Unity defends pursuit of Brockport facility

By on February 5, 2011

by Kristina Gabalski

Unity Health System continues to move forward with plans to open a new 18,000 square feet facility near the Wegmans Plaza in the Town of Sweden, as it awaits state approval of its Certificate of Need (CON) application.

In response to a recent resolution by the Brockport Village Board opposing Unity’s CON application, backlash from community members and Lakeside Health System’s ongoing effort to fight the project, Unity Health System’s Patrizia Corvaia provided the Suburban News and Hamlin Clarkson Herald with updated details about Unity’s plan and the services it currently provides to the Brockport community.

“Unity has been providing health care in the Brockport community for ten years,” a statement says. “Our new Brockport office location will enable us to continue to provide services requested and needed by community residents.”

Unity Health states in a detailed fact sheet that the designation of Brockport as a Health Professions Shortage Area for Primary Care by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, was made in October of 2010 and included in the September 2011 update.

“Unity, Lakeside and affiliated physicians receive a ten percent Medicare bonus for providing primary care services in this designated area,” Unity says.

Unity also contends a high proportion of Brockport residents are active patients of Unity Health System physician practices.

“As of November 2011, 5,664 Brockport women (in the 14420 zip code) were active patients of one of our 32 owned physician practices,” Unity says. “Of these, 1,463 used our Unity Ob-Gyn at Brockport practice. The additional thousands of women who use Unity Ob-Gyn at Brockport travel from as far away as Medina, Batavia, Fairport and Webster.”

“Additionally, over 4,500 Brockport residents have utilized one of Unity’s three ACM Medical Laboratory patient service centers in Brockport (6565 Fourth Section Road, 80 West Avenue, 300 West Avenue) at least one time in the past two years,” Unity states.

“Our expansion is in no way a competitive action against Lakeside or any organization,” Unity says. “In fact, a number of physicians who will work at this site currently provide coverage at Lakeside.

“We continue to believe that where patients get their health care is a matter of personal choice and convenience.”

The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency approved Gallina Development for property tax breaks of $465,295 for the construction of the $3.1 million building that Unity at Brockport will lease. Projected benefits are $1.1 million, the Unity statement says.

Unity also says Gallina Development was selected based on a competitive bid process. “Gallina Development specializes in commercial and industrial real estate, managing over 1.4 million square feet of office and warehouse space throughout Monroe County,” Unity says. “Among them are two medical complexes: South Point Landing Office Park in Greece and Cambridge Place in Brighton.”

According to the Unity fact sheet, “COMIDA continues to provide incentives for the completion of significant health care projects in our community. Recent among these are: $6 million to Rochester General Health System, $15 million to Highland Hospital, $35 million to Unity Health System, $36 million to Strong Health/University of Rochester and $30 million for the renovation of the former Genesee Hospital.”

Unity also provided additional information about its CON application:

“Administrative level CON approval is required for Unity at Brockport,” Unity says. “Because Unity at Brockport involves the operation of an existing primary care site, it is eligible for an administrative CON review. Public Health and Health Planning Council review is not required.”

Unity maintains its history of collaboration to meet community health needs, officials add.

“In 2008, noting the under-utilization of Lakeside Hospital and its proximity to Unity Hospital, the 2020 Commission of the Finger Lakes Health System encouraged collaboration between Unity and Lakeside,” Unity states. “Unity stated publicly that this recommendation had merit and was worthy of review. Subsequent formal and informal discussions initiated by Unity between Lakeside administrators, trustees and physicians have not been met with any interest.”

Unity says the new office facility will offer several speciality services, ranging from infectious disease and diabetes care, to neurology, pulmonology, and nephrology. One or two family medicine physicians will be added in the future.

“Again, for patient convenience, laboratory (provided by ACM Laboratory), x-rays and mammography (provided by Borg & Ide Imaging), and physical therapy services will be provided here as well,” Unity states.

Lakeside CEO James Wissler has stated that Unity plans to bring services into the community that are already offered at Lakeside and which will result in redundancy of services, increase cost and jeopardize the viability of Lakeside and the services it provides to the area.

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