Leaders of a campaign to help fund a $40 million expansion of Lawrence Memorial Hospital are hoping the final weeks of the year will produce a rise in donations.
"We think it could be a busy time," Dr. Mark Praeger, co-chairman of the LMH Capital Campaign, said of the holiday season and the time that people are looking to make last-minute donations to help with their tax bills. "This is the time of year that we're all made to think about donations."
Kathy Clausing, chief development officer for the hospital, told LMH board members Wednesday that the campaign has thus far raised $6.6 million. It has a goal of $8 million that it wants to reach by the spring.
Clausing said the campaign, which has been making calls to selected Lawrence residents and groups for months, is now becoming more visible in other parts of the community. Clausing said that several businesses - including Checkers, Hy-Vee, Zarco, Douglas County Bank, Commerce Bank and Capitol Federal Savings - have agreed to hold promotions and drawings designed to get their customers to contribute to the campaign.
Hospital board members also were told Wednesday that the $40 million expansion remains on budget. Work has begun on the western side of the hospital to expand the third floor. The expansion ultimately will be used for more private rooms. It is expected to be completed by the end of July. Work also is set to begin on building a new emergency room on the eastern side of the hospital. That work is expected to be done by December 2007.
In other hospital news:
¢ Board members received an update on plans to build a new medical office facility in Eudora. Andrew Ramirez, an attorney for LMH, said the property near the southeastern corner of Church Street and the Kansas Highway 10 interchange successfully has been annexed into the city. He said hospital leaders now are seeking commercial zoning for the property.
As part of the rezoning application, the hospital has been asked to submit a conceptual plan for what it wants to do with the property. Ramirez said the hospital has submitted plans that show a 10,000-square-foot building on the site. That would be about twice as large as other facilities the hospital operates in outlying communities, such as Tonganoxie.
Gene Meyer, hospital president and chief executive officer, said a final size of the building hasn't been decided. He said it is possible the Eudora building will need to be bigger than the other facilities the hospital operates in outlying communities because the Eudora building may become more of a medical office plaza rather than simply a doctor's office.
¢ Board members were told that the hospital is starting a new telephone survey program to gauge the satisfaction of recently discharged patients. The hospital for about a decade has been using a mail survey to measure patient satisfaction. Hospital executives, though, said they thought the telephone survey, which will take about five minutes to complete, will provide the hospital with more timely information. It also can be done for about half the price of the mail survey. The phone survey is expected to cost about $50,000.
Only a random sample of recently discharged patients will be called for the survey.
¢ Board members asked the community to submit nominations for the Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award by Jan. 1. The award honors people who have demonstrated a commitment to volunteerism at the hospital or have made special gifts to LMH. The award will be presented by the LMH Endowment Association at its annual meeting, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at Maceli's, 1031 N.H.