Donors kicked in more than $18.2 million toward Bozeman Health’s list of projects to expand services, including building southwest Montana’s first intensive care unit for infants.
Construction at the future main lobby for Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital paused Monday night as hospital and Bozeman Health Foundation officials announced they had surpassed their $15 million fundraising goal.
More than 70 donors, volunteer leaders and health system executives gathered in the future lobby of the three-story care tower expected to be done in the fall 2020.
John Hill, Bozeman Health president and CEO, said philanthropy has a growing role in the future of the health system as the hospital aims to bring new services to Bozeman and keep the cost of care as low as possible.
“For folks that believe in bringing services like neonatal intensive care, maternal fetal medicine, some of this remarkable work that we will have with intensive care for our adult community members, that’s all based on the generosity of this community,” Hill said.
Bozeman Health announced plans in 2018 to double the size of its intensive care unit and add an infant care unit as part of an estimated $75.5 million project.
That’s also when the health system’s foundation announced Caring Forward, a $15 million charitable campaign to help pay for that work.
At the time, John Parkes, campaign co-chair, said Bozeman Health had already collected $11.2 million in contributions and pledges toward that goal in a quiet fundraising effort building up to that point.
Robyn Erlenbush, foundation board member and campaign co-chair, said the foundation began it’s quiet campaign in July of 2016, initially with the goal to raise $12 million. She said along the way, the foundation realized it could increase that goal.
The money collected has a few directions it will go.
The largest chunk — more than $6.9 million — will go toward expanding the hospital’s intensive care services.
The next largest portion, $3.4 million, was set aside for new specialties, services and equipment for Big Sky Medical Center. Bozeman Health opened the 51,625-square-foot Big Sky hospital in 2015.
Hospital officials said roughly $3.1 million of the campaign’s dollars will go toward increasing patient outreach and access. As part of that, Bozeman Health upgraded and expanded the system’s mobile health program.
That pool of money also includes serving vulnerable people in the region through patient financial assistance and more services for those with mental health needs and substance dependencies. Hospital officials said that helped add integrated behavioral health in the system’s primary care clinics.
The campaign also supports new equipment and treatments in cancer and cardiac care as part of a nearly $2.8 million set aside for “innovation and excellence.”
That expanded the hospital’s Cancer Center’s infusion services into a new annex and established the Care Cottage radiation oncology patient housing program at Bozeman Health Hillcrest Senior Living—Birchwood.
Hospital and foundation officials called the campaign a record-breaker for Bozeman Health. More than 2,756 individuals, foundations or corporate partners contributed to the campaign’s total.
Erlenbush said the years-long effort was the foundation’s first campaign to go beyond “brick and mortar” projects.
“We took a few risks as we launched Caring Forward, including inviting support for programs that help our community’s vulnerable,” she said. “Our friends and neighbors rallied behind us in ways we never could have imagined.”
Those in the audience Monday were among the first to get a tour of the patient care tower.
The tower’s main floor includes a sanctuary for spiritual care and meditation and space intended for clinical and educational services. The second floor will house the new 20-bed intensive and progressive care unit. The third floor will remain open until the hospital decides to expand again based on future patient care needs.
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