialists.

Progress at each phase of the improvements will be outlined on the hospital’s website. Community members, staff and patients will also have an opportunity to provide feedback and input.

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