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Wednesday, February 06, 2013 - Webber Family Donates $8 Million to Munson Medical Center's Heart Center


This illustration shows the front of the Webber Heart Center after a new sign is installed
later this spring.

Webber Family Donates $8 Million
to Munson Medical Center’s Heart Center

The largest gift ever provided by the Wayne and Joan Webber Foundation will significantly strengthen Munson Medical Center’s role as a regional provider of heart care in northern Michigan in years to come.

The family’s $8 million donation will support programs in the hospital’s heart center which will be named for the Webber family and known as the Webber Heart Center. The Webber’s gift, which represents the largest single donation in the hospital’s history, will allow for additional programs and technology that are related to cardiac care, and enhance the hospital’s ability to recruit and retain high quality physicians.

“We are thankful that the Webber family recognizes the quality of care being provided at Munson Medical Center and has chosen to support it in such a generous way,” said Ed Ness, president and CEO of Munson Healthcare and Munson Medical Center. “This is a tremendous boost during a challenging time in health care for hospitals.”

The gift will support current programs and technology such as monitoring and communication equipment, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation System (ECMO) and training, 3D Echo machines, EP Mapping System, cardiac hybrid operating room construction, additional clinical facility updates and technology purchases, heart specialty clinics, and other support and enhancements.

As the region’s population grows and ages, more procedures and technology will be required to appropriately care for residents’ needs.

As newlyweds in the mid 1950’s, the Webbers worked hard to establish a small concrete business. After returning home from serving in the U.S. Army, including a peace-keeping mission in Korea, Wayne relaunched his business with a used pickup truck purchased with $2,200 from the sale of their home. In 1963, he asked childhood friend Earl Champagne to become a partner and the company’s name was changed to Champagne-Webber, Inc.

The company flourished and became a highway construction firm building highways, airport runways, and bridges in several states. The company’s name was changed to W. W. Webber, Inc., in 1991 when Mr. Champagne retired. W.W. Webber, Inc., based in Michigan and Houston, Texas, and its affiliate entities were sold in 2005, but Wayne continues to operate businesses in Michigan and Texas.

The couple has resided in Macomb County for more than 55 years.

The Wayne and Joan Webber Foundation was established in 1999 and is well known in southeast Michigan and the Detroit area for providing financial support to numerous health care institutions and education, outreach, and recreational programs. Priorities are to provide access to quality health care for Macomb County residents, improve inner city education, and provide nourishment, clothing and shelter for the less fortunate. Major gifts include:

  • A $2.3 million gift to help establish the Webber Cancer Center at St. John Macomb Hospital in Warren. Built in 2003, the center provides cutting-edge treatment, access to clinical trials, and a mind-body-spirit approach to treating cancer.
  • A $4 million gift in 2010 to William Beaumont Hospital for a 40-bed cardiac progressive care unit at Troy Beaumont Hospital and the Wayne and Joan Webber Imaging Center, which houses the first open MRI machine in Macomb County.
  • The Webber Pioneer Health Center built in 2010 within Detroit Edison Public School Academy. The center provides health care for academy students, as well as members of the school’s community.
  • A $5.8 million restoration of a west-side Detroit school to establish The Wayne and Joan Webber School, a University YES 90-90-90 Academy which opened in the fall of 2010.
  • A $2.6 million renovation within the Detroit Institute of Arts to establish The Wayne and Joan Webber Education Wing, which provides art classes for all ages.
  • A recent $157,000 gift to Forgotten Harvest for the purchase of two refrigerated trailers.

 

The Wayne and Joan Webber Foundation recently donated $500,000 to Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital in Frankfort to replace a four-slice CT scanner with a new 80-slice Toshiba CT scanner. Wayne, who was born just north of Thompsonville, and Joan actively support other charitable efforts in Benzie County, including:

  • The commitment of $100,000 to Benzie Area Christian Neighbors Food Bank to assist those in need of food, clothing, and support services.
  • Since 2009, the Foundation has distributed more than 1,700 new winter coats, boots, hats, and gloves to Benzie County students in grades pre-school through sixth grade. This annual distribution takes place each fall in preparation for northern Michigan winters.
  • In the spring of 2013, the Foundation has committed to building a new Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville.

 

“It’s good to give,” Wayne Webber said. “My wife and I have been very blessed and we are now happy and honored to share these blessings.”

Patients in Munson’s 127-bed heart center benefit from collaborative cardiac care. The 128,000-square-foot facility was constructed at a cost of $67.5 million and houses cardiovascular services on six floors in the hospital’s A-Tower.

As a regional referral hospital for 20 counties, Munson offers one of only two open-heart surgery programs and one of only two cardiac catheterization facilities in northern Michigan. More than 4,000 cardiac patients are treated annually at Munson, including 600-plus open heart surgery patients.

Heart center medical staff includes 19 cardiologists, four cardiothoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, internists, neurologists, and various other specialties, as well as a Magnet-designated nursing staff.

“The treatment of heart disease is rapidly changing and we can do things now that I would have never imagined possible when I started my career 20 years ago,” said Dino Recchia, M.D., a cardiologist and medical director for the heart center.  “This type of innovation requires significant financial resources. The establishment of the Webber Heart Center allows us to keep up with the ever-changing technology needed to deliver state-of-the-art heart care right here at home.”

Patients can experience the latest techniques in heart-related procedures at the heart center. In September, the heart center’s Structural Heart Clinic began offering transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for some aortic stenosis patients. Only a few sites in the country are doing this procedure.

Additionally, Munson’s heart surgeons were among two surgical groups in Michigan included on Consumer Reports list of the 50 top-rated heart bypass surgical groups in the nation.

“This generous gift from the Webbers is critical in advancing our efforts to deliver the highest quality cardiovascular care to patients right here where they live, work, and raise their families,” Dr. Recchia said.