Miami Children's Hospital starts $300 million fundraising effort
By Marilyn Bowden
Miami Children's Hospital Foundation kicked off a $300 million fundraising campaign last month to help cover the hospital's expansion plans.
"Because of our expertise and capability of treating children in the most life-threatening situations, we receive an increasing number of patients each year and we need to be able to grow," said Dr. M. Narendra Kini, the hospital's president & CEO.
The first phase, a drive to raise $100 million over the next five to seven years to cover the initial phase of the expansion, was kick-started by a $5 million donation from the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Foundation for the creation of a new trauma center.
"We are in the leadership, or silent, phase of the campaign, and have received multiple other six- and seven-figure gifts," said foundation spokesman Jeremy Katzman.
"We are incredibly grateful to Mike and the Fernandez family for recognizing the need to support this valuable resource to the children and families of our community and beyond," said Lucy Morillo-Agnetti, foundation president & CEO, in a prepared statement. "It is crucial to obtain the philanthropic support of donors to enhance Miami Children's Hospital's emergency and other specialty pediatric services so we can continue to provide world-class pediatric care."
The center, to be named The M.B. Fernandez Trauma Center at Miami Children's Hospital Emergency Department, will help improve patient outcomes and patient flow, Mr. Katzman said, and "will allow the hospital to accommodate the growing number of patients from South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean who rely on Miami Children's Hospital in their greatest time of need."
When finished, the new emergency department will cover 42,335 square feet, more than double the size of the current unit, he said. The hospital currently receives nearly 100,000 emergency department visits per year.
Preparations are currently being made to the infrastructure, he said. Construction on the emergency department is set to begin in the middle of 2012, and is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2014. The hospital, he said, will remain open throughout the expansion process.
In addition to the emergency room expansion, Mr. Katzman said, the first phase includes construction of a six-story, 205,000-square-foot critical-care bed tower that will also house a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a lobby.
"The bed tower will not increase the total number of beds," he said. "The hospital has 289 beds now and will have 289 beds when the tower is finished, but every child will have his or her own room. What we are doing is making it more family-centered."
According to global rating agency Fitch Ratings, a corporate restructuring is planned that would consolidate Miami Children's Hospital Foundation, now an independent entity, and the hospital itself, but Mr. Katzman said that restructuring is not yet under way.
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