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Rochester Regional Health

Akron resident's healing illustrates reasons for UMMC Wound Care Center's 'hat trick' of awards

By Howard B. Owens
wound care center award ummc
Leonard Woltz, Jr., of Akron, treated at the UMMC Wound Care Center for a rare bacterial infection.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Akron resident Leonard Woltz, Jr. was likely just days from death in October when he encountered the UMMC wound care treatment team.

Now, he is nearly healed, and Dr. Joseph Canzoneri expressed confidence that he will walk again.

Woltz had a necrotizing fasciitis infection in his foot.  The infection is caused by a rare, flesh-eating bacteria.

"It just absolutely blew up over a matter of three or four days," Woltz said. "And that's it. I got a football on the end of my foot, and then that one day we came in, and I got right in, and you know, they started treatments and everything in the hospital. But the care here, and the folks here are just they are -- it's absolutely incredible."

On Tuesday, Woltz attended a ceremony honoring the Wound Care Center for its eight consecutive years of being honored by Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. This year, the clinic received the President’s Circle Award along with the Center of Distinction and Robert A. Warriner III Clinical Excellence awards for 2023.

The trio of awards was dubbed the hat-trick, after the sports metaphor that originated in England among cricket players.

The awards recognize the center's quality care, consistent compassion for patients, and expertise.  The center, according to a Healogics representative, had an 86 percent heal rate in 2023 and a patient satisfaction rate of 94 percent.

Healolgics works with more than 600 hospitals nationwide and only 34 are receiving the 2023 Presidents Award, and only two in New York.

"These awards are achievements well deserved, well acknowledged," said Toni McCutcheon, director of operations for Healogics. "It really comes from the people-first patient-centered processes they have here. They're healing patients, they're taking care of their patients, they love their patients. If it wasn't for that, this wouldn't happen. So it's always about the patient and will always be about the patient."

That's precisely how Woltz feels about the center.

"From the time you walk through the door and you talk to Mary Beth, you know you're amongst friends and people who care about you," Woltz said.

Canzoneri said Woltz presented one of the most challenging cases the clinic has faced.

"This is one of the worst types of infection," Canzoneri said. "It travels up the foot and very quickly results in sepsis and can often result in death and high incidence of leg amputation."

Woltz was admitted on a regime of IV antibiotics and drainage of the wound.

"We then took him back to the operating room for limb salvage procedures to preserve as much of this foot as possible to avoid below-knee amputation," Canzoneri said. "It is crucial to prevent below-knee amputations because it results in high mortality rates within three to five years. And almost 80 percent of patients who sustain a below-knee amputation never walk again and are confined to wheelchairs or assisted living."

The infection was contained with a mid-foot amputation and aggressive treatment, including use of the center's hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

At the gathering, Canzoneri pronounced Woltz "almost healed" and that he would almost certainly be totally healed within weeks.

Woltz said he's gone from the psychological trauma in October of wondering what his future would be like, and if he even would have a future, to looking forward to resuming most of his prior activities.

"Now we're down to this part here where this thing is closing so rapidly now because of all the stuff we've done before and the brilliant move that Dr. Joe made with my foot," Woltz said. "It's all coming down to 'Wow, I'm going to be okay.' I'm gonna be able to do 97 percent of the things I used to do. You know, I'm not gonna be running marathons anytime soon, but yeah, it's all right."

wound care center award ummc
Lisa Albanese Klein, program director, Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine, at UMMC
Photo by Howard Owens
wound care center award ummc
Teresa Clark, click nurse manager, Dr. Joseph Canzoneri, Lisa Albanese Klein.
Photo by Howard Owens
wound care center award ummc
The UMMC Wound Care Center team.
Photo by Howard Owens.

RGH is the first in the region to use innovative therapy

By Press Release

Press Release:

Rochester General Hospital (RGH) is the first hospital in the region to offer Aquablation therapy, a minimally-invasive treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.  

One in two men ages 51 to 60 have BPH, and the incidence increases every decade of life. RGH completed the first Aquablation therapy procedures at the hospital on Thursday. 

“Rochester Regional is proud to be among the first in the Finger Lakes, Western and Central New York to offer a solution for men with BPH that provides significant, long-lasting symptom relief with lower risk of sexual dysfunction or incontinence,” said Dr. Louis Eichel, Division Chief of Urology at Rochester General Hospital. 

“Aquablation therapy is the next step to furthering our commitment to robotic surgery and men’s health. This new tool is the latest move by Rochester Regional to step up our game as we modernize and transform health care.”

Aquablation therapy uses the AquaBeamâ Robotic System, the first FDA-cleared, surgical robot utilizing automated tissue resection for the treatment of LUTS due to BPH.  Using precise imaging, surgeons create a personalized treatment plan tailored to each patient’s anatomy. Once the map is complete, the robotically controlled, heat-free water jet ablates the prostate tissue, avoiding critical structures to preserve sexual function and continence.

The procedure is performed while the patient is under anesthesia in an operating room, and typically takes about 45 minutes – almost half as long as traditional surgical options.

BPH, or an enlarged prostate, is a non-cancerous condition where the prostate has grown to be larger than normal. If left untreated, BPH can cause significant health problems, including irreversible bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence.  Several current BPH surgical treatments often force men to trade off between symptom relief and side effects like incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

For more information on Urology Services at Rochester Regional Health, visit Urology | Rochester Regional Health.  For more information on Aquablation therapy, visit aquablation.com

RRH to open latest offering Monday to help solve 'crisis in health care'

By Joanne Beck
Dan Ireland RRH UMMC Finger Lakes
Dan Ireland
Photo by Howard Owens

As with any major construction project, there were a few delays for the Batavia Medical Campus on the north side of the Thruway entrance; however, a preview glimpse of the campus Wednesday showed off the multi-floor, 95,000 square-foot facility with ample windows and natural light that’s now ready to serve, officials say.

Dr. Shan Dhanda is among the first occupants to move in, offering family medicine services. 

“We’ll be moving in as of Monday. We’re very excited about that. It’s a combination practice of Batavia Internal Medicine as well as the old Oakfield Family Medicine, which Dr. Barcomb owns. We’re very excited to move in here and get going,”  Dhanda said during a media tour of the spit-polished site at 8103 Oak Orchard Road, Batavia. “What's fantastic about the facility is that for patients, it's a nice resource where they'll be able to get multiple aspects of their medical care underneath one roof. So a patient can come in here and at the same location, they can have their primary care provider, they can have their cardiologist, they can have their orthopedic specialist. They can also bring their kids in here for the pediatric department. In addition, they can get their lab work done here, as well as their imaging. So it's a very nice resource for the community.”

Come Monday, the Rochester Regional Health facility, easily visible from Route 98, is open for business, with more than a dozen specialty offerings, including cardiology, neuroscience, otolaryngology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, primary, urgent and pediatric care, and vascular surgery, a patient draw laboratory and imaging center.

There will be some shifting of offices and services from other areas within the city that are closing to move over to this new location and make room for new purposes, including imaging, the laboratory, orthopedics, pediatric and cardiology care.

Daniel Ireland, president and chief operating officer of the Fingerlakes Rural Hospital for RRH, said that the facility is designed and created to be an access point for a variety of different services related to health care — offering “everything from primary care and pediatrics through specialty care such as orthopedics, general surgery, vascular surgery, plastics and bariatric surgery.”

“We're also going to offer a comprehensive cardiology office and clinic here and neurology services inclusive of pain management and pain management therapies. Additionally, the site will be the home of a new urgent care that will have replaced the urgent care from the Jerome Center, as well as lab and radiology services, including ultrasound DEXA, scanning mammography and Gen X-ray services here in the building,” Ireland said. “We are bringing a lot of services from disparate locations to one. It brings all those services under one roof. So from a patient experience standpoint, they are coming to one destination in order to get the care that they need. But even further, it allows us to expand the amount of services provided in many of the locations today. We've reached the limit of those buildings to be able to offer additional services and bring in more physicians.

“And so this building has allowed us to add, for instance, in cardiology, we've been able to add two additional cardiologists to the program and be able to rotate through specialty cardiologists into the community here,” he said. “So it not only expands, in relocates services under one roof, it allows us to grow and offer more services to the community, and hopefully improving access for those around us.”

The new building has an updated blueprint and technology, versus the more antiquated locales, the former St. Jerome’s Hospital of decades ago, for example, he said. 

“They're not efficiently designed for today's style of medical practice. You'll note when you walk through some of the facilities here we have what we call an on-stage off-stage area where patients will enter one door to the exam room, and the clinical team will be behind another door to be able to come in. And that allows for highly efficient care and keeps care moving through the process,” he said. “Those existing facilities don't have the geographic footprint to be able to do that. Additionally, we have a number of buildings, especially around our main campus, that have reached, really, the end of life. And they’re going to cost significant investment to upgrade without a lot of ability to expand. So we'll be able to take some buildings down on the main campus and improve parking around the hospital, which is a win-win, as we're able to grow services in the community but also make access to the main hospital just as convenient.”

Ireland is aware of the fears expressed by some people that this new place is out of bounds for someone with no dependable means of transportation and too far for one to walk. The new location is a strategic position for patients from both inside Genesee County and also from Orleans and Wyoming counties that seek care from RRH specialists, he said.

“I think patients are going to find that to be convenient. I know initially, the fear is that it is traveling right outside the city. But we are very, very close to the city line. We have coordinated with the regional transportation services, and they are able to offer patients transportation out here on demand. So patients who don't have the ability to drive will still be able to get to this campus very easily and conveniently,” he said. “And for those that are driving, it is really right over the Thruway bridge. So I think the little bit of drive out to the facility will be offset by the convenience they're going to get by the amount of services they're able to access in one stop, and hopefully make life for their health care much easier.”

What’s more, those who do drive can park in the garage underneath the building during winter to avoid a blustery walk to their vehicle to and from the appointment. That accommodation, plus easy access to offices and natural light, was incorporated from staff and patient surveys during the planning phase of the project. 

Rural health care is in crisis right now, he said. In a post-COVID era,  hospitals and health systems are downsizing, and some of the first places where that seems to be happening is in rural communities, he said. That’s why the completion of the medical campus — its survival through the pandemic — is so “critically important,” Ireland said.

"But what it does is it makes an investment in our rural communities and helps continue to grow access to health care, instead of shrink it in the transformation of healthcare that we are going to see going forward, that will be critically important to be able to bring care to where people are, instead of trying to ask people to drive to distant locations for care. Every time we add a layer of driving to care, we add a barrier for a lot of our patients, we want to break down those barriers, and that is part of where healthcare is going," he said. "Part of this building will also serve in some capacities to be able to link up with other specialties. So it becomes a destination point for people to get multiple types of care, even through one office in the building. So it is part of what the transformation of healthcare is leading to. And part of how Rochester Regional Health is really looking to solve the crisis in health care today."

For more information, go to Batavia Medical Campus.

Dr. Shan Dhanda RRH UMMC
Dr. Shan Dhanda
Photo by Howard Owens
Patient check in RRH new facility
Patient check-in kiosks.
Photo by Howard Owens
waiting room  RRH new facility
Waiting room.
Photo by Howard Owens
waiting room on east end of building  RRH new facility
East end of a waiting room.
Photo by Howard Owens
 RRH new facility
Outpatient recovery area.
Photo by Howard Owens
 RRH new facility
Imaging room.
Photo by Howard Owens
 RRH new facility
Urgent Care exam room.
Photo by Howard Owens

RRH appoints Tricia Gatlin as new chair of Health Care Services Board

By Press Release

Press Release:

Rochester Regional Health (RRH) is delighted to announce the appointment of Tricia Gatlin, Ph.D., RN, CNE, Dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher University, as the new Chair of the Health Care Services Board at RRH. Gatlin, a distinguished healthcare professional and researcher, is also one of the leading nursing education advocates in the region and will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to this prestigious role.

Gatlin will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the strategic vision and direction of Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and Unity Hospital in her new role as Chair of the Health Care Services Board. The Health Care Services Board provides strategic guidance and oversight to each of these hospitals. Her exceptional leadership skills and comprehensive understanding of healthcare challenges and opportunities will contribute significantly to the continued excellence of Rochester Regional in providing quality patient care and pioneering healthcare solutions.

“I am honored to be the first nurse to chair the Health Care Services Board.  I am passionate about and committed to advancing the overall quality of patient care,” said Gatlin. “I look forward to working with fellow board members over the coming years and continuing to improve the overall health quality of individuals who seek care within the Rochester Regional Health care system.” 

Gatlin joined St. John Fisher University and the Wegmans School of Nursing as Dean in 2020. Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions to nursing education and research. Gatlin often presents at national and international conferences on nursing topics, and her research findings have been published in peer-reviewed journals.  

Much of that work has focused on self-care and vulnerable populations. At Fisher, Gatlin has secured grants from the Mother Cabrini Foundation and Health Resources and Services Administration totaling more than $2 million to support efforts to improve nursing education through technology and diversify the workforce pipeline.

Gatlin’s knowledge as an educator and dedication to the nursing profession, practical experience as a Registered Nurse, and international leadership in adopting augmented and virtual reality into nursing education add tremendous value to her influence on the delivery of high-quality health care.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Tricia Gatlin as the new Chair of the Health Care Services Board,” said Richard “Chip” Davis, Ph.D., CEO of Rochester Regional Health. "Her impressive background in nursing education, her passion for research, and her commitment to improving community health care make her the ideal Chair of our esteemed Health Care Services Board."

Gatlin previously served as an Associate Professor and Associate Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and held various academic positions at esteemed institutions such as the University of Portland's School of Nursing, Clark College in Washington, and Clackamas Community College in Oregon. Here in Rochester, she sits on numerous boards and committees. She is also a member of the New York State Council of Deans, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, New York Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, New York Organization for Nursing Leadership, and NurseTrust. 

Gatlin holds a Ph.D. in Nursing Science from the University of Arizona, an M.S. in Nursing Leadership from the University of Portland, a B.S. from the University of Memphis, and an AA in Nursing from Dyersburg State Community College.

Overdose Awareness Day shines light on effort to spread 'hope and healing'

By Mike Pettinella
Overdose Awareness Day
Overdose Awareness Day at Austin Park on Wednesday featured messages of hope from community members on the dangers of opioids.  Photos by Steve Ognibene.
Cheryl Netter

Cheryl Netter and Scott Davis are two of the fortunate ones. They are people who have survived the grip of addiction and have emerged on the other side, now devoting their lives to helping others who are struggling with substance use disorder.

So many others didn’t make it. More than 100,000 in the United States over the past year alone – and nearly 80 Genesee and Orleans County residents who died of a drug overdose over the past four years.

Netter (photo at left) and Davis briefly shared their stories of anguish successful recovery on Wednesday afternoon at the annual Overdose Awareness Day at Austin Park.

The event, organized to raise awareness of the dangers of opioids and to remember those who have succumbed to an overdose, was coordinated by the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force, in conjunction with the National Institute of Health’s HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative.

Recognized as a community “hope coach,” Netter said she is “an overdose and suicide attempt survivor.”

“Leading up to my (suicide) attempt, much of my struggle and pain I chose not to allow people to see. I spent my younger years masking my way through life, not recognizing or even acknowledging my inner struggles,” she said. “This led me to dabbling with mental health issues, risky behavior, substance use and trying to (commit) suicide. I stand with you today only by the grace of God, and with many years of recovery and I'm able to tell my story in my own voice.”

She quickly shifted her focus off of herself to speak about those who are no longer with us because of drugs.

“We're here and I want to remember and acknowledge those individuals gathered here today, along with their families and friends. Those who aren’t able to tell their story with their own voice due to …losing the struggle of addiction and to talk about the crisis we’re all facing right now.”

Netter encouraged family members and friends to keep the stories of those departed alive.

“We’re sowing seeds of hope and healing, not only in the hearts and lives of others, but also in our own hearts and our own life,” she said. “Strength and recovery can be found by giving a voice to the stories of those who may otherwise go unseen and unheard.”

Scott Davis

Davis (photo at right) has been a certified peer recovery advocate for the Rochester Regional Health system for the past two years – a far cry from where he was for most of his adult life while addicted to heroin and fentanyl.

He shared that when his mother died in 2008, his life spiraled out of control, and the result was incarceration, institutions and near death. Eventually, and with the help of medication for opioid use disorder and support from family and friends, Davis pulled himself up, and continues in his recovery.

Two years ago, his brother died from an overdose, a searing pain that he said he is “working through.”

“Every day, there is something that reminds me of him,” he said. “He’s always there with me.”

Other speakers included John Bennett, chief executive officer at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse; Paul Pettit, public health director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, and Dawn Stone, peer advocate at Spectrum Health in Wyoming County.

John Bennett: We’re Working to Save Lives

John Bennett

“You would think that in the year 2023, with all of the people who have come out publicly – all the movie stars and athletes that have come out and talked about their addiction – that the stigma would reduce? But it hasn’t. It’s still there,” Bennett said. “So, I just want to thank all the people here today who are recovery warriors. It’s the work that you guys do every day. The support agencies like GCASA, to support the people in the community, that really make a big difference.”

He mentioned how the agency has grown in recent years from 65 to almost 200 employees and adding needed services such as housing for various groups, childcare, transportation and The Recovery Station social meeting place on Clinton Street Road.

“We also provide services for the homeless, particularly through a homeless housing grant that we recently got,” he said. “We’re going to be working on coming up with transitional housing crisis beds for these folks, where they will have a place to stay for seven to 15 days. Those are hard to find, but we’re working to make those come true.”

Bennett said recovery workers are making a difference by trying to save lives.

“My heart goes out to all of you who have lost a loved one. I can’t imagine the grief and loss. But know that we’re trying to make a difference behind the scenes to help future loss of life,” he said.

Paul Pettit: An ‘Urgent Public Health Threat’

Paul Pettit

Pettit said that data shows that the opioid epidemic continues to be a “very urgent public health and public safety threat in our communities.”

“Drug overdose deaths continue to be the number one leading cause of injury mortality in the United States,” he said. “It’s been that way for many years now. And unfortunately, it's probably going to continue to be the number one cause of death. It's more than vehicle accidents and other types of injuries.”

More than 100,000 people died by overdose last year in the U.S., he said, adding that since 2019, there have been 56 overdose deaths in Genesee County and 23 overdose deaths in Orleans County.

“That’s 79 individuals that have lost their lives to overdoses that we could have prevented; that we are working to prevent it. And that's why we're here today -- to bring awareness to that and to honor them,” he said.

Pettit credited the GOW Opioid Task Force, a three-county coalition founded in 2017, and the more recent HEALing Genesee initiative for examples of community human services agencies coming together to fight this epidemic. 

“Three areas that we continue to focus on in the community is opioid overdose prevention and education and naloxone (Narcan) distribution … medication for opioid use disorder and linking individuals to treatment, and safer opioid prescribing and dispensing.

Dawn Stone: ‘It Takes a Community’

Dawn Stone

Noting that she provides support and encouragement for people from the age of 5 to 90, Stone said “it takes a community” to combat the increasing mental health and substance use epidemic.

In recovery for 19 years, she said that 21 people have died due to an overdose in Wyoming County in recent years, with 41 being the average age of those individuals.

“It’s not just young people,” she said. “Substance use affects all ages. We need to ask our elders, ‘Are you OK?’ and offer them the help they need.”

To conclude the program, Brandi Smith of Batavia, who has been in recovery from heroin, fentanyl and cocaine for six years, read a poem, No Hero in Heroin, in memory of her brother, Jason, who died of an overdose.

In part, the poem states, “So alone, so filled with fear, but I kept on swimming, well, drowning in tears; I never gave up, finally said my goodbyes, found beauty in life, without you by my side; You’re part of my past now, no longer a friend, despite you name, there’s no HERO in heroin.”

Disclosure: Mike Pettinella is the publicist for GCASA.

Photos by Steven Ognibene.

agency booth
Information sharing was a big part of the event as representatives of more than 20 human service agencies participated.
kids
Children joined in on the experience by taking part in educational exercises.
co-chairs
Amy Kabel, left, and Sue Gagne served as co-chairs for the observance. Here they stand in front of flags representing those who have died due to an overdose.
face painting
Seven-year-old Elizabeth Dorchak getting her face painted at a GCASA booth.

Batavia Medical Center pushes back plans for opening

By Joanne Beck
batavia medical center
Batavia Medical Center 
Photo by Howard Owens

A media tour scheduled for Wednesday morning at the new Batavia Medical Center has been canceled, along with the grand opening of the Batavia-based facility set for Monday, Rochester Regional Health officials said.

RRH was waiting for a final letter from New York State signing off on the project, but that letter has not yet arrived. A new opening date has not been determined but will likely be sometime in mid-September, spokesperson Cristina Domingues Umbrino said Tuesday.

The health facility hosted a small tour for dignitaries at the new 95,000 square-foot site on Oak Orchard Road last Friday, with the plan to open it up to media this week in anticipation of an opening slated for Aug. 28. 

Some areas of NY seeing more COVID, Genesee has moderate increase

By Joanne Beck

While some areas in New York are seeing an uptick in COVID cases — enough to warrant stricter masking policies — that hasn’t been the case in Genesee County so far, Genesee and Rochester Regional Health officials say.

Two Upstate Medical hospitals recently reported revised policies to reinstate mandatory masking for all staff, visitors and patients in clinical areas of the hospitals’ spaces, and masking was also strongly encouraged for non-clinical areas as well, according to news reports

Genesee Orleans (GO) Health’s Public Information Officer Kaitlin Pettine said that there’s been an increase in COVID cases in the second week of August, but there has not been any new masking policy considered.

Her agency is reflecting the recommendations set forth by the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at this time, even though “medical centers/systems can also determine their protocols at their own discretion.”

"For the week of August 9 to 15, Genesee County had 10 new cases,” Pettine said. “As expected, we are seeing new strains of COVID. Each strain will present with varying levels of transmissibility and severity.  We will continue to monitor activity in our communities and provide recommendations as indicated."

Rochester Regional Health is seeing some increase in COVID inpatient admissions, but the number is considered “rather small,” communications specialist Cristina Domingues Umbrino said.  

“We are not considering reinstituting the mask mandate at this time,” she said. “Some restrictions remain in high-risk areas.”

Hospital restriction policies are available HERE.

As everyone moves into the fall season, Pettine encourages residents to practice the following public health advice for all respiratory illnesses: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider and get vaccinated. 

If you're curious about local cases, GO Health updates COVID-19 data on Wednesdays at the GO Health website 

RRH medical campus ready to open, officials celebrate with ribbon cutting

By Howard B. Owens
RRH UMMC Ribbon Cutting
Photo courtesy Rochester Regional Health.

With an opening date of Aug. 26 drawing closer, Rochester Regional Health celebrated the completion of its new medical campus in Batavia on Friday with a brief ceremony that included a ribbon cutting and a first look inside the building for a few dignitaries.

Many of the medical offices and services offered by United Memorial Medical Center and RRH at St. Jerome's and other medical buildings are moving into the new medical campus, making it more of a one-stop shop for area residents receiving out-patient medical care.

RRH invested nearly $45 million in the 95,000-square-foot facility.

Hospital officials describe the facility as "centrally located right off the Thruway, in a convenient place both for local residents and those coming from around the region."

There will be more than a dozen specialty services all under one roof, including primary care, pediatrics, orthopedics, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, vascular surgery, neurosciences and Sands-Constellation Heart Institute cardiologists.   

Lab services will also be offered at the campus.

The campus will also offer urgent care seven days a week.

Previously: RRH's 'one-stop' medical campus ready to open

ummc rrh facilities
Photo by Howard Owens
RRH UMMC Ribbon Cutting
UMMC President Dan Ireland.
Photo courtesy Rochester Regional Health.
RRH UMMC Ribbon Cutting
Photo courtesy Rochester Regional Health.
RRH UMMC Ribbon Cutting
Photo courtesy Rochester Regional Health.

RRH's 'one-stop' medical campus ready to open, Healthy Living on target for 2024

By Joanne Beck
dan ireland health living aug 2023
United Memorial Medical Center President Dan Ireland stands on Main Street in downtown Batavia in front of the Healthy Living Campus site in progress. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

As construction of the Healthy Living campus in downtown Batavia continues to take hold right under the noses of city-dwellers, another Rochester Regional Health project is about to set sail with an opening celebration just over the city’s north border on Route 98.

The $44.5 million, three-floor Batavia Medical Campus has been in progress for the last two years, and officials are preparing for a ribbon-cutting next Friday, United Memorial Medical Center President Dan Ireland says.

“Its intended purpose is to create greater access to health care for people around Genesee County, including Batavia, but then Genesee County and the surrounding area. The idea being is we're going to consolidate a number of services into that building. So it's almost one-stop shopping for patients, they can go there and they can get multiple appointments done, potentially at the same time,” Ireland said Friday afternoon at his North Street office. “And have ease of access to all the services that we're moving into the building, meaning that we're already offering them in the area, all are being moved there because they're reaching their capacity limits where they are and they needed more space to grow and offer more availability to patients.

“It's bringing new access to healthcare, it's bringing growth potential for the future. And, again, we chose the location because it really creates the most convenient access for folks,” he said. “We've worked closely with our (Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority) bus service for people who live in the city, they can use their on demand service and have the bus bring them out. We're not necessarily putting a bus stop in out there right now because to do that RG RTA has to do a lot of assessment, but they they've made it clear they're willing to offer services to people who call and request transportation to that campus.”

A merging of services
Coming from the hospital grounds, Batavia City Centre and the Jerome Center will be Batavia internal medicine, Batavia Pediatrics, Sans Constellation Heart Institute, the pain center and neurology, Genesee Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, general, vascular and a bariatric surgery practices, and lab, X-ray, ultrasound and MRI services.

Once services of X-ray,  lab, ultrasound, mammogram and dexascan are moved out of the Jerome Center, what will fill that empty space?

“I already have our teams looking at that,” Ireland said. “What does our community need? That’s a great space. Is it chemical dependency? Behavioral health? We will be talking to GCASA and to (Mental Health Director) Lynda Battaglia.”

While many of those service providers were filling to occupancy with no room left to expand, moving them out will afford more room for other physicians and practices looking to rent space, Ireland said.

“We have a number of services that need space, and we have private physicians in need of space looking to rent,” he said. “We’re in health discussions with them.”

Urgent care, which was closed some time ago, will be moved back into the Jerome Center, and other areas have reached their life limit, such as 207 Summit St., which will be knocked down to create more parking space as part of the new configurations, he said. 

An important term in construction these days, apparently, is “shell space,” carving out empty cavities for future use. There will be some shell space as part of the medical campus for a Phase II down the road, as “we know the needs of the community keep evolving,” Ireland said.

Architects were thinking some time ago at the UMMC campus and built in some of that “shell space” on the second floor over radiology. That’s “on our radar for the next big project,” Ireland said, for a new intensive care unit to shore up the current one that’s circa 1954. 

“We’re navigating the fundraising,” he said, for a cost of somewhere in the ballpark of $12.5 million.

There’s no definite timeline for that project at this time.

Covering the details at Batavia Medical Campus
There is covered parking under the Batavia Medical Campus building for patients to alleviate a need to walk across windy parking lots, he said. All providers are to make the transition at the same time by the end of August, and patients are to be notified of the change in location when making appointments, he said. 

Touted as a “destination campus,” the 112,000-square-foot site will be home to experts in more than 20 specialty areas in a state-of-the-art multi-provider medical complex at 8193 Oak Orchard Road.

Specialties include: cardiac, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general surgery,  imaging, infusion, laboratory, neurology, orthopedics, podiatry, otolaryngology, pain management, pediatric, primary and urgent care, vascular surgery and women’s health specialty services.

And on the other end of town, there’s still a lot of construction going on at Healthy Living, with an estimated 40 percent completion at this point, Ireland said. 

Although not done, it has caused a stir among some people who have come back to visit and noted the new development and flurry of contractor activity. 

“That's the exciting part about it. I mean, I think we knew, once we determined what the design was gonna be, it was going to be transformational on Main Street. And I think when we're all said and done, and the new building’s up, and the old YMCA is down, I think it's just going to be a beautiful part of the Main Street streetscape,” he said. “And the goal is just to be inviting people to come in. I mean, the beauty of the partnership with the YMCA is we can bring health and wellness right together and bring doctors to work in closely with people who are going to the Y for their physical fitness or wellness activity, and folks at the Y can easily get to access to our preventative care work.”

So who will be moving into the new digs?
This project has been ongoing this past year, including the razing of the old Healthy Living headquarters in Cary Hall and erecting concrete walls and foundational structures for what will eventually house services from 164 Washington Ave., including breast cancer and colon screenings, diabetic educators, smoking cessation classes, and Baby Cafe, plus Batavia Primary Care from the Jerome Center and a big meeting room to provide education classes for employees, a computer training lab, and a multi-purpose room for a teaching kitchen.

“So we can offer bigger classes and better access to people for learning and growth, and on the Y side, the state-of-the-art pool and gymnasium and workout equipment. Really, it's going to be an exciting place to go. And as I said, very inviting, it's designed to draw people to come in, you know, use the multi-purpose room, use the services at that location, gather there,” he said. “And the outside landscape that we're putting in will be inviting to do outside programs.

“So, like you said, we started with a beautiful day like today and want to be out, I mean, you could have meetings like this right out on the terrace that's going to be built there, or if you want to do exercise or yoga or things like that, I mean we're envisioning those things happening during the nice sunny days,” he said. “But then when it's cold and damp, we'll be able to come inside and be warm inside with the bright colors and the, really, I think, the inviting atmosphere.”

So while spectators are seeing scaffolding and rubble, wondering just why it’s taking so long to reach the endpoint, what’s been happening at this new facility spot?

All of the plumbing is being dug, the decks are being poured, as the goal is to get it enclosed before winter, he said. 

The pool is slated to be dug out for installation soon, with a completion date still set for mid to late summer 2024. 

“The whole intent of the project is to build the new (YMCA) before closing this one,” he said. “We want to keep it open for as long as possible without disruption.”

Foundations and footers have been poured, and steel girders put in along with block walls, he said. But there are also open spaces, and that’s intentional. 

“What I think what's really cool about that location is, there's a lot of space that still looks like what's supposed to go there because it's wide open. But a lot of that's glass, and that's what's going to be nice because it's going to create a nice footprint, they'll be glass and panels that'll be going out there,” he said. “Our biggest thing we didn't want to do is turn it into just a brick structure that was just, you know, brick, we wanted to make it more of a feeling.” 

That layout is every bit symbolic of the way in which this project began — it originated from a feeling communicated by the city, school district, county, Youth Bureau, hospital and YMCA leaders.

The numbers spoke loud and clear that this was no small or easy task: $10.5 million from UMMC, which received a $7.5 million state transformation grant, used $1 million from capital reserves and raised another $2 million from donations, and about $22 million from YMCA, a substantial amount to come from an ongoing fundraising campaign.

“I think when we started, people weren't sure it was going to be possible. And it was, and is, and so it just goes to show the testament of our community. I mean, Batavia and Genesee County, we want to have good services here, we want to have places for people to go that are safe and welcoming and whatnot. And I think when you introduce something and bring the community in like we did … it wasn't like one person saying, I want to build a Y or one person saying I want to build this campus, or I want to build a hospital building or whatever … everybody was talking together, saying what can we do and what would be the most impactful? And that's the genesis of what is now being built,” he said. “So it's truly a community building that came from the needs of all parts of the community coming together. So that's what makes it very special for me. Because when it's said and done next year, I mean, we're going to open the doors for a lot of people to get access to stuff that they may not have experienced previously.”

Photos by Howard Owens.

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Batavia Medical Campus on Oak Orchard Road in the Town of Batavia is set to open by the end of August.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Batavia Medical Campus includes a parking lot underneath the building.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Batavia Medical Campus.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Healthy Living Campus in downtown Batavia is set for an opening in mid to late 2024.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Healthy Living Campus in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Healthy Living Campus is about 40 percent complete.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Annual health professional scholarship recipients announced

By Press Release
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 Annette LaBarbera congratulates and presents $300 check to Jennifer Kula

Press Release:

The St. Jerome Guild, Inc., selects the recipients of the annual St. Jerome Guild Health Career Professional Scholarship 2023.

Two UMMC/Rochester Regional Healthcare providers are this year’s recipients. This award is offered annually to outstanding employees who are continuing their education to support healthcare in our local community through UMMC/Rochester Regional Health.

Nicole Hopkins, RN, specializing in patient pain management is striving for a degree in Family Care Nurse Practitioner and currently attending Roberts Wesleyan. Jennifer Kula, is a patient care technician and is currently enrolled in the second year RN program at Genesee Community College.

Additional awards of $100 each were given to Mary Caprio and Vanessa Eason who are both pursuing degrees to enhance their careers at UMMC.

If you have any questions, please call me at the cell below or contact me at maredickinson@gmail.com.

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Marilyn Dickinson congratulates and presents $300 check to Nicole Hopkins

 Submitted Photos

RRH issues update to COVID-19 vaccine policy for team members

By Press Release

Press Release:

Rochester Regional Health (RRH) is pleased to announce a significant update to its COVID-19 vaccine policy. Effective July 7, RRH will no longer require the COVID-19 vaccine for employment, following the repeal of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) mandate and the recent announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) regarding the end of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers at CMS-certified healthcare facilities.

As RRH aligns with the NYSDOH's decision to fully repeal the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare facilities, the organization acknowledges the evolving landscape and the need for flexibility while upholding the safety and well-being of its employees, patients, and community.

"We are excited to share this update regarding our COVID-19 vaccine policy," said Charlene Wilson, Chief Human Resource Officer at Rochester Regional Health. "Our priority has always been the health and safety of our employees, patients, and community. With the NYSDOH's repeal of the vaccine mandate, we believe this change will provide increased choice and autonomy for our dedicated staff."

While the vaccine requirement is being lifted, RRH strongly encourages all employees and community members to consider the benefits of vaccination. Vaccination continues to be an essential tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and safeguarding public health. RRH will maintain vaccine availability at its facilities for those who wish to receive it.

Former employees who left RRH due to the NYS Vaccine Mandate are also welcomed back to the organization. They are invited to learn more and apply for open positions by visiting careers.rochesterregional.org If they choose to re-apply and accept an offer, RRH will work rapidly to bring them on board.

UMMC's Lemonade Stand helps support patients, teaches children community care

By Howard B. Owens
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The UMMC/RRH Lemonade Stand, after a successful debut last summer, was back at Centennial Park on Thursday, this time with live music.

One reason to bring it back, said Lori Aratari, senior development officer for UMMC, was that last year's event raised $15,000, which was double the amount anticipated.

That's great, but really, it really is about the kids.

"That's the biggest thing," Aratari said. "We're getting kids involved in philanthropy at a young age and showing them the importance of giving back and especially supporting health care in our community."

This year, donations to the event will be used to assist patients dealing with congestive heart failure.

"We're going to be able to purchase these kits. They're $60 each, and these kits have some tools that patients can use to help keep them out of the hospital," Aratari said. "The tools include a digital scale and a blood pressure machine that's digital. So being able to give them the tools will help keep them home and keep them healthier."

There were 260 patients who came through UMMC in the past year to be treated for congestive heart failure. 

"If we can get every one of them a kit, that would be wonderful," Aratari said. "Every dollar we raise will stay here and will allow us to buy those kits."

Photos by Howard Owens.

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No need for panic with air quality haze, but use caution, MD says

By Joanne Beck
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Dr. Shahzad Mustafa

If the smells wafting through your open windows have been tinged with burning embers more than tangy barbecue sauce Tuesday, they’re likely coming from wildfires raging through eastern Canada, and a rheumatology expert has five words of advice to keep in mind.

Don’t panic and use caution, says Dr. Shahzad Mustafa of Rochester Regional Health’s Immunology and Rheumatology Department.

“It would have a modest impact on respiratory conditions, and there’s absolutely no reason for panic,” Mustafa said during a Zoom call with journalists Tuesday afternoon. “You don’t want to overreact … but you want to be thoughtful about it. The analogy would be if you’re around (someone smoking tobacco). Certainly, it can be irritating, and it can affect how you feel, but I wouldn’t expect certain respiratory effects in the short term. By short-term, I mean hours, days, not lifelong.”

One journalist had said the state Department of Environmental Conservation had graded air quality at a level of 152, which Mustafa said was not an unhealthy stage, but one that should be heeded. 

If people are exercising outdoors and begin to feel the effects of the smoke — considered to be pollutants and not allergens, he said — then they may want to take it indoors.

Some school districts, including Batavia City Schools, canceled outdoor activities for the day due to the air quality warnings that have been issued this past week and with a special emphasis on Tuesday via news reports.

The eastern section of the United States was literally facing some unhealthy air conditions as winds carried in the hazy effects of wildfires from Ohio Valley to as far south as the Carolinas, according to NBC News.

Journalists from various counties in the region remarked just how palpable these fires have become locally — in sight, smell and taste of a dirty sky, sooty air and ashy flavor.

There can be a degree of impairment to anyone, Mustafa said; however, that’s more a statement of caution than fact, and to use common sense about going and remaining outside. As for those school districts, such as Batavia canceling its Color Run for the day, they were being prudent, he said.

“I think it’s a reasonable approach to cancel outdoor physical education for today due to allergic conditions, and if asthma affects a couple of kids, that’s a reasonable approach out of an abundance of caution,” he said. “And if it’s short-lived, I think it’s okay.  We’re kind of blessed. We don’t get impacted by outdoor air quality that often, as major metropolitan areas with population are affected more often.”

What about pet lovers? Should they continue to take Max for his walks?
“It’s hard to know; there may be impacts. Maybe shorten your walks,” Mustafa said. “Most people can do outdoor activities, but if you’re not feeling well, get inside.”

Keep in mind to:

  • Use common sense and monitor how you, your pet and others around you are feeling.
  • Consider wearing a mask if you are very sensitive to the current air quality.
  • Do what you feel is best for you in the absence of significant health concerns.
  • Understand that short-term exposure may be okay versus long-term, which “can have a tremendous impact on health.”

Later on Tuesday, the state DEC issued an air quality advisory for Genesee and several other Western New York counties through midnight Wednesday.

UMMC celebrates excellence, awards and patient healing

By Joanne Beck
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Since United Memorial Medical Center has partnered with Healogics, an industry leader in wound care, it has cared for 9,000 patients and 40,000 wounds in the last seven years alone, with "highly skilled and trained staff” leading the hospital’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center as the recipient of two awards for its treatment achievements this week, Healogics Director of Operations Toni McCutcheon said Tuesday at the North Street facility.

“There are 65 collective years of experience in this wound care center, which is amazing. They provide exceptional wound care within the community. And since the center's opening, they have encountered nearly 40,000 wounds. It's amazing. It's amazing what the center does, it is reasonable to expect this center to have exceptional care and amazing healing outcomes,” she said. “So with that, the first award I'm going to present is an award for Clinical Excellence. This award is achieved by clinics that are in the top 10 percent of the wound meats adjusted comprehensive heal rate. The center is compared against over 600 other centers within the country that achieved top 10 percent.”

She added that, having visited the center, it’s an obvious team effort, and “these patients are well cared for and their wounds are healed and that's important to get them back their quality of life.”

This is a first for the Clinical Excellence Award, and a seventh time to be named Center of Distinction.

Dan Ireland, CEO of UMMC, spoke on behalf of hospital leadership and the board to congratulate the team and tell them, “we can’t be more proud of what this team has accomplished for the seventh time.”

“I can reflect on years ago when we first opened the center, we were all excited to have hyperbaric machines like that was the really cool thing to have. And we would show them off, but it quickly went beyond the fact of the equipment that we have, but to this great culture of a care team that we have here,” he said. “And it can't go without noticing it is all types of providers that play a role in here. You know from from Dr. Canzoneri and his provider team, to our PAs to our LPNs to our nurses to our support staff. They collectively work together to make sure that care is provided to the highest level and to be able to receive an award like this with such high score.”

One his Dr. Joseph Canzoneri’s “special patients,” Cherry Carl, shared her story of needing help for a hematoma that was ‘huge, painful” and could not be treated by her primary care physician. So she researched it and found UMMC’s Wound Care Center.

She drove two hours round-trip, and Dr. Canzoneri agreed to help. He explained what he was doing step-by-step and treated cut out the hematoma so that she could heal.

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"No matter who you are, no matter where you are in your life's journey, you're welcome here. And no wound I think, is too small in this place. And then he exudes confidence. And he made sure that I knew what I had to do when I went home,” she said. “That meant weeks of coming here once a week, so he could scrape and scrape, and then it healed, but I if I hadn't come … because the wound was infected with Mersa an E. Coli. And if I had ignored it, I don't know.”

Canzoneri said that 50 million people globally suffer from foot and leg ulcerations each year, and the average healing time in most cases is over a year. That puts patients at high risk for amputations, death and other comorbidities, he said.

“Studies have proven and shown that basically, this team approach that we have here, especially at UMMC, helps reduce these comorbidities and mortality by 9 percent. Now, our job at UMMC wound care is not just to heal the patient, but it's to heal the patient as fast as we can and prevent the reoccurrence,” he said. “Our team approaches and uniqueness at UMMC help us further utilize our well-trained nurses, our dieticians, hospitals, physicians, infectious disease team vascular specialists, podiatry, orthopedics, nephrology, endocrinology or cardiology consultants, radiology, physical therapy, orthotics, home nursing care, and I'm sure a few others I forgot to mention. 

"This ability to coordinate quickly and effectively is what the patient needs in our Wound Care Center is what really makes us and helps us achieve that seven-year center of distinction,” he said.

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Top Photo: Toni McCutcheon, director of operations for Healogics, left, presents an Award of Clinical Excellence to United Memorial Medical Center's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, led by Dr. Joseph Canzoneri, far right, Tuesday at the Batavia facility; team members celebrate their seventh Center of Distinction Award, also presented during the event; and a special patient shares her story with event participants. Bottom photo, a poem written by Cherry Carl for Dr. Joseph Canzoneri. Photos by Howard Owens.

Genesee County granted $540k for Healthy Living project

By Joanne Beck

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Although it wasn’t as much as officials could have hoped for, a Restore NY grant has been approved to help with the expenses of the Healthy Living project in downtown Batavia.

In August, Genesee County Legislature agreed to serve as the applicant on behalf of the new campus to merge a portion of United Memorial Medical Center and GLOW YMCA services. The grant limit was up to $2 million, and Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that a grant of $540,000 had been awarded.

Funds will be used to demolish the old 55,000-square-foot YMCA, and a 10,000-square-foot obsolete boiler house owned by Rochester Regional Health-UMMC, which will provide space to accommodate a new downtown park and parking.

The project was selected as a priority Downtown Revitalization Initiative project and is also supported by the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area plan. 

More than $102 million was awarded to 64 projects through the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Restore New York supports municipal revitalization efforts across the state, Hochul’s office stated in a press release.

Those efforts to help remove blight, reinvigorate downtowns and generate economic opportunity in communities statewide. The program, administered by Empire State Development, is designed to help local governments revitalize their communities and encourage commercial investment, improve the local housing stock, put properties back on the tax rolls and increase the local tax base.

Once approved, the grant is to “flow through the county,” County Manager Matt Landers had said during the application process.

The grant is to go toward some of the demolition costs of the GLOW YMCA site between Wiard and Bank streets. The county can charge up to $10,000 for administrative costs, “which should be more than enough for us to cover our costs,” Landers had said.

"These Restore New York grants will help to reimagine downtowns across our state and transform vacant, blighted, and underutilized buildings into vibrant community anchors," Hochul said in the release. "Thanks to $102 million of state investment, we are breathing new life into communities from Hudson to North Hempstead, jumpstarting new economic activity, and ensuring that New York State continues to be a place where people come to live, work, and raise their families." 

New life for downtown Batavia is to come from the partnership of RRH-UMMC and GLOW YMCA to develop a $33.5 million, two-story, 78,000-square-foot regional health and wellness facility. The new site will integrate a new YMCA facility with state-of-the-art medical space for the Healthy Living program.

"Restore NY invigorates our urban centers and is a vital tool in the economic development tool kit for rebuilding communities that need it most,” Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said. “This funding will help local governments find solutions to blighted buildings so they can move forward towards a more vibrant future."

As for the county’s sponsorship as applicant, there is no county match, and no county cost aside from administrative expenses, Landers said.

The plan is to have the new building constructed at the former Cary Hall and Elks Lodge space so that YM members can use that during the demolition of the YMCA.

At the time of application, Rob Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA, said there shouldn’t be any downtime for members, as they will transition over to the freshly completed site while the older YM building is taken down, he said.

“And continue operations without hurting the community and our services to the community — that was important to us, both from a mission standpoint and service standpoint,” Walker said.

The facility has previously been outlined — a pool, updated exercise equipment, and brand new amenities alongside Healthy Living’s teaching kitchen, classrooms and offices — and Walker described the outside space being “a nice streetscape park area” with benches, trees, lighting and an open grassy area for some outdoor activities, plus additional parking space.

File Photo of the beginnings of a new Healthy Living campus in downtown Batavia this August, by Howard Owens.

RRH receives Climate Champion award

By Press Release

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health is pleased to announce that we have been named a 2022 Climate Champion by Health Care Without Harm. As a participant in the Health Care Climate Challenge, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, preparing for the impacts of extreme weather, and promoting policies to protect public health from climate change.

This year we received recognition as a national leader for the efforts and success of our institution and staff with the 2022 Climate Champions Awards. Our health system earned awards for the following categories:

  • Renewable Energy – Gold
  • Climate Resilience – Silver
  • Climate Leadership – Silver

“We celebrate this moment with everyone at our institution and continue to press forward with our efforts to reduce waste, eliminate toxins, and create a more sustainable community now and for the future,” said Michael Waller, PhD, Director of Sustainability at Rochester Regional Health.

“We are honored to receive these latest awards and to be a part of a global community of health care institutions on every continent leading the transformation to climate-smart health care,” said Richard ‘Chip’ Davis, PhD, CEO of Rochester Regional Health. “Thank you to everyone here at Rochester Regional for your commitment to care in mindful ways that strive to protect the future health of our community, our environment, and our planet.

To learn more about Rochester Regional Health’s sustainability commitments and other efforts, please visit our Sustainability website.

UMMC closing St. Jerome's urgent care pending Healthy Living opening

By Press Release

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health has made the decision to close the Batavia Urgent Care at the Jerome Medical Center effective August 1, as it prepares to offer reimagined urgent care services in the Batavia Medical Campus on Oak Orchard Rd. opening next year.  Our community’s health and wellbeing is extremely important to us, so while that new four-story, 115,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building is under construction, RRH continues to offer urgent care services through primary care offices, telemedicine and at United Memorial Medical Center.

Every staff member from the Batavia Urgent Care is moving into another position within the RRH system while the organization works through the Urgent Care redesign.

“Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial envision a future healthcare model with many complimentary services under one roof that provide reliable high-quality care,” said United Memorial Medical Center President Dan Ireland.  “Existing demands for staff and resources require new thoughts on how to operate services like Urgent Care. Now is the time to reflect on the future of healthcare and thoughtfully redesign the model of care that will serve our community in the years to come.”

  • Primary care offices remain open, and providers aware of the changes ahead are prepared to see any patients with urgent needs 
  • RRH ExpressCare offers patients immediate, on-demand virtual appointments with providers through patients’ MyCare accounts.  https://www.rochesterregional.org/services/telemedicine
  • UMMC’s Emergency Department as always, is ready 24/7 to see any patients with true medical emergencies

In the coming days and weeks, patients will receive letters with more information and there will be new signs at the Batavia Urgent Care site about the changes.

The new Batavia Medical Campus building is slated to open in the Spring of 2023.

Long-awaited arrival to groundbreaking ceremony for Healthy Living project

By Joanne Beck

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Over the last six-plus years, plans — and hopes — for a new and improved Healthy Living campus have certainly been put to the test.

A zoning change, suggestions for less cement and more green space, lighting up Wiard Street and rethinking an entry/exit from Summit Street, plus the constant push to raise money for the $33.5 million project may have given pause but never a fullstop since 2016.

Officials and community members celebrated Monday what United Memorial Medical Center CEO Dan Ireland described as making “this vision a reality.”

Ireland and about 100 others gathered at 213 East Main St., Batavia, one of the parcels between Main and Bank Street that will be the future 78,000-square-foot facility.

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“This is a pivotal and historic day in our community’s health and wellness journey,” Ireland said. “We are breaking ground on an innovative, forward-thinking model of integrated health and wellness that will transform downtown Batavia. From a healthcare perspective, this facility and model of care that it represents will exemplify how healthcare can evolve to support the healthcare needs of the community today and for the next generations.”

“The Healthy Living Campus is the future of health care, where medical and wellness programs are integrated under one roof. It’s made possible through our community partnerships, and it’s helping patients get all the care they need and deserve in one place. 

He recalled the high level of effort it has taken during the past nearly seven years of planning, collaboration and diligent work to reach this point. He credited Rochester Regional Health’s staff teams, community partners, GLOW YMCA and “most importantly you” for arriving at the day shovels were symbolically plunged into the earth.

Not only was the event about a new facility, but also about an “innovative and integrated” system of what and how care is delivered. Meal planning, building healthy habits, assessing mental and physical health, and taking preventive measures for well-being are just some of the services to be offered.

Add in state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a new pool, an indoor track, a teaching kitchen, and an adventure room play area for children.

Top it off with 22 exam rooms and two medical procedure rooms for primary care, telemedicine appointments, behavioral health and crisis intervention support, cancer prevention, chronic illness, and community education services, and the site is a one-stop-shop for many health concerns and fitness goals, officials said. There will also be a drop-in childcare center.

“Today is not just a celebration of a new building or clinic, it’s the celebration of a community coming together to reimagine health and wellness of the future and transform our downtown," Ireland said. "It’s celebrating you and your friends and neighbors who have worked tirelessly over seven years to advocate, plan and collaborate to make this vision a reality. Without your voices, your ideas, your support, we would not be here today at this milestone. We are embarking on this exciting new chapter of health and wellness in Downtown Batavia.”

The project’s birth was a few city managers ago, when talk of an expanded Healthy Living campus at times seemed pie-in-the-sky for some. Seeing it finally come to fruition is “a big load off our minds,” City Council President Eugene Jankowski said.

“I’m excited to see this project begin,” he said. “There were a lot of setbacks, and it’s really easy to call it quits.”

He thanked all involved for remaining steadfast on the journey and “moving forward to positive outcomes” in the city’s future.

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Robert Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA, remembered picking up the phone back then and becoming engaged in the concept. Almost seven years later, this plan “has truly changed the path of both organizations,” he said.

“Your leadership and support have impacted me tremendously,” he said.

He cited the YMCA’s mission statement: To develop the spiritual, mental, and physical wellness of all people in an atmosphere of Christian fellowship and thanked individual and collective community members for their determination to come together, strive for improvement, and see this project through.

“The GLOW YMCA and Rochester Regional Health Healthy Living Campus is a place for children, adults, and families from all walks of life in our community to come together and improve their lives — spirit, mind and body,” Walker said. “The state-of-the-art campus will not only be a benefit for the health of our residents, but also for the health of our local businesses, transforming downtown Batavia.”

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Perhaps equally notable to the support for the project is the timing now, in the midst of a post-pandemic, RRH CEO Dr. Richard Davis said.

We’re all about reimagining what healthcare can and must be in the 21st Century, we’re focusing on those strategic themes and talents of literally 20,000 of our team members … delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time, to achieve the right health outcomes for the right value,” he said. “Healthy Living is a shining example of what truly is an innovative model.”

The strengths of two organizations — RRH and YMCA — are being brought together to offer the best of each one alone as an essential service to the city of Batavia, he said.

Officials also included Rob Rodriguez, NYS secretary of state, Senator Edward Rath III, Tom Houseknecht, on behalf of him and his wife Lynn, and Paul Battaglia, chairman of the YMCA Campaign Committee.

“I know when we started this quest in 2016 … many people thought this was an impossible dream. Now … this dream is coming true,” Battaglia said. “Today we’re not just celebrating the groundbreaking of a building, but celebrating the health of our community. This is a transformational project that is going to completely change the downtown area. It’s going to bring people downtown, create excitement and vitality that we believe will have a significant domino effect on the local businesses there. We could not be prouder of this relationship.”

The Healthy Living project was made possible with state, federal and community fundraiser monies, including an NYS economic development health care grant of $11.6 million, a $4.1 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, and ongoing fundraising efforts by more than 50 GLOW YMCA and RRH volunteers.

Officials expect construction to be completed in 2023.

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Top photo: Officials take shovels in hand for the symbolic gesture during the Healthy Living campus groundbreaking ceremony Monday at 16 Bank St., Batavia. United Memorial Medical Center CEO Dan Ireland, Rob Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA and Rochester Regional Health CEO Dr. Richard Davis say a few words during the event. Photos by Howard Owens. Renderings of the project provided by RRH.

Tuck 'em in, keep 'em safe

By Joanne Beck

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For anyone in the vicinity of Centennial Park Thursday, you may have spotted a bunch of lemonade stands, correlating yellow decor and people enjoying the warm weather with a cool cup of lemonade. 

What you may not have noticed so readily was the fundraising taking place with each cup of beverage sold. The event, hosted by Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center, was to raise money for baby swaddles. A goal was set to purchase 500 of the infant wraps to give to local moms. 

So why baby swaddles? What are they and why are they important enough to warrant a specific fundraiser? Over at the Healthy Living stand, registered nurse and maternal health educator Jay Balduf put it succinctly with a  two-digit number: 93.

“Ninety-three babies die annually in New York State alone, either by being rolled on by another person or loose bedding,” she said. “So that's why we promote the Safe Sleep initiative on the unit. Sacks play a role in teaching new parents, and any parent, really, about the importance of safe sleep. And it just helps us also to give back a little to the community, because most of these kids were probably delivered at UMMC.”

Baby swaddles and sacks are promoted for infants as a safe way to be in a crib and for sleep time. Other embellishments — pillows, blankets, clothing — can become a hazard if the baby gets entangled or covered with such material, said Linda Stoiber, an RN and lactation consultant.

“The hospital is a Baby-Friendly Hospital and a safe sleep designated hospital where babies are placed on their back. They are swaddled with these new swaddlers,” Stoiber said. “There should never be another blanket or a pillow, or anything around the crib, nothing else that would affect the baby then cover their face and cause them to suffocate.”

Megan Boring learned early on — with two Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies of her own — the importance of making them feel safe, helping them to grow and be warm. A coordinator of Healthy Living’s MOMS (Medicaid Obstetrics Maternal Services)  program, she supports the belief that babies don’t belong on their bellies, she said, but more safely on their backs. Swaddling them keeps their arms tucked nicely inside, and it mimics a cocoon “as if they're sleeping still inside … the mom's womb,” she said.

“So the Safe Sleep initiative is really to help keep them on their back while they're sleeping,” she said. “I think there are moms that don't understand the importance of the swaddles. They can be expensive to some moms too. They are upwards of $25 to $30 and not all moms have. So I think that this fundraiser is important because it's going to help moms get at least one to have so that they can also be educated on safe sleep for their babies. (See related story, Lemonade stands bring out supporters, creativity and lots of yellow.)

For more information about Healthy Living programs, call (585) 344-5331 or go here.

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Top photo: Healthy Living's Baby Cafe staff Linda Stoiber, left, and MOMS program coordinator Megan Boring, hand out lemonade with information for anyone interested in baby swaddling, breastfeeding and other maternal-related issues Thursday during the Lemonade Stand fundraiser at Centennial Park. Above, Jay Balduf, Megan Boring and Linda Stoiber greet a visitor at the Healthy Living stand. Photos by Howard Owens.

 

 

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