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Dyster seeks $250,000 city investment in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center cardiac/stroke unit

by jmaloni

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Thu, Mar 13th 2014 05:05 pm
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster speaks at a press conference Thursday.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster speaks at a press conference Thursday.
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City investment would advance the John R. Oishei Foundation's $750,000 challenge grant

Mayor Paul A. Dyster is requesting the Niagara Falls City Council approve a $250,000 city grant for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to assist in funding the construction of a state-of-the-art cardiac/stroke care center at the hospital. The grant, phased over two years, will be voted on at the March 17 City Council meeting.

In 2013, NFMCC was awarded a $750,000 challenge grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation for the 25-bed center, which is set to include all private rooms, a patient/family resource room, a teaching facility for medical education, on-site rehabilitation therapy facilities, advanced technology promoting patient safety, and nursing stations strategically located to place nurses closer to their patients. As a challenge grant, the Oishei grant investment must be matched dollar-for-dollar by the hospital. The proposed bequest by the city would complete the Oishei Foundation challenge match.

"To reverse the trend of poverty, strategic partnerships are needed to accomplish more, faster. We must invest in our top employers, improve our residents' access to quality health care and strengthen our city's core neighborhood to succeed in this economy," said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. "Partnering with the hospital and the Oishei Foundation on the cardiac/stroke center project is a strategic investment on each of those fronts."

The Oishei Foundation's $750,000 challenge grant is the latest in a long list of Niagara Falls and Niagara County investments, all designed to improve the community's health and quality of life.

"Our ability to have a real impact on the health of residents in Niagara County depends critically on an excellent infrastructure as much as it does on an excellent network of community providers," said Robert D. Gioia, president of the Oishei Foundation. "We've been providing support for both in Niagara Falls, and have found both the mayor and the leadership at NFMMC to be great leaders and partners."

The city's grant would be an investment in the city's third-largest employer (1,100 employees), and a direct response to sobering medical statistics. Niagara County's age-adjusted death rate for cardiovascular disease is nearly twice that of the national average. In 2013, more than 1,500 patients were hospitalized in NFMMC's existing cardiac/stroke unit. NFMMC said these are staggering statistics that impact the entire community, thus requiring a community-wide solution. The current unit has been in operation for more than 40 years, and needs to be completely overhauled to meet the patient demand head on.

"NFMMC has pursued virtually every available grant opportunity to bring state, federal and private foundation dollars to Niagara Falls to fund programs that will create a healthier community. As a result, Memorial has brought nearly $10 million into our community over the past four years alone, funding 36 well-paying permanent jobs and creating new career opportunities in emerging health care professions that include care management, care coordination and navigation," said Joseph Ruffolo, president/CEO of NFMMC. "The Niagara Region continues to experience some of the worst rates of cardiovascular disease in the nation. A new advanced inpatient cardiac/stroke care center will provide patients with the utmost in comfort, safety and patient-centered care. We are grateful to the City of Niagara Falls - Mayor Dyster, Community Development Director Seth Piccirillo, members of the City Council - and to The John R. Oishei Foundation for assisting us to address this critical health need while creating jobs and investing in the city's future."

The mayor and City Council members are collaborating to bring this initiative to a vote March 17.

"This is just the latest development in a valuable and long-standing partnership between the City of Niagara Falls and NFMMC - one of our community's largest employers," said Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti. "The pro-active, family-centered approach of this facility is of immense benefit to our city, because, as so many of us know, a major illness can be devastating to the entire family. I am proud to say that I support this project 100 percent."

Councilman Andrew Touma added, "This project highlights just how fortunate we are to have a forward-thinking organization like Memorial Medical Center here in our city. Memorial has become a regional model for providing state-of-the-art care to the populations that need it most. We have a real opportunity here, not only to create jobs, but to provide an innovative approach to cardiac-stroke treatment for those in our community that are affected by these devastating conditions."

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