GUEST ED­I­TO­RIAL

100 years of care and so­lu­tions at Lee Me­mo­rial

Times of the Islands - - Departments - Skip Leonard BY SKIP LEONARD Skip Leonard Chief Foun­da­tion Of­fi­cer Lee Me­mo­rial Health Sys­tem Foun­da­tion

For 100 years, Lee Me­mo­rial Health Sys­tem, soon to be called Lee Health, has been de­voted to car­ing for our com­mu­nity. Health care, how­ever, is in sig­nif­i­cant tran­si­tion. Our chal­lenge at Lee Me­mo­rial Health Sys­tem is to con­tinue a cul­ture of qual­ity care, while rec­og­niz­ing fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal re­al­i­ties. To this end, Lee Me­mo­rial Health Sys­tem and Lee Me­mo­rial Health Sys­tem Foun­da­tion over the next five years will fo­cus on rais­ing aware­ness and phil­an­thropic sup­port in th­ese strate­gic ar­eas:

The Bonita and Es­tero Life Vil­lage. The new med­i­cal vil­lage will have a 24/7 free­stand­ing emer­gency room, a surgery cen­ter, spe­cialty- and pri­mary-care physi­cians, well­ness and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive pro­grams.

Golisano Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal of South­west Florida. En­vi­sion chil­dren be­ing pulled in lit­tle red wag­ons be­tween pro­ce­dures and their hos­pi­tal rooms. The new hos­pi­tal opens in 2017. But fund­ing needs a shift from bricks and mor­tar to an an­nual phil­an­thropic sup­port. Ev­ery­thing we do and ev­ery dol­lar raised and spent is for our chil­dren and for gen­er­a­tions to come.

Health and Well­ness. Through pro­grams such as Healthy Lee and our many part­ner­ships, we are tak­ing a grass-roots ap­proach to ed­u­cate and ini­ti­ate healthy liv­ing pro­grams in ar­eas that in the past may have been cir­cum­vented.

Re­gional Can­cer Cen­ter (RCC). Our five-year suc­cess rate for can­cers di­ag­nosed and man­aged ex­ceeds na­tional av­er­ages, yet is a great “un­told” story. Lee Me­mo­rial will be­gin a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar ex­pan­sion of the RCC, in­clud­ing a 24,000-square-foot ad­di­tion to the ex­ist­ing health cen­ter on Colo­nial Boule­vard near I-75 in Fort My­ers.

The Ship­ley Cen­ter for Car­dio­tho­racic Surgery Innovation, Ed­u­ca­tion & Re­search. Heart dis­ease is the lead­ing cause of death. To ad­dress the issue, Lee Me­mo­rial in 2015 cre­ated the Ship­ley Cen­ter. By us­ing a for­mal­ized pro­gram to im­prove a pa­tient’s health be­fore surgery, out­comes vastly im­proved. We are at the fore­front of de­vel­op­ing tech­niques to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove pa­tient health and vi­tal­ity.

We’ll present over the next year many dif­fer­ent ways to sup­port our re­gion’s health and how each im­pacts South­west Florida. Many peo­ple have al­ready given for their own unique rea­sons, or as we la­bel it, “your why.” We want to know your “why” and do all we can to in­spire com­mu­nity phi­lan­thropy that en­hances the over­all health of the South­west Florid­i­ans we serve.

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