Erie County Medical Center

A Hospital for the Community — And a Hospital on the Move

by Annette Pinder

ECMC is on the move

Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMC) is on the move. From local celebrities like Jim Kelly and Russell Salvatore who choose ECMC for their care, to a new state-of-the-art behavioral health center and the opening of Terrace View, a long-term care and sub-acute rehabilitation facility, there is a lot to talk about. And ECMC’s new President and CEO, Richard C. Cleland is bursting with enthusiasm.

With a twinkle in his eye, Rich talks about his healthcare career. He began 16 years ago as a linen attendant at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. A few years later while at Kenmore Mercy Hospital working in the housekeeping department (mopping lab floors), he was summoned to his supervisor’s office (Joe), concerned, he’d done something wrong. Upon being offered a promotion to second shift supervisor he responded, “Do I have to wear a tie?” When he learned he would receive a salary of $8.50 an hour (a huge increase at the time), he forgot about the tie, and immediately replied, “I’m your man!” Rich went on to become administrator at Brothers of Mercy, before returning to a hospital setting as ECMC’s Senior VP of Operations in 2006.

My tour began with a walk through of Terrace View Long-Term Care Facility, where each floor represents an old Buffalo neighborhood with photography that brings back fond memories for its residents. Each neighborhood has a living room, fireplace, kitchen and dining room, courtyard and garden. A skilled nursing facility, Terrace View offers short-term rehabilitation, occupational, physical, speech and recreational therapy, behavioral intervention, bariatric and ventilation units, and specialty care for Alzheimer’s and dementia with 24-hour nursing and physician care.

The oncology department for head, neck, plastic and reconstructive surgery, dental and medical oncology and maxillofacial prosthetics, and breast oncology is amazing. We rarely think about what happens when a person’s face becomes disfigured from disease or trauma. Imagine a prosthesis that becomes a new nose or an ear for someone who needs one! It’s a place where potentially lethal cancers of the head and neck are highly curable if detected early and treated by a team of skilled surgeons, radiotherapists, dental oncologists, speech therapists and medical oncologists.

ECMC’s behavioral health services include psychiatry and substance abuse, inpatient and outpatient comprehensive treatment. It is home to one of the largest chemical-dependency treatment centers in the region, and the only hospital in the region where a psychiatrist is present during emergency room and chemical-dependency evaluations, 24 hours daily. There are inpatient psychiatry beds for adolescent and geriatric psychiatry, chemical dependency, rehab and detox. There’s a Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP); three chemical dependency outpatient centers and an on-site outpatient psychiatry clinic.

It’s really impossible to tell the whole story and cover every department in one article. What struck me was the enthusiasm and positive attitude I felt from everyone I met.

So what does Richard Cleland want people to know? He says, “We are here to meet the needs of the community, to help patients and families when they are most vulnerable. We are here for car accident victims, for people awaiting transplants or being treated for mental health issues, cancer and kidney disease. We are here for long-term care. We are treating people who can afford to pay for their care and we are treating those who can’t. And we have a team that is smart, engaged, collaborative and visionary.”