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Niagara Falls hospital offers 7-day guarantee

Nick Lippa

A lot of companies offer a guarantee, but a hospital? Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has unveiled its new seven-day guarantee.

The hospital guarantees you will have access to a primary care doctor within seven days, and for the first three weeks after release from a visit, hospital workers will check to make sure you have made that connection and it is going well.

Hospital COO Sheila Kee said five primary care doctors were recruited in the last year to ensure access and new computer systems allow patient rinformation can be dropped electronically into doctors' records. She said the seven-day plan is good business and good medicine.

"We have evidence and research to show that people who get re-connected to primary care in seven days, very few of them get re-admitted to the hospital. We can dramatically reduce re-admission rates," Kee said. "Our goal is to make sure that people use primary care, not costly, episodic easy care."

Generally, medical research shows there are serious problems long-term in patients who do not have some sort of  permanent medical relationship and instead head off to perhaps hours in the Emergency Department for a one-time meeting with a doctor. There also are penalties for hospitals with high re-admission rates.

"We're trying to change that historic trend," Kee said. "I have ED coordinators working out of the ED talking to people about, go have an established relation with your physician. So much better. We can keep you well. You don't have to sit in an ED for four and five hours."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.