New heart and vascular hospital at Rex

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Before Rex Hospital moved in 1980 to its campus on Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh from the building it had occupied since 1937 at St. Mary’s Street and Wade Avenue, it raised $4 million in a capital campaign to develop the new campus.

In the past two years, the Rex Healthcare Foundation has generated $8.6 million in cash and pledges in the quiet phase of capital campaign to raise $10 million to help finance construction of a new Heart and Vascular Hospital.

The $235 million, eight-story, 114-bed facility, set to open in March, will consolidate services now spread among seven locations on the campus.

Now, the Foundation is kicking off the public phase of the campaign, its first since 1980. After focusing on “leadership” gifts of $50,000 or more in the quiet phase and generating donations from about 200 donors, the public phase will focus on smaller gifts, particularly those from individuals and families.

The campaign also has enlisted new donors who previously had not contributed to the annual fund at UNC Rex. In the fiscal year ended June 30, the annual fund raised nearly $2.4 million.

The public phase also aims to net at least $100,000 from the annual Rex Gala on November 12 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

In addition to philanthropic contributions, UNC Rex will use reserves and bonds to finance the new facility.

Chairing the campaign is Tift Mann, a retired cardiologist from Wake Heart and Vascular, now North Carolina Heart and Vascular, a Raleigh-based practice of about three-dozen cardiologists that is the largest in Wake County.

It joined UNC Rex Healthcare in 2011 and serves Wake and eight other counties, mainly south and east of Wake.

UNC Rex Healthcare, formed in 2000 through the merger of Rex and UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, has seen growing demand for heart and vascular services, says Alan Wolf, manager of media relations at UNC Rex.

Fueling the rising demand, he says, was a spike in referrals after the merger with North Carolina Heart and Vascular, and after UNC Health Care’s affiliation with hospitals in other counties, as well as the region’s booming population and emergence as a destination for retirees and aging boomers.

It also is getting referrals from hospitals not affiliated with the UNC Health Care system. In 2015 alone, 1,804 cardiovascular-related patients were transferred to UNC Rex from hospitals in eight other counties.

Amy Daniels, director of the Rex Healthcare Foundation, says the consolidation of heart and vascular services in the new 306,000-square-foot facility will make it easier for for patients to get the care they need, and for medical staff to provide it.

The new facility also has been designed to foster efficiency and innovation, she says.

Rather than sharing elevators, for example, families and visitors will use public elevators, while hospital caregivers and staff transporting patients will use clinical elevators, including two that can accommodate patients and trauma equipment and teams of up to 20 people.

The hospital will give tracking devices to patients it will use to track their location and analyze efficiency and the flow of patients flow through the facility.

Patients will be able to use the televisions in their rooms and modules assigned by their physicians to learn about their procedures and about topics such as rehabilitation, healthy diet changes and smoking cessation.

And a training facility to be located in conference space known as the Center for Innovation and Learning will include a simulation lab — equipped with devices such as mannequins and computer-generated models — that physicians, vendors and clinicians can use to learn from and teach one another.

The conference space, which will include a demonstration kitchen, also will be used for classes focusing on wellness and prevention, including topics such as healthy eating.

“The goal is to keep people out of the hospital,” Wolf says. “We’re really hoping the facility will be a place where people can come before they get sick to learn how not to get sick.”

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In shift, Rex eyes major donors, campaigns

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — In June, celebrating its 25th year, the Rex Hospital Open netted $440,000 for the Rex Healthcare Foundation.

Also celebrating its 25th year, the Rex Gala this November expects to net over $125,000 for the Foundation.

While it will continue to focus on those two signature events to raise money for Rex Healthcare, the Foundation is expanding its fundraising strategy to include greater focus on individual donors, including those who give $2,500 or more.

It also is launching six “mini-campaigns” to fund a series of initiatives over the next three years, and gearing up for two capital campaigns to support a new cancer hospital and a new heart-and-vascular hospital that are in the works.

“This community is growing and we have to keep up with the healthcare demands,” says Amy Daniels, a seven-year veteran of the Foundation who recently was named its executive director. “We’re really planning what that means for the Foundation.”

Formed in 1958, the Foundation operates with a staff of eight people, including six involved in fundraising, and raised over $2.3 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

As it moves to increase its focus on individual donors, the Foundation is looking at “current donors and prospects who call Rex their home for healthcare, educating them on what Rex does, bringing them in for tours, and sitting down face-to-face and talking about what the community needs, what they need, and how we can meet those needs at Rex,” Daniels says.

The Foundation is working with consulting firm Capital Development Services on plans for its six mini-campaigns.

The goals include raising $300,000 over three years for assistance for cancer patients; $300,000 over three years for assistance for all other patients; $200,000 over three years for certification and continuing education for nurses; $900,000 over three years to make the services of its two mobile mammography units accessible to uninsured and underinsured women in a 17-county region; launching a new program to support cancer survivors, an effort for which a goal has not been set; and $600,000 over three years to support newborn care.

“These are all programs that strengthen Rex,” Daniels says. “These are touching people’s lives here every day.”

Fundraising at Rex, which opened in 1894, dates to an $11,000 bequest gift in 1839 from Raleigh tanner John Rex to start the hospital.

Rex, an arm of UNC Hospitals that operates with 660 beds and 5,300 employees and sees nearly 34,000 patients a year, has been awarded certificates of need for a new $60 million cancer hospital and a new $278 million heart-and-vascular hospital, which is under appeal.

The Foundation will play a role in raising the money to support the two new facilities, Daniels says.

“Rex has been well-known for our events, and that’s a great branding opportunity,” she says. “There’s a shift underway to start speaking to people on a very personal basis and start showing them what other things are out there.”