St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP), the region’s largest health system, broke ground today for its $99 million Troy Master Facilities Plan (MFP) – a strategic redevelopment project aimed at transforming the face of health care in Troy, Rensselaer County and the surrounding communities.
SPHP officials also revealed the identity of an anonymous $10 million donor who last year pledged what is the largest individual gift ever bestowed upon a health care institution in the history of Troy and Rensselaer County. Additionally, officials announced a new $1 million gift from Stewart’s Shops and the Dake Family toward the progressive construction and renovation project.
Hospital executives, public officials and area dignitaries gathered this morning, donning hardhats and with shovels in hand to break ground for the launch of the comprehensive project, starting with a 550-car parking garage on the Samaritan Hospital campus.
Attendees included: Robert W. Johnson, III, chair, Board of Trustees, SPHP; James K. Reed, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer, SPHP; Norman E. Dascher, Jr., FACHE, chief executive officer of Samaritan and St. Mary’s hospitals, and vice president of Acute Care Troy, SPHP; Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino; Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia; Peter D. Semenza, vice president of philanthropy, SPHP; and the co-chairs of SPHP’s “Transforming Health Care in Troy” capital campaign: Thomas Amell, president & CEO, Pioneer Bank, and Robert E. Benton, MD, FACC, CDPI, cardiologist, Capital Cardiology Associates, and chief of cardiology, Samaritan Hospital.
“This is a defining moment in the history of health care in Troy,” said Norman E. Dascher, chief executive officer of Samaritan and St. Mary’s hospitals, and vice president of Acute Care Troy, SPHP. “The immediate result of today’s groundbreaking that you will see is a new 550-car garage, but there is so much more to it than that. This is just the start of our bold vision to transform the face of health care in Troy, Rensselaer County and the surrounding communities.
“Today’s occasion is truly symbolic of our two legacy organizations – Samaritan Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital – becoming one,” Dascher declared. “Today, we are the Acute Care Troy Division of St. Peter’s Health Partners. And together, we have combined our strengths so that we are far stronger and better positioned to serve our communities.”
Samaritan Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital have shared histories and similar missions of care for more than 100 years. St. Mary’s was founded when a local pastor requested the assistance of the Daughters of Charity in caring for fever-stricken immigrants in the 1840s; while Samaritan opened its doors in September 1898, a month before its scheduled opening, to meet the urgent needs of wounded soldiers returning from the Spanish American War.
A $99 Million Master Facilities Plan for Health Care in Troy
The $99 million Troy MFP was built on a system design study by Deloitte, a national health care consulting firm, in conjunction with senior leadership and the Board of Trustees for St. Peter’s Health Partners. Targeted for completion in 2017, the project will include construction, renovation and modernization of inpatient facilities on Samaritan’s campus; and the relocation, expansion and enhancement of all outpatient services on the St. Mary’s campus.
Construction of the four-level parking garage is expected to be completed in nine months. Future highlights include construction of a new five-story inpatient pavilion at Samaritan which would include:
- a new expanded Emergency Department on the first floor that is nearly double the current patient capacity;
- an Intensive Care Unit on the second floor with large, private patient rooms more than twice the size of those in the current ICU;
- a Progressive Care Unit on the third floor that will offer an optimum healing environment for patients;
- and Medical/Surgical Units on the fourth and fifth floors that are designed to improve staff efficiency, with private rooms that provide staff unobstructed observation from nursing stations and corridors.
The St. Mary’s campus will be transformed into a leading-edge outpatient facility, including:
- an Emergency Department/Urgent Care Facility;
- Outpatient Medical Oncology/Chemotherapy;
- Women’s Health Center;
- School of Nursing;
- Sleep Lab;
- Physical Therapy;
- Wound Care;
- Cardiac Rehabilitation;
- Outpatient Endoscopy.
$10 Million Anonymous Donor Revealed; New $1 Million Gift Announced
At today’s groundbreaking ceremony, SPHP officials also announced a new $1 million gift from Stewart’s Shops and the Dake Family, and revealed the identity of the anonymous donor who previously pledged a $10 million gift toward the $99 million comprehensive project.
“Stewart’s Shops and the Dake family are committed to helping provide the greater Troy area with a facility to meet the challenges of ensuring community health care access,” said Susan Dake, representing her family. Dake is president of the Stewart’s Shops Foundation and a former member of the Board of Trustees of SPHP.
“We are truly blessed to have government leaders, individuals and magnanimous organizations in our corner as we begin this journey,” said Dr. James Reed, president and chief executive officer of SPHP.
Dr. Reed then introduced the crowd to Heinrich A. Medicus, a 95-year-old resident of Beechwood, The Eddy’s independent senior living community in Troy. Medicus had anonymously pledged the $10 million gift in March 2013, just months after SPHP first announced the Troy MFP in November 2012.
Medicus was born in Zurich, Switzerland on Christmas Eve 1918 to an artist mother and philosopher father. His father, Fritz Medicus, had come from Germany to Switzerland before WWI. When the Nazis took over in Germany in 1933, he and his family resigned their German citizenship, becoming Swiss. Heinrich Medicus would become an American citizen when he settled in Troy later in his life.
Medicus studied physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, where Einstein and Roentgen had studied, completing his doctorate in physics in 1949. The following year, he came to the U.S. where he was a fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), completed his fellowship and was offered an instructorship.
In 1955, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) made Medicus an enticing offer. He made the Collar City his home and would spend the next 32 years as an RPI professor.
In 1978, Medicus and his siblings inherited a considerable fortune from their German industrialist uncle, the brother of Medicus’ mother. But, Medicus did not change his lifestyle after receiving the inheritance and as the stock market started its long assent, his wealth grew.
Over the years, Medicus became a donor and philanthropist quietly and slowly, giving some of his fortune away through gifts, always with great purpose. Both he and wife Hildegard had been patients at Samaritan Hospital and he appreciated Samaritan for being friendly, well-managed and up-to-date, with experienced doctors. So, the couple began giving considerable sums to Samaritan. In 2010, when Samaritan was in need of money to buy the daVinci robotic-assisted operating system, Medicus jumped at the chance.
A Gift Given with Pride
A few years ago, when his wife Hildegard passed, Medicus decided he wanted to include in his legacy an area health care institution – his hospital of choice – Samaritan Hospital, a member of SPHP. So he pledged the $10 million gift – the largest individual gift ever bestowed upon a health care institution in the history of Troy and Rensselaer County, and one that would have a considerable impact for bettering the whole community.
“Donating makes you reduce a bit of your assets but makes you wealthy in your soul,” remarked Medicus. “I hope that others feel the same pride as I do to help create a place that brings health to many thousands in our region. I hope they see that it is worthwhile to support Samaritan and St. Mary’s hospitals.”
In appreciation for the remarkable gift, SPHP officials today unveiled an artist’s rendering of the planned five-story pavilion which will be named in Medicus’ honor upon its completion.
“We expect to dedicate the new pavilion here at Samaritan Hospital in 2017,” Dr. Reed noted. “In Heinrich’s honor, it will be named at that time, ‘The Heinrich Medicus Pavilion.’ Although that formal dedication is about three years away, we wanted to show Heinrich and all of you, an artist’s rendering of what we believe the building will look like with his name on it.”
Medicus originally planned for his donation to remain anonymous until the completion of the pavilion but decided to allow his name to be revealed now in an effort to encourage others to give. Construction for the pavilion will begin in May 2015.
“This incredible project represents the future of Troy,” exclaimed Dr. Reed. “It is truly not about erecting magnificent buildings with shiny new floors and new equipment. Everything we are doing is designed to improve the health of the population of our city and the areas surrounding it – a population that includes our friends, our neighbors, our families, our children and all those we care about and love.”
“At the root of our commitment is continued excellence in the provision of care to those who have depended on us for generations,” declared Robert W. Johnson, III, chair, Board of Trustees, SPHP. “This unprecedented gift constitutes one of the most significant capital investments in the history of Troy and the Rensselaer County area, and it will transform the very infrastructure of health care in our area well into the future for generations to come.”
“Transforming Health Care in Troy: The Campaign for Samaritan and St. Mary’s Hospitals”
SPHP officials also announced the system will be mounting a major capital campaign, “Transforming Health Care in Troy, The Campaign for Samaritan and St. Mary’s Hospitals,” aimed at raising $25 million to support the $99 million cost of the Troy MFP.
To date, SPHP has already raised $16 million – through the two significant gifts secured totaling $11 million – and through donors who participated in the “leadership gifts phase” of the campaign, including: Dr. Robert Benton & Diane Bourke; Wendy Braunstein, in memory of Dr. Frederick Braunstein; CAP COM Federal Credit Union; Capital Cardiology Associates; Joseph A. Celeste and Family; The Massry Family; Pioneer Bank; Samaritan Hospital Auxiliary; Seton Health Auxiliary; Beverly & Lorraine Sliter, in memory of Elizabeth Sliter; Times Union; and The Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation. SPHP also received a $1.25 million grant from the New York State Economic Development Council toward the construction of the parking garage.
“We are infinitely grateful for the remarkable contributions that we have received thus far,” said Peter D. Semenza, vice president of philanthropy, SPHP. “The generous support has allowed us to take a giant step forward in fulfilling our mission and preserving our commitment of care in Troy.
“Going forward, we will be appealing to public support for the ultimate success and investment in creating the future of health care in Troy and its surrounding communities,” Semenza added.
It was three years ago on October 1, 2011, that the merger of three health systems in Albany and Troy – St. Peter’s Health Care Services, Northeast Health, and Seton Health – was finalized, creating St. Peter’s Health Partners. SPHP is the region’s largest private-sector employer with more than 12,500 employees and more than 170 locations across seven counties. The system has an annual budget of nearly $1.3 billion.
“Today, we celebrate what we have created – the largest health care system in the region, a system unique in its breadth and the depth of its services, a system with the full continuum of care unlike any other in our state and similar to only a few in the country,” Reed remarked. “And as we celebrate our progress, we now further our promise and commitment to health care in Troy and to the future of the people of Troy and its surrounding communities.”
Healthy Future, Healthy Troy
In the coming weeks, SPHP officials will be unveiling a new multi-media education and marketing campaign, “Healthy Future, Healthy Troy.” The goal of the initiative will be to help build excitement and provide updates that reflect the progress and momentum of the Troy MFP project, and further generate community pride in the Collar City.
SPHP officials also hope, over the several years it takes to complete the Troy MFP project, that the Healthy Future, Healthy Troy campaign can be used to encourage programs that improve community health, including community screenings and prevention programs. SPHP plans to work with area leaders and community groups in that effort. For more information on the “Healthy Future, Healthy Troy” campaign, please visit www.HealthyFutureTroy.org.
Click here to see artist’s renderings of the Heinrich Medicus Pavilion, the Cancer Treatment Center, and the Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing.