CEO column: Ed Jimenez feb 2015

Why we’re giving from — and for — the heart.

Heart Month highlights an important priority for UF Health

Ed Jimenez visits the UF Health Pediatric Cardiac ICU, part of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, with Joshua Campbell, R.N., B.S.N., CCRN, interim nurse manager, and Stephanie R.A. Oliveria, R.N., B.S.N., CCRN, interim clinical leader.

February is American Heart Month, which hits close to home for us at UF Health. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death for Americans. It kills more women than all cancers combined, and congenital heart defects are the leading cause of infant death from birth defects.

At UF Health, we’re advocates for preventing and treating heart conditions.Those of you caring for patients with heart disease, heart attack or stroke can attest to these statistics and why we must remain focused on heart care at UF Health. Every day, we’re helping patients and families whose lives are changed by cardiovascular conditions. Maybe, like me, you have loved ones who have fought heart issues.

We support the American Heart Association Heart Walk each fall, and this month we’ll be involved in the AHA Heart Ball. These efforts tie right back to our community: AHA supports cardiovascular research here at UF and receives far more funds than what are raised locally.

And now at UF Health we’re making our biggest commitment to date to serve cardiovascular patients and expand the capabilities of our expert heart care teams. We’ve broken ground for the new UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital, to be built on our south campus. We need to meet increasing demands for these specialized services. The hospitals will offer 216 private beds, including 120 ICU beds, 20 new ORs, access to the latest imaging technology and state-of-the-art cardiac cath labs.

This expansion will let us consolidate services in the new facilities and accommodate growth on the north campus, but it comes with a price. Construction for the hospitals will cost $415 million, funded through UF Health Shands reserves, financing — and philanthropy. That’s where you’re making a difference.

We recently asked employees to participate in the Raising Hope at Work campaign and pledge to help fund the new hospital construction. Thank you! I’m humbled by your spirit of generosity. Raising Hope unites us. We’ll see the new hospitals transform the south campus, knowing they are more than bricks and mortar. They will represent our personal commitment and symbolize the perfect patient experience we strive to provide our patients and loved ones.

To me, an employee giving campaign is not about how many dollars a person donates. Even one dollar makes a statement — it’s about a shared connection and sense of ownership. It’s exciting to contribute and then walk into a hospital we’ve built together. Participation is a form of engagement and a rewarding, shared experience.

Thank you for the care and service you provide our patients and colleagues and the way you’re engaged and involved in the future we’re building at UF Health.

Ed Jimenez
Interim CEO
UF Health Shands