SOURCE: Bethesda Hospital Foundation

January 17, 2008 07:00 ET

Bethesda Hospital Foundation Surpasses $100 Million Community Challenge Campaign Goal

BOYNTON BEACH, FL--(Marketwire - January 17, 2008) - As the final touches are being made to Bethesda Memorial Hospital's latest Center of Excellence, the Bethesda Heart Institute, the Bethesda Hospital Foundation is thrilled to announce that the organization has surpassed its $100 million Community Challenge Campaign goal, raising more than $106 million to date.

"We are extremely grateful for the extraordinary support that Bethesda Memorial Hospital has received during this Community Challenge Campaign," says Dan Burns, Chairman of the Bethesda Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. "We're celebrating the exceptional achievement of a fundraising milestone that has helped support the creation of Centers of Excellence and have enriched the lives of our patients in the community."

A special donor recognition event is being planned for March to honor the thousands of community donors who have helped the hospital and foundation reach this historic goal.

Almost 10,000 individuals and corporations have made more than 40,000 gifts to the Bethesda Hospital Foundation since the campaign began and was formally announced to the community in 2000 with $23 million raised at that time. The myriad of donations over the last few years in support of the Community Challenge Campaign have come in amounts as modest as a few dollars and as exceptional as millions.

So that Bethesda may continue to successfully serve the community's healthcare needs, reflecting both enormous population growth and the medical advances that our residents deserve, the hospital embarked on its most important and ambitious capital expansion and facility improvement plan in its history. Philanthropic-minded community members came forward with donations to support these efforts. This partnership between the non-profit hospital and the community resulted in a number of advancements including a multitude of Centers of Excellence opened at the hospital.

Community Challenge Campaign Milestones:

In 2002, Bethesda Hospital Foundation received the largest single gift in its history-to-date, a $5 million commitment from the late philanthropist George Cornell in 2002 to establish a comprehensive, world-class, nationally recognized Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine. Mr. Cornell made a bequest which supplemented his initial gift and the new $9 million Institute was named in his honor when it opened in 2005. His gift brought the $100 million Community Challenge Campaign fundraising total to $36 million.

In 2003, The Bethesda Comprehensive Cancer Center became an affiliate of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated center. Bethesda opened the new Radiation Oncology Center at Bethesda Health City and the Foundation reached the half-way point in the Community Challenge Campaign, raising $50 million.

In 2004, the Foundation announced that it had surpassed the $50 million milestone. Mrs. Lucienne Driskill gave $1 million on behalf of herself and her late husband, to establish the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Center for Caring Excellence. Bethesda doubled the size of the Emergency Department with 43 private treatment rooms and three semi-private rooms, and added a new Express Care area for minor injuries, a state-of-the-art triage area, a Pediatric Emergency Department with a family waiting room and a dedicated x-ray room providing image results in three seconds. By year-end the Foundation celebrated raising $60 million to date.

In 2005, Mrs. Driskill gave $5 million to add to her initial $1 million gift, on behalf of herself and her late husband, for the Driskill Center for Caring Excellence. Her gift led the way to the Foundation surpassing the $70 million mark this year. During this time Bethesda became one of the first hospitals in the country, and the first in Palm Beach County, to implement a $1.4 million bar-code technology to enhance patient safety called Medication Administration Check (MAC). The hospital also opened an 800-space parking garage for visitors and employees.

In 2006, Bethesda broke ground and began construction on the new Bethesda Heart Institute, an all new "heart hospital within a hospital." It was announced that the Foundation raised $87 million by the end of the year. Bethesda also received the Gold Seal of Approval™ for Stroke Care by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) becoming Palm Beach County's First Certified Stroke Center.

Last year, Mrs. Driskill's generosity continued as she made a $2.7 million gift to build the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Endovascular Center. This new, state-of-the-art endovascular center will allow surgeons to care for patients with vascular problems, using minimally invasive procedures. Meanwhile construction of the $57 million Bethesda Heart Institute was nearing completion. The new 115,000-square-foot, four-story Heart Institute will open February 4, 2008.

The Foundation has received more than 25 gifts or commitments of $1 million and above throughout the campaign. These donors are Beacon Society level donors -- visionaries who provide the highest level of support to Bethesda Memorial Hospital.

Bethesda remains committed to build a new community hospital in western Boynton Beach, the Bethesda West Hospital. This 80-bed, acute-care hospital will provide comprehensive medical and surgical services, complete with intensive care and a 24-hour emergency department. This new hospital will be built on the northeast corner of Boynton Beach Boulevard and US-441.

As of the end of fiscal year 2007, last September 30th, Robert B. Hill, Bethesda Healthcare System President & CEO, reported that during the last year the hospital exceeded most of the national benchmarks for patient safety initiatives. We had 18,900 admissions, helped to bring 3,400 babies into the world, cared for 53,100 patients in our Emergency Department and performed 8,900 surgical cases. Gross patient service charges were $1.2 billion with net patient revenues of $230 million. Last year, the hospital provided $37 million in indigent and charity care write-offs.

Since 1947, the Bethesda Hospital Foundation, formerly The Gulfstream Hospital Association (renamed as Bethesda Hospital Association when the hospital opened in 1959 and to a Foundation in 2001), has supported Bethesda Memorial Hospital for 61 years in accomplishing its mission through the acquisition, management and disbursement of charitable assets. Thanks to a handful of doctors and community members that saw a need for a hospital in this area so many years ago, the idea of a local, community hospital was developed.

The Bethesda Hospital Foundation's Community Challenge Campaign carries on as the Foundation will continue to raise funding for the Bethesda Heart Institute and other hospital projects and initiatives.

Contact Information

    Kristin B. Calder
    Public Relations Director
    561-737-7733, ext. 4429