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Seneca Gaming Corporation unveils new health care office

by jmaloni
Tue, Oct 18th 2011 04:45 pm
Pictured from left: Dr. Jerome Andres, president of Niagara Family Medicine Associates; Karen Karsten, chairwoman of Seneca Gaming Corporation; Cathy Walker, president and CEO of Seneca Gaming Corporation; and Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO of Independent Health.
Pictured from left: Dr. Jerome Andres, president of Niagara Family Medicine Associates; Karen Karsten, chairwoman of Seneca Gaming Corporation; Cathy Walker, president and CEO of Seneca Gaming Corporation; and Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO of Independent Health.
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Unique partnership with Niagara Family Medicine Associates and Independent Health provides 3,700 employees no-cost health care

Seneca Gaming Corporation has taken a progressive step to combat rising costs in health care and keep its employees healthy and happy. With the creation of a unique on-site health office, 3,700 employees throughout Western New York now have access to immediate and preventive health care services at no cost.

The health office - officially called Niagara Family Medicine-Seneca Niagara Office - is made possible through a partnership with Niagara Family Medicine Associates and Independent Health, Seneca Gaming Corporation's health plan provider.

"The 3,700 team members throughout Seneca Gaming Corporation work in a 24/7 environment to make our guests feel like a million bucks," said Karen Karsten, chairwoman, Seneca Gaming Corporation. "Our hosts, servers, cleaners, maintenance workers and everyone in between need quality health care in order to meet the demands of their jobs. With the opening of Niagara Family Medicine-Seneca Niagara Office, we think this is yet another reason people can feel 'lucky' to be part of the Seneca team."

The 865-square-foot facility is located on the second floor of the Seneca Office Building, adjacent to Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, and includes two exam rooms, a nurse's station, a consultation area and a health coach office. Employees can access services every Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A full-time nurse practitioner through Niagara Family Medicine Associates will evaluate and treat common ailments, such as sore throats, coughs, colds, muscle sprains and strains, and earaches. Other services are available, such as spot tests for cholesterol levels or strep throat, blood pressure screening, blood sugar monitoring and flu vaccines. In addition, a health coach and wellness specialist from Independent Health will provide employees with services such as stress management and chronic care education services for diabetes, heart disease, asthma and obesity.

Services of the health office are provided free-of-charge, and there are no co-payments or any other costs to employees - regardless of whether or not they participate in the Seneca Gaming Corporation health plan or have coverage through another source. The program partners hope the program will not only improve the health of workers but also lower overall long-term health care costs.

According to Cathy Walker, president and CEO of Seneca Gaming Corporation, the company has many healthy initiatives throughout its properties. Employees can participate in a diabetes prevention program through the YMCA, enjoy an on-site employee fitness area free of charge, and receive incentives as part of smoking cessation programs.

"We'd like to think that our benefits packages are among the best - if not the best - that the private sector has to offer in Western New York," Walker said. "Although we received regional recognition earlier this year as a 'Healthiest Employer in Western New York,' we believe the new health office is just the beginning of even greater care for our team members. We're proud to partner with Niagara Family Medicine Associates and Independent Health to offer this truly unique and valuable benefit. It's just simply the right thing to do."

Staffing the office will be full-time nurse practitioner Wendy Bissell, who has more than 30 years of industry experience. The health office also created an additional job for a full-time office receptionist through Seneca Gaming Corporation.

"Our practice is very excited to be involved in this project," said Dr. Jerome Andres, president of Niagara Family Medicine Associates. "We see it as a great opportunity to positively impact the health of one of the largest employers in the area."

Buffalo-based Independent Health, which is consistently rated among the top health plans in the country for customer service and member satisfaction, recently won the bid to represent the combined entities of Seneca Gaming Corporation, the Seneca Gaming Authority and the Seneca Nation of Indians.

"With a focus on engaging people where they work, Independent Health is pleased to join with Seneca Gaming Corporation and Niagara Family Medicine on this innovative and cutting-edge initiative," said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO of Independent Health. "We will continue to offer and expand the services that support the worksite wellness program - known as 'HealthyMe' - that has served Seneca Gaming Corporation employees since 2010. Our health coaches will coordinate and provide programs related to diet, nutrition, stress management and lifestyle modification. We look forward to this project moving forward and seeing the Seneca Gaming Corporation employees reap its benefits for years to come."

About Seneca Gaming Corporation

Seneca Gaming Corporation operates Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, and Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course in Lewiston on behalf of the Seneca Nation of Indians. Since opening Seneca Niagara Casino in 2002, Seneca Gaming Corporation has grown to employ more than 3,700 people. Seneca Gaming Corporation operates world-class facilities offering more than 6,500 slot machines, 140 table games, 800 hotel rooms, a championship golf course and other related amenities.

For more information, visit www.senecacasinos.com.

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