Note: This article first appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Focus.
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 big 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.
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, 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. Some of their major gifts include:
- A $2.3 million gift to help establish the Webber Cancer Center at St. John Macomb Hospital in Warren.
- 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.
- 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 the Benzie Area Christian Neighbors’ Food Bank.
- Since 2009, the Foundation has given more than 1,700 new winter coats, boots, hats, and gloves to Benzie County students in pre-school through sixth grade.
- In 2013, the Foundation has committed to building a new Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville.
Patients in Munson’s 127-bed heart center benefit from collaborative cardiac care. The $67.5 million 128,000-square-foot facility houses cardiovascular services on six floors in the hospital’s A Tower.
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, MD, 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.
"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.