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Niagara County hospitals receive $1 million for capital needs

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Three hospitals in Niagara County are receiving state money for various capital projects.

One million dollars from the state budget will be divided by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston and DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center will receive $400,000 to use in an ongoing construction project. Joseph Ruffalo, the hospital's president and chief executive officer, explained the money helps reach a capital fundraising goal.

"It puts us over the top of our $4.1 million drive to build a new inpatient cardiac/stroke unit," Ruffalo said. "This multidisciplinary 25-bed center of excellence will incorporate the latest in smart technology in each and every patient room, all private rooms."

The new Cardiac and Stroke Center is scheduled to open in November.

Mount St. Mary's and DeGraff are both receiving $300,000. The Lewiston-based hospital will use it to complete an upgrade of its electrical distribution system. It includes the replacement of transformers, main breakers, the installment of new transfer switches and a new generator housing structure. Some of the equipment dates back to 1965.

It's just the latest in a series of investments into the hospital since it merged with Catholic Health in mid 2015.

"With this power distribution that we're doing, a $5 million project, should the grid fail and go totally powerless, Mount St. Mary's will have a hundred percent backup power," said hospital president and CEO Gary Tucker. "It'll bring the investment Catholic Health has made in Niagara County for Mount St. Mary's Hospital to well over $10 million since the merger."

DeGraff, meanwhile, will use its share of state budget funds to help complete a renovation and expansion of its Emergency Department. The overall $7.8 million dollar project is expected to be completed next year.

"Last year we saw 15,000 emergency room visits at DeGraff, in a very small footprint," said hospital president Darcy Craven. "That emergency room was built decades ago and has really outgrown its capacity."

An estimated 170 jobs are expected to be created among the three projects. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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