An unexpected $300,000 donation from KeyBank will help pay for some of the costs of moving Women & Children's Hospital into its new facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The money will help pay for transportation expenses, food, patient comfort kits and rental equipment during a massive move expected to cost Kaleida Health as much as $8 million.
In all, 15 ambulances will be used from sunrise to sunset on Nov. 10 to move the most critically ill pediatric patients and babies and less acute patients the 1.2 mile-journey between the old hospital on Bryant Street to the new 12-story John R. Oishei Children's Hospital on Ellicott Street.
"It's historic. It's a forever moment," said Kaleida Health President and CEO Jody L. Lomeo. "In our minds, this is the community's hospital."
The $8 million is the total, one-time annual expense budgeted for all costs associated with the move, Lomeo said, including new equipment, training and orientation for 1,500 employees.
The KeyBank donation, which will be made in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, will pay for all non-labor costs on the day of the move.
"We're so grateful to KeyBank for stepping up," Lomeo said. "When you see this kind of generosity given, it gives everybody a little burst of energy."
The donation unfolded rather unexpectedly, Lomeo said, after he met with community business leaders last week at the new Oishei Hospital. Two days later, Lomeo got a call from Gary Crosby, a member of KeyCorp's Board of Directors and president of the First Niagara Foundation.
"Gary Crosby's words to me were, 'We'd like to take this off your plate,'" Lomeo said. "That was as good of a phone call I have received in my entire career."
KeyBank officials said they wanted to provide financial help beyond the dozens of bank employees who will serve as volunteers on the day of the move. Recognizing that the upcoming move is "a massive undertaking," bank officials said they wanted to continue their support of the new hospital.
Coupled with previous commitments from KeyBank and the First Niagara Foundation, the total financial support from the two entities now totals $525,000 for Oishei Children's Hospital.
Gary Quenneville, regional executive for KeyBank in upstate New York, said the donation for the move was a cause "that resonated within our organization."
Between 150 and 200 patients are expected to be transported in a daylong move scheduled to begin 7 a.m. Nov. 10. On the highly coordinated move day, one patient will be moved from the old facility to the new hospital every 8 to 10 minutes. The hospital will operate two command centers at each hospital.
"We've worked on the plan for two years," Lomeo said.
The hospital has conducted three simulated patient moves and has planned one more.
Nov. 10, which is Veteran's Day, was selected as the move day because schools will be closed and traffic is expected to be down by about 30 percent, Lomeo said. Two other backup dates are in the works.
"The reality is that in the event of a snowstorm, we would not want to rush," Lomeo said.
Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the new 183-bed hospital, as well as adding donor recognition pieces to the lobby. Furniture and equipment is being readied to place in patient rooms.