October 30, 2008
With a vision to create the region’s most state-of-art emergency facility, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo has broken ground on a $32 million construction project that will result in a 46,000 square-foot addition to the front of the hospital. Over 200 people gathered at the hospital today, October 30, 2008, for a Blessing and Groundbreaking Ceremony where Catholic Health and Mercy Hospital officials and staff were joined by local religious, political and business leaders to celebrate the start of the project.
Participating in the ceremony were: Sister Nancy Hoff, RSM, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community, who delivered the opening prayer and remarks; Carl J. Montante, Chairman of the Catholic Health Board of Directors; Joseph McDonald, President and CEO of Catholic Health; Congressman Brian Higgins, (NY-27th District) U.S. House of Representatives; and Mayor of Buffalo Byron Brown. The Most Reverend Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, D.D., Bishop of Buffalo, performed the blessing. Mercy Hospital President and CEO C.J. Urlaub served as the Master of Ceremonies.
“Our plan to expand and enhance emergency services at Mercy Hospital will soon become a reality and we are grateful to so many people who have brought us to this moment,” said Joseph McDonald, CHS President and CEO. “The project has been in the planning stages for quite some time as we’ve seen Mercy’s ER volume rise significantly in recent years. We especially thank the New York State Department of Health and the City of Buffalo for recognizing this community need and helping this project move forward.”
Currently operating one of the busiest emergency departments in Western New York, Mercy Hospital is responding to a critical community need for expanded emergency services. The new ER at Mercy is the second major Emergency Department construction project and largest undertaking of its kind for Catholic Health. In 2005, Catholic Health opened a new Emergency Department at St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga. The entire project at Mercy, which will not disrupt current hospital and ER services, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2010, with the new ER projected to be in operation by December 2009.
Emergency room visits at Mercy have steadily increased in recent years, with over 37,000 patients seeking care at Mercy Hospital in 2007 and another 30,000 at the Mercy Ambulatory Care Center in Orchard Park. Along with Kenmore Mercy, Sisters and St. Joseph Hospitals, Catholic Health is a major provider of emergency care in the region serving nearly 140,000 patients annually.
“The new ER will be a great community benefit for the thousands of patients we serve each year,” said C.J. Urlaub, President and CEO of Mercy Hospital. “With a longtime commitment of offering our patients the latest advances in equipment and medical technology, we constantly strive to improve the patient experience. This new, world-class ER facility will help us do just that and create a more pleasant and healing environment for our patients while expanding space for our doctors, nurses and staff to perform their lifesaving work.”
When completed, the new ER will feature 34 private patient treatment rooms, including three airborne isolation rooms, and two cardiac/trauma resuscitation rooms, along with expanded space for physician staff, nursing and support services.
“We learned a lot from St. Joseph Hospital’s ER success and will replicate many of the process and design features that have resulted in more efficient care and better service,” said Richard Elman, M.D., Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mercy Hospital. “Our overall design goal is to create a facility that offers greater flexibility in more comfortable, patient-friendly surroundings to provide our patients with the best possible care in the shortest possible time.”
The exterior design incorporates green space and gardens to complement the Olmsted-designed Cazenovia Park located across the street from the hospital. A row of windows in the addition will allow for natural, soothing light in the treatment rooms.
“We appreciate the hard work of all our staff who made it possible to begin this much needed project,” Urlaub said. “We also want to thank our patients and their families for continuing to entrust Mercy Hospital with their care. We also want to assure our patients that hospital and ER services will not be disrupted as a result of our construction project.”
Urlaub added, “We have gone through many changes in the past few years, transforming Mercy into one of the premier health care facilities in Western New York. This significant investment is another example of our ongoing commitment to provide our community with the highest quality care and service.”