Cleveland VA wins land donation from new hospital charity

Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center (Photo courtesy of VA)
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center (Photo courtesy of VA)

Bill Ryan, the president of the Center for Health Affairs, says an unexpected cash "windfall" arrived in his e-mail box late last year.

A North Carolina group purchasing organization that the association had an equity stake in went public in late September. That initial stock offering proved to be much more successful than anticipated.

So, now, the Center for Health Affairs is taking money from its stock payout to create a $15 million dollar nonprofit charity fund to benefit Northeast Ohio.

"We're really interested in having an impact in the overall health of the community and also having an impact in the ability for all people to access quality health care and to have better health outcomes," Ryan says.

The groups' first donation: Buying land near The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center to build a Fisher House. Fisher Houses are facilities at VA centers similar to the more commonly known Ronald McDonald houses attached to private hospitals that provide a place for family to stay when their loved ones are being treated.

Sue Fuehrer, director of the Cleveland VA hospitals, says about 600 patients annually travel to the VA from out of state each year. Some stay for weeks and others like those being treated for traumatic brain injury could stay for up to six months.

"For veterans that are coming back, particularly the young veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan that have significant injuries that require significant rehabilitation, having your wife or your husband and your children nearby makes a tremendous difference in your outlook and ability to heal," Fuehrer says.

With the Center for Health Affairs donation, the facility is expected to be built in 2015.

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