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Erie County will hire an architect to explore renovating a closed county health clinic on Broadway so it could reopen for primary care. Among the possibilities is a Catholic Health System proposal to lease the space so it could expand the services it provides nearby at its Lovejoy St. Vincent Health Center on Bailey Avenue.
County and Catholic Health officials have been in preliminary talks about reopening the building at 1500 Broadway that once housed the county’s Dr. Matt Gajewski Health Services Center, according to documents submitted to the County Legislature when it approved hiring an architect for the site.
“We’ve got a long history of service to the Lovejoy-Bailey area,” said Joseph D. McDonald, president and CEO of Catholic Health. “We’re trying to explore opportunities to expand primary care services in that community, and frankly, we need more space, and we need a better facility to serve that community because we are packed to the gills.”
The county health clinic on Broadway closed in 2010 under then-County Executive Chris Collins, who wanted to trim nonmandated services from the county budget. Since then, McDonald said, Catholic Health has seen more demand for primary care at its Lovejoy site as the number of clinics serving Buffalo has gone down.
Catholic Health officials approached Erie County with a proposal for a public-private partnership for the Broadway office after County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz expressed interest in reopening a clinic there. Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Gale Burstein toured a health care facility in Elmira in April to see a county-run facility that offers primary care for Medicaid recipients.
Burstein, responding to questions from The Buffalo News, said county health officials “are exploring innovative opportunities to ensure that Erie County residents have access to quality health care, while saving taxpayer dollars through the power of [preventive] care.”
“At this time, Erie County is considering a range of services to be delivered and assorted methods of delivery,” Burstein said. “A final decision is anticipated by midyear 2013.”

email: djgee@buffnews.com