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Univera Healthcare funds programming at new Niagara Wellness Connection Center

by jmaloni

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Tue, Jan 21st 2014 03:45 pm

Univera Healthcare has committed $70,000 over the next three years to fund behavioral health programming at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center's new Niagara Wellness Connection Center, set to open at the end of January.

"The Wellness Connection Center will be the first integrated service center of its kind in Western New York," said Sheila K. Kee, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center vice president and chief operating officer. "Under one roof, at a single location, people will be able to conveniently access primary care, behavioral health treatment, screening for drug or alcohol addiction, health and wellness education, fitness activities, community support services and financial and health insurance counseling."

Kee noted this one-stop approach to service delivery is a solid investment and incredible opportunity to achieve better health and better care at a lower cost.

Univera Healthcare's $70,000 community and member health improvement grant will underwrite programs for the wellness center's clients, including onsite classes in nutrition, medication management, chronic disease management and smoking cessation.

"Univera Healthcare is pleased to provide programming support for this new wellness center," said Art Wingerter, Univera Healthcare president. "The health and quality of life of people across the Greater Niagara Region will be improved because of the care and services available here."

The soon-to-open Niagara Wellness Connection Center is located on the renovated sixth floor of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center's "S Building" on its main campus. The space had not seen any updates for more than three decades, and in its outdated state would not meet the requirements the medical center had for the Niagara Wellness Connection Center.

Funding for renovation and redesign of the space included a $1.98 million HEAL 21 grant from the New York State Department of Health, plus an additional $795,000 to support the center's operation over the next three years.

When it officially opens at the end of this month, the Niagara Wellness Connection Center will feature a multi-use classroom for health and wellness education, a primary care office and a large activity room that includes a resource library and four service kiosks to be staffed by representatives of community social service agencies.

Services will be available to clients before and after their primary care visits and counseling sessions. Clients will be connected to health insurance, primary care and financial assistance eligibility services, wellness activities and transportation services. Housing, food, clothing and other social and economic support services will also be available.

In 2011, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center conducted an in-depth study to determine how it could enhance the delivery of behavioral health and other services to the people of the Niagara Region. By assessing the needs of the community, and drawing upon national best practices and evidence-based standards of care, the concept for the Niagara Wellness Connection Center took shape.

Univera Healthcare's community and member health improvement grant program, which will support health and wellness programming at the center, is part of the health insurer's mission to reach out to all segments of the communities it serves, particularly the poor, the aged and others who are underserved, to enhance their quality of life, including health status.

Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that is part of a family of companies financing and delivering health services for more than 1.8 million upstate New Yorkers. Based in Buffalo, the health plan serves more than 135,000 members across the eight counties that comprise Western New York.

To learn more about Univera Healthcare, visit:

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is a full-service, 171-bed regional medical center with extensive inpatient and outpatient services, including The Heart Center of Niagara, Diabetes & Endocrinology Center of Niagara, Wound Center of Niagara, Niagara Wellness Connection Center and UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. The first hospital in Niagara to be designated a stroke center by the New York State Department of Health, Memorial operates several satellite facilities, including the Summit Healthplex, Tuscarora Health Center, four primary care offices and the Schoellkopf Health Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility that specializes in short-term rehabilitation and elder care while providing 100-percent private room accommodations.

To learn more, visit http://NFMMC.org.

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