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SEP 23- SEP 30, 2014

Golisano's Interest in Niagara Falls Pays Off Big for Memorial Medical Center

September 23, 2014

Artist's renderings of new Golisano Center for Community Health.

Last week, Paychex billionaire Tom Golisano gifted Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center with $3.5 million to be used to build the Golisano Center for Community Health.

It was the largest single gift in the hospital's history.

The new center is to be housed in a two-story, 23,000-square-foot building at an estimated cost of $5 million and will be next door to Memorial's Emergency Department and Heart Center of Niagara.

The building will also provide space for hospital partners like Rivershore, Inc. and the YMCA.

The center will also include kiosks for community partners to help it better serve patients.

Construction of the Golisano Center for Community Health is expected to begin next March and be completed by year's end. A pedestrian walkway will connect Memorial's Emergency and Heart Center building directly to the Golisano Center for Community Health, helping to avoid unnecessary emergency room visits.

The center will aim to increase access to preventive and ongoing care for people with special needs including intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Studies have shown that without proactive attention, many developmentally disabled individuals have poorer health outcomes and often suffer with chronic conditions that go needlessly unmanaged.

This group of disabled also has a hard time finding caregivers willing to treat them.

The new Golisano Center will specifically address this vulnerable population.

"We are so very grateful to Mr. Golisano and the Golisano Foundation for their … commitment to our community," said Medical Center President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. "… They can be confident that their investment will improve the quality of life for thousands of people who will walk through the doors of the Golisano Center for Community Health for many years to come."

Golisano founded Paychex, the second largest payroll processor in the United States, and has used the fortune he made pursuing a number of philanthropic, business and political interests.

He is the former owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey franchise and a founder of the Independence Party of New York and he ran for governor in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

In 2009, he left Rochester to move to Naples, Fla., in order, he said, to escape New York's onerous tax burden.

Florida has no state income tax, and, consequently, Golisano saved millions in state income taxes.

He said the money he saved in taxes has been donated to worthy causes.

Anne Costello, director of the Golisano Foundation, called Memorial's efforts to reach out and aid the disabled an "innovative approach to delivering health care," and explained in part the goals of this new center.

"People with special needs can access integrated primary care and other critical services at a single accessible location that leverages the resources of both a major medical center and community partners," Costello said. "Also important, health care providers will learn to care for people with special needs."

Billionaire B. Thomas Golisano left New York for Florida in 2009 to save untold millions in state taxes, which he ultimately gave back to the community in charitable contributions, leading some to ask, “Who can better decide how Golisano should spend the millions he earned, New York State or Golisano?”
Golisano apparently chose the latter....

Golisano, 72, has a son, Steven, 49, who is developmentally challenged and lives in a group home and that the reason he started the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation in 1985 was to help those with developmental disabilities and their families.

Golisano also said he knows how important it is for families to be able to access medical care for their children as close to home as possible.

Longtime friend and business and political associate G. Steven Pigeon said that Golisano Foundation has donated more than $200 million to charities in Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Florida.





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