A hefty donation to a local hospital is fueling the launch of a new center in the city for children in need of heart surgery.
The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU on Tuesday announced a $28 million gift from a local foundation that will be used to establish the Children’s Hospital Foundation Heart Center, a pediatric cardiac surgery program.
The donation, the largest ever donated to VCU’s pediatric healthcare programs, came from the Children’s Hospital Foundation. The $28 million will be supplemented by $14 million from the VCU Medical Center that will go toward equipment and operating expenses.
The newly recruited head of the heart center, Dr. Thomas Yeh, said Richmond parents need such a facility.
“Imagine that you were told your child needs heart surgery,” Yeh said. “One in 100 families will receive that news. Now imagine that you’re told Richmond can’t handle it – you’re going to have to uproot your child, yourself, and leave your support system. That doesn’t seem right for Richmond, it never has.”
The foundation’s gift will help pay for Yeh’s recruitment, as well as the addition of new anesthetists, perfusionists, cardiologists, nurses, nurse practitioners and other specialists.
No additional construction will be required to establish the center – it will be housed in the Critical Care Hospital at 1213 E. Clay St. And outpatient services are to move to VCU’s new $168 million Children’s Pavilion once construction on that project is complete.
While the program won’t be fully functioning right away, Yeh said there are already surgeries on the schedule. The center is expected to be completely established by the spring of 2015.
With the latest donation, the Children’s Hospital Foundation has given a total of $58 million to the broader VCU Health System as a whole. The health system merged with the Children’s Hospital in 2010 to create the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, which operates under the VCU Medical Center.
“Children’s Hospital of Richmond is the only one of its kind in Richmond where clinical services, academia, and research come together to care for children,” Children’s Hospital Foundation chair Eleanor Goode said. “An academic medical center is where the heart center should reside.”
The foundation gives most of its support to VCU’s children’s hospital, funding various programs from pediatric fellowships to research grants.
According to its 2014 annual report, the foundation received more than $5 million in contributions from donors last year, with more than $1 million in general contributions, $1.9 million in restricted contributions and more than $2 million through trusts and estates. The funds came from about 3,300 donors through 4,775 gifts.
The Children’s Hospital Foundation also gave more than $100,000 to the Virginia Treatment Center for Children, helping support a new facility that broke ground last week.