Patrick J. Buechi/Staff - Michelle Coffey, call center associate, answers questions from a Fidelis Care client at the new Getzville office
Fidelis Care, the New York state Catholic health plan, has relocated its Western New York offices to Getzville. The new building opened Aug. 15, after the organization outgrew its previous office located in Amherst. The new 89,000 square-foot building, located at Cross Point Business Park, doubles the size of their former location at John Glenn Drive, where they operated for the past 10 years.
The new office houses a call center that receives 1.4 million calls from clients per year. The associates, who are able to answer in six different languages, also make 1 million outbound calls as reminder for clients to make appointments to see their physicians.
A statewide technology department, marketing department and mailroom fill out the building.
Fidelis Care grew out of an initiative set forth by the eight bishops of New York state in order to serve the poor and medically underserved. Its roots date back to November 1993 as the Catholic Health Services Plan for Brooklyn and Queens Inc. with 17,000 members. The New York bishops, led by Cardinal John O’Conner with the archdiocese’s auxiliary bishop, Henry J. Mansell, planned a task force to expand the plan across the state.
“Ultimately the decision was brought back to the bishops in January of 1996 that Fidelis, which was formerly the Catholic Health Service Plan of Brooklyn and Queens would be the plan that would be restructured and called the New York state health plan,” said Mark Lane, president and chief executive officer.
After purchasing the Buffalo-based Better Health Plan, the hub of the enterprise came to the Nickel City. It has since acquired severalother plans. Even though the address has changed the mission won’t. Fidelis Care aims to promote healthy lives through quality accessible health services.
“What makes us different from everybody else goes back to our roots and our heritage and our sponsorship,” said Lane. “I think the word mission to our staff, to the communities we serve, to our providers does mean something different. We’ve been told the word integrity is a strong characteristic that defines Fidelis. We’re told by many, including regulators, the word quality is a very important aspect of our daily life. Both quality for our members and quality and service to our providers.”
Through grassroots collaboration with Catholic Charities, Catholic Schools and the Department of Social Services, Fidelis Care builds relationships that reach out to the underinsured. They have been a presence at health fairs throughout the state and work at the parish level as well.
“We try to partner with those particular parishes that can best use our level of service and support,” said Lane.
“We like to say it’s a new expression of the Catholic health care ministry because historically the Church was very much engaged hands on in the provisional care for the poor,” said Father Patrick Frawley, chief operating officer. “We are very directly involved in ensuring that those who need it have access to quality heath care services.”
In a pro-active undertaking Fidelis care has launched a comprehensive outreach campaign to encourage members to get preventative care and services. The campaign included 100,000 phone calls to members in need of specific care or screenings, and 32,000 letters encouraging participation in incentive programs for breast and cervical cancer testing. An additional 84,000 postcards focused on the importance of well care visits.
This September the New York state board of bishops will break from tradition by coming to Buffalo for one of their three yearly meetings and to take part in an official ribbon cutting of the new building. Other invited guests include heads of Catholic Charities and Catholic hospitals, folks from Department of Health, and some local providers.
Fidelis Care also has an office in Rego Park, near Queens, and serves 680,000 members across 58 of New York’s 62 counties.
For more information visit www.fideliscare.org.