Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

March 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

July 2009–November 2012

A 2008 study by HMS Associates found that negative health status and health service use indicators for the city of Niagara Falls were at least 25% higher than those of Niagara County overall and significantly higher than those of western and upstate New York.

Furthermore, the emergency department visit rate for Niagara Falls was 27% higher than the rate for the western New York region, and the hospitalization rate for African-American patients was 162% higher than the State normative rate. Most of the city’s emergency department patients were uninsured or covered by Medicaid and did not have access to a federally qualified health center (FQHC), as none existed in Niagara County. In response, Community Health Care Association of New York State secured a federal planning grant to assess the needs of residents in Niagara and Chautauqua counties. The planning grant determined that establishing safety-net primary care was a priority for Niagara Falls. The organizations involved in the planning process responded by asking the Community Health Center of Buffalo (CHCB) to open a FQHC site in Niagara Falls. To expand access to health care services, NYHealth awarded a grant to CHCB to establish an FQHC site in Niagara Falls.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Opened the Niagara Falls site in September 2010, which was delayed from the original goal of December 2009 because of the New York State Department of Health Certificate of Need approval process;
  • Implemented eClinicalWorks for the site’s new integrated electronic medical records system;
  • Served approximately 1,600 patients by August 2011;
  • Completed billing infrastructure, stabilized funding, and achieved patient-centered medical home level-3 status;
  • Stabilized staffing and hired a social worker and a registered nurse;
  • Selected as 1 of 26 sites in the country to take part in a national HIV training program, AIDS Education and Training Centers National Center for HIV Care in Minority Communities; and
  • Received a $5 million expansion grant to build another center, which will be completed in 2014.