"Newsmaker of the Week" is presented by the SCV Press Club and Comcast, and hosted by Signal Multimedia Editor Leon Worden. The program premieres every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on SCVTV Channel 20, repeating Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
This week's newsmaker is Diana Vose, president of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation. Questions are paraphrased.
Signal: What is the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation?
Vose: We're the philanthropic arm for the hospital. We're the ones who raise funds in the community for health care services, equipment, building funds, etc.
Signal: So you're responsible or paying for the construction work we see going on at Henry Mayo.
Vose: We did undertake a capital campaign about three years ago. We had a $12 million goal to build the new emergency department and then a new cardiac cath lab. I'm proud to say that we did make our goal of $12 million and then some. So yes, we funded a large part of what you see behind the hospital in terms of the expansion of the emergency department.
Signal: Where does the expansion stand?
Vose: We broke ground in March 2005. If you drive around the back of the hospital, you will see the framing of the emergency department and the basement that it includes. And oh, gosh, is that exciting.
Signal: How many beds will there be?
Vose: It will be 33 beds total, when everything is completed. That's about a 57 percent increase from what it was.
The emergency department was constructed to serve about 18,000 people. I think in 2005 it was over 40,000 that we saw in the emergency department. So with the expansion, which will more than double in size to about 16,000 square feet from the current 7,700, we should be able to serve 55,000 visitors (annually) from now until probably the end of the decade.
Signal: What is the cardiac cath lab?
Vose: A cardiac cath lab is a laboratory that serves patients with heart problems. Cardiac catheterization is a procedure that can visualize the heart's valves and know that there is a blockage there, and then be able to do something about it through stents and those kinds of procedures.
Signal: The cath lab was a $3.5 million project, and you got $3 million of that in one fell swoop. Tell us about Roberta Veloz.
Vose: Unbelievable woman. You know, Roberta has been on the foundation board of directors for quite a few years and even served, in her capacity on the foundation board, as liaison to the hospital board. She served on both boards for a few years.
We value her counsel. She has a lot of wonderful experiences to share. She was very excited about our going into a capital campaign mode. She recently, as you know, opened up her checkbook and actually wrote a $3 million check. Three-comma-o-o-o-comma-o-o-o. It was amazing.
What's really special about is that she is actually giddy with happiness about that. I love that part of a donor's response to giving to the hospital, or to any organization. They exude happiness that they know they've made a difference in the lives of the community. And she truly has done that.
Signal: Roberta was president of Aquafine, an ultraviolet water treatment business in Valencia. How does somebody like a Roberta Veloz get interested in helping the hospital? Do you, as foundation president, go out and solicit these people to get involved?
Vose: We do. We recognize leaders in the community, and leadership is what we're looking for on the board of directors people who understand the need in the community, who understand that the community is growing, it will continue to grow, and that health care is very necessary to serve the growing community. So it's Roberta, and it's other people on our foundation board who recognize that need, they're all leaders in the community. That's what we're looking for. You're right. We do solicit their counsel in terms of board membership.
Signal: And now the whole extended Veloz clan is involved. There's Tom Veloz, who has the other ultraviolet water treatment business in Valencia; he was instrumental in funding the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center. All of this has happened just in the last few years.
Vose: It did. Tom Veloz's $500,000 gift is what opened the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center. And if that wasn't wonderful enough, when we first began the campaign in 2003, he was one of the first to contribute a major gift, and that was $1 million. So his $1.5 million started the campaign, and then Roberta's $3 million thrust at the end is what ended it. The Veloz clan is special to us, to say the least.
Signal: But you can't rely on just one or two or three or five or 10 of the wealthier people in Santa Clarita; certainly it takes more than them?
Vose: You're right. It does take a village. And I am really proud of the hospital family in particular.
When we started the campaign, if you know any thing about campaigns, you go through a silent phase first. That means, you ask your family. Our family is the hospital board of directors, the foundation board, the employees, the physicians and the volunteers. And I can say that both boards donated a collective $1 million; our goal for the employee campaign was $175,000, and in actuality, $350,000 was raised by the employees. I'm so proud of them. Then the physicians contributed a collective $700,000, and then the volunteers pledged $225,000. So we were on our way just with "family" gifts.
And the family is really important because they really understand the need, and they believe in it, and they invest in it. I think it's because of that investment that the community saw, well, if the physicians and the employees and the volunteers believe in that, then so do we. And I believe that's what really garnered the community support, and we had so many people just come forward and offer. It's humbling. Truly.
Signal: Thinking of the employees giving back to the hospital and helping finance its growth, a few years ago the hospital went through a transitional period, with the bankruptcy and the nurses joining a union. Are you seeing that as a phase that has ended, and now there's more enthusiasm that's expressing itself through more money to the foundation?
Vose: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the health of the hospital was important. And certainly we are healthy today. The hospital has gone through some challenges, and I've been there through it all. And it hurt. It really hurt to see us go through that. But with Roger Seaver as our president and CEO, and his new management team, gosh. I can't be happier to be able to tell you the hospital's healthy, and so is the community because the hospital is there for them.
Signal: On paper there are different nonprofits that are involved in running the hospital. The foundation is a nonprofit organization; and the hospital itself is run by another nonprofit organization. How does that work is Roger Seaver your boss, or are the two entities completely separate?
Vose: Well, yes, Roger Seaver is my boss, and so are the foundation board (members). So I've got that would make 36 bosses. That's really very much fun. But everybody understands what the foundation is about. Roger Seaver is one of the CEOs in health care who believes in philanthropy and will help the process of philanthropy, too. I think that Roger knows and studies have been conducted that (show that) hospitals that really provide the best health care services are those that are served by the community philanthropically. And that's a well known fact. The more the community gives, the better the services that are available at the hospital.
Signal: We've been watching Providence come into the valley and offer more medical services. From a fund-raising standpoint, do you see that as competition for growth dollars? Or does the SCV need so much that it doesn't really inhibit what you're trying to do?
Vose: It doesn't really matter. We're going to go forward with our fund-raising efforts no matter what. And competition is good. It's fine with me. We've been pretty lucky all these years; the San Fernando Valley has (so) many hospitals within two miles of each other
Signal: More and more going out of business all the time.
Vose: It's pretty scary. But we are still the only hospital in Santa Clarita, and that's really important when you consider the 1994 earthquake and the freeways going down. The hospital you depend upon is Henry Mayo.
I have to tell you, the morning of the earthquake, it was pretty amazing. I ran into the hospital after the earthquake just to see if I could be of help, and I was absolutely amazed by what I saw. People (were) being triaged in the parking lot because the emergency room was full. They were being triaged in the lobby. The people who were treating these patients were nurses in their pajamas and physicians who were not only on our medical staff, but were on the medical staff at perhaps Holy Cross or other hospitals in the valley but couldn't get there, so they decided to come to Henry Mayo to treat (patients).
I mean, we're human beings, and we help each other clinicians just stick together to help the population.
Signal: You've just finished a $12 million capital campaign; are you in a "silent period" for a new one now?
Vose: I think that's probably a good way to say it. We are kind of (in a) planning mode right now. The hospital board of directors will be going off site (for a) strategic planning session, and after that session we'll have some direction about what the priorities are for the next phase of adding new services or new buildings. You know, Henry Mayo has a $25 million plan and we can only do one thing at a time
Signal: $25 million in 25 years?
Vose: Yes. It's ironic; we talk about a $25 million goal for the hospital, of which the foundation said that they would try to fund $12 million. The other plans included expanding the intensive care unit and the surgery center and what have you, and that's still needing to be accomplished. So the board of directors will go off-site to determine the priorities for the next year or three.
Signal: So the current plan for the emergency room expansion has been completely funded, and the cardiac cath lab
Vose: The cath lab has been funded, yes, and we have reached our goal the reason I'm hesitating is because when we started the campaign in 2003, we figured that $9 million could go to the emergency department, which would fund that, and $3 million to the cardiac cath lab. Now we're in 2006 and of course the prices have gone up a lot. So we're probably looking at $14 million to $15 million to finish the emergency department. But $9 million toward that effort is helping the hospital significantly.
Signal: When will the current emergency room expansion be completed?
Vose: The new construction should be done by this fall, and once that's done, then the current square footage of our emergency department will be closed so we can redesign that area. So that's another 12 or 18 months. That's kind of a Phase 2. So we still have some time; I'm going to guess another year and a half before we can open that 33-bed, all-inclusive emergency department.
Signal: If the foundation comes up with half the money, where does the hospital get the other half of the money?
Vose: Revenue. Revenue from the services they provide.
Signal: What you might call "profit," if it weren't a nonprofit hospital.
Vose: Well, yes. And there could be some financing in there, too.
Signal: Do you write grants?
Vose: Actually, grants totaled about $3 million of the $12 million. We were really fortunate that what we asked for, we got. I was just thrilled.
Signal: So the majority comes from the Velozes and the golf tournaments and the Holiday Home Tour and things like that
Vose: Exactly. It all goes into the pot, and that's how we raise $12 million. Because everybody works on it together. It's a huge community effort.
Signal: What are the big fund-raisers?
Vose: If you're talking about special events, probably our biggest special event is the Frontier Toyota Henry Mayo Golf Classic, which is in May. That's probably our premiere fund-raiser. It's on a Saturday, which is great, at Valencia Country Club, and we raise about $300,000 gross, and clear about $200,000, which is pretty good for a golf tournament. The last two or three years, it has supported the (emergency department) expansion, so that's part of our total, as well.
And then we have the 5K Run For the Health of It, and the support groups do a wonderful job in creating and planning events like the Holiday Home Tour and the (Hospital) Guild Fashion Show and the debutante program. We have about 300 volunteers who work really hard for the hospital, and they're great ambassadors in the community. They truly believe in the advancement of health care in this valley.
Signal: How much paid staff do you have?
Vose: In the foundation office? Six. (But) we have 35 board members that's the difference. And we have committees of community leaders, too, and a capital campaign committee, and I think I need to mention Gary Cusumano here, as long as we're talking about the capital campaign. It's his leadership that really helped us reach our goal. He was instrumental in soliciting support, not only for dollars but (also) for people to help us go out into the community and encourage contributions.
Signal: We're starting to hear about the hospital's 25-year plan, and you're going to have a lot to do with coming up with the money to make it happen.
Vose: We'll sure participate in that, gladly.
Signal: And now there's a new Web site, StopHenryMayo.org, run by a gentleman named David Gauny, who lives on Parma Court, right behind the hospital in the Valencia Summit, and he has a mortgage lending company in the Valencia Industrial Center, AmeriMac Funding Group. He's concerned that there will be three 5-story medical towers, a six-story medical tower, three 5-story parking garages, and he's concerned about traffic and all the various things people worry about with any kind of development. Do people either from the foundation or the hospital go out and talk to residents and try to appease their fears?
Vose: Well, the foundation doesn't get involved too much in that, although they are very much aware of what our plans are. But we do understand the fears of neighbors. It is something to consider.
The hospital needs to grow; the hospital needs to serve the community. I want to stress (that) this is a 25-year plan. It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take many, many years. In fact, I probably won't be involved at all in the fund-raising of the tower, as an example. That will be after my time. There is a need, and the hospital has a responsibility to fulfill that need.
Signal: Is the hospital just looking to grow in place? Or will you also be raising funds to build (outpatient) facilities elsewhere in the Santa Clarita Valley?
Vose: You know, I couldn't tell you that. I'm probably the wrong person to ask. As far as I'm aware today, we are growing in place. But who knows what the future will bring?
Signal: What's next? What do you see as the next immediate need that you think you're going to be raising money for, even though you're in a silent mode and probably can't talk about it too much because the board hasn't really decided yet?
Vose: I don't know. They really haven't. But I'll tell you, part of the strategic plan could include a new intensive care unit, a larger unit, and move to another location within the hospital. There is talk about a neonatal intensive care unit. Those are all plans for the future. It's just a matter of when, and what's first.
I want to thank our community for standing by us and understanding the need to expand, understanding the need to provide the health care services that this community demands, because of its growth. We want the community to know that we're there for you.
See this interview in its entirety today at 8:30 a.m., and watch for another "Newsmaker of the Week" on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on SCVTV Channel 20, available to Comcast and Time Warner Cable subscribers throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.