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Hospital Foundation unveils plans for ICU expansion

 

By Michael Howell

The Daly Hospital Foundation is going public with a Power of Health Initiative to raise funds for a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. The plan involves transforming a cramped 492 square foot facility that holds three beds separated only by curtains into a five-bed facility in which each bed is in a private walled room with a its own restroom, television, and a window to the outside world.  Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital is a critical access community hospital working on a non-profit basis. It receives no tax support and is run by a community volunteer board of directors. A couple of those community volunteers, Sonny LaSalle and his wife Judy, have decided to spearhead the campaign to provide the community with a new up to date ICU.

LaSalle said the hospital and the foundation have worked hard to improve the services at the valley’s only hospital and have come a long way. He noted that the hospital was created in 1931 when Margaret Daly donated $100,000 and some land for that purpose. It was moved to its current location in 1975. Since then the hospital has worked steadily to update its services to meet a growing demand.

Eight years ago the Emergency Room facility was identified in a public survey as the single most important thing in need of improvement. The hospital focused on it and eventually financed the improvements through the Montana Facility Financing Authority with $6 million in bonds. It went from a small cramped 6-bed facility to a 20,000 square foot 12-bed facility. Annual visits to the Emergency Department have grown 30% since then from 8,000 to 12,000 visits.

The hospital’s Rehabilitation Center was addressed next. The hospital took out a loan for $3 million to build a state of the art rehab facility that houses the state’s only zero-entry pool, a track, many pieces of exercise equipment, and a separate pediatric gym.

LaSalle said that it was clear now that it was time to address the Intensive Care Unit which languishes in the same basic state as when installed in 1975.

“But the Board of Directors could not see incurring any further debt for many reasons,” said LaSalle, “so they asked the Foundation to assist with the first ever capital campaign to raise the funds for a new ICU.” The projected cost of the improvements is $3.2 million.

The campaign started with an internal effort. They set a goal of raising $600,000 from within the hospital itself. The Hospital Auxiliary donated $40,000. To date, LaSalle said, they have raised $425,000. They began seeking out donations and grants and have amassed over $600,000 in gifts and pledges.

Now, they are turning to the wider community as a whole and asking everyone to pitch in.

“That’s where the Foundation comes in,” said Daly Foundation Director Ron Kullick. “We are looking to catalyze the community involvement in this effort. A dollar, or even fifty cents, can make a difference.”

Kullick noted that all donations and gifts are tax deductible. He said they are also looking for volunteers to take the campaign to the schools, businesses and organizations in the valley.

There are “naming opportunities.” You could have the whole building named after you or someone you love for a $1.6 million donation. Lesser donations could get your name on any of the various rooms in the facility or on any of the major equipment.

The hope is to start construction by the fall of 2013 and have the facility completed by the fall of 2014. For more information or to get involved call the Daly Hospital Foundation at 375-4674.

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