Ramsey couple donate $1 million to local hospitals

The Mercy and Unity Hospitals Foundation got a big boost in its three-year “Legacy of Caring” capital campaign to raise $8.4 million for various projects thanks to a $1 million donation from a Ramsey couple.

Pam and Jim Deal’s $1 million donation for a new hybrid operating room at Mercy Hospital and other projects was the largest single donation ever made to the Mercy and Unity Hospitals Foundation. Submitted photo

Pam and Jim Deal’s $1 million donation for a new hybrid operating room at Mercy Hospital and other projects was the largest single donation ever made to the Mercy and Unity Hospitals Foundation. Submitted photo

The $1 million donation from Jim and Pam Deal that kicked off a capital campaign that runs through 2015 is the largest gift ever made to the foundation and it will help in its quest to improve care for cardiovascular and cancer patients, and women giving birth at the Allina Health facilities, according to an Allina Health press release.

“As the largest one-time donation ever made to the foundation, we are extremely grateful to the Deals for their generosity to the 2013-2015 Capital Campaign,” said Joseph Strauss, president of the foundation. “Their gift will support quality of life initiatives for those served by Mercy and Unity hospitals and will have a profoundly positive impact on the health and well-being of our community.”

According to Allina Health spokesperson Gloria O’Connell, over $2.4 million of the $8.4 million three-year campaign goal has been raised to date.

Strauss said the capital projects total over $70 million.

The Mercy Hospital Auxiliary has committed to raising $750,000 from its members over the next five years for the expansion and remodeling of the coffee and gift shops at Mercy Hospital.

In addition, $100,000 donations have been made by Hollis and Catherine Cavner, Trisha Mowry and Randy Grachek; Connexus Energy donated $75,000 and the Ramsey Lions Club donated $30,000.

O’Connell said the last foundation fundraiser brought in $1.5 million for the new Heart and Vascular Center at Mercy Hospital.

Jim Deal said health care, the church and education are important to him and his wife so they have made community donations from time to time.

“We’re very community minded,” Jim said. “If we see areas we can make a difference in, we’re willing to help.”

This was the largest single donation they have made and it was made because they have been impressed with the care they have received at these local hospitals and how they rank well compared with other hospitals, according to Deal.

The U.S. News and World Report in July released hospital rankings nationwide and by state.

Mercy Hospital ranked fourth in the state only behind the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Allina’s Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota Medical Center. It was nationally ranked 34th in gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery. Unity Hospital ranked eighth in the state.

In a press release from Allina Health, the Deals said they have always appreciated the care they received at both Mercy and Unity Hospitals whether it was routine care, an emergency situation, or celebrating the births of their four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A portion of the Deals’ $1 million gift will be used to build a multi-purpose cardiovascular operating room at Mercy Hospital, according to O’Connell.

In an August letter to foundation supporters, Dr. Stephen Remole of the Metropolitan Heart and Vascular Institute at Mercy Hospital said time is critical when someone is suffering from a stroke, traumatic injury or cardiovascular emergency.

This would be the first “hybrid cardiovascular operating room” in the north metro area, Remole wrote. It would decrease the times it takes to gain imaging needed to provide fast diagnosis, enable physician collaboration for multi-specialty care, provide instant surgical support with no need for transferring a patient to another room and offer high level of care for patients suffering traumatic injuries such as those resulting from car accidents.

“By offering new technologies in one space, hybrid operating rooms provide an environment that brings together the very best imaging tools, with the flexibility for noninvasive catheter treatments and traditional surgical solutions depending on the immediate needs of the patient,” Remole said.

Other initiatives of this three-year capital campaign that runs through 2015 include a 47,000 square-foot Mother Baby Center at Mercy Hospital that will include 10 labor and delivery rooms, 22 ante- and postpartum flex rooms, two operating rooms and a newborn care nursery.

Unity Hospital will add maternity rooms that allow the flexibility for both labor and delivery for low-risk pregnancies, as well as postpartum care, water birth suites, and midwifery and doula care.

The Virginia Piper Cancer Institute established in 2010 at Unity Hospital will be expanded to the Mercy Hospital campus on the main floor of the hospital’s new multi-story medical specialty center.

Under one roof, oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and radiologists will work with cancer care coordinators that meet with patients and families to provide support and answer questions from diagnosis through treatment and follow-ups. The follow-up includes providing information on therapies for healing, massage, exercise and nutrition to help patients address the physical effects of cancer and treatment.

Mercy Hospital will also be getting a new main entrance, would provide an interior connection to the new Mercy Specialty Center skyway.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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