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Health Insurance Hearing, ECMC and Sheehan Collaborate on Detox Project

By WBFO Staff

Buffalo, NY – State Health Commissioner Richard Daines appeared at a public hearing in downtown Buffalo Wednesday on ways to expand health insurance coverage in the state.

The state says 2.6 million New Yorkers do not have health care coverage. Supporters of expanded coverage held a rally outside the ECC City Campus, where the hearing was held. Hillary Clarke of the American Cancer Society says health care reform is an urgent need.

The Buffalo hearing is the second in a series of public hearings focusing on Governor Spitzer's "Partnership for Coverage."

Erie County Medical Center and Sheehan Hospital Wednesday announced an agreement to collaborate on substance abuse treatment. ECMC will transfer ten of its acute care detoxification beds to Sheehan.

The plan is a modification of the recommendation from the Berger Commission. It called for ECMC to transfer all 22 of its beds designated for substance abuse treatment. But hospital officials say they decided some patients who require additional medical services should be treated at ECMC.

ECMC CEO Michael Young called it a "joyful collaboration."

Officials say the modified plan, which will be formally submitted, was discussed with the state Department of Health.