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St. Charles gets $1 million ‘cap challenge grant’ for new tower


(Update: Adding video, more comments from Tykeson, CEO Joe Sluka)

The Tykeson Family Foundation announced Friday that it will contribute $1 million toward the new St. Charles Bend patient tower if the St. Charles Foundation can finish raising a total of $4 million by April 30.

The Tykeson Family Foundation offered the $1 million “cap challenge grant” as an investment in a facility that will help meet Central Oregon’s health care needs for decades to come, the hospital said in a news release.

“As my dad always said, ‘Everything starts with good health,'” said Amy Tykeson, former president and CEO of BendBroadband and managing trustee of the Tykeson Family Foundation. “If you have good health, you can get an education, and you can pursue your dreams — and hopefully it all comes back, so you can give back to the community and join with others to make a difference.”

“St. Charles has been a tremendous community asset for more than 100 years,” Tykeson said. “We hope our cap challenge grant will be a call to others to contribute to the tower fundraising campaign so that we can continue to expand access to critical care services.”

St. Charles Health System is responding to the rapid growth of Central Oregon by building the $66 million patient tower, which will feature a 28-bed Progressive Care Unit and 24-bed Intensive Care Unit, as well as another 20,000 square feet of shell space that will be available for future development.

The impact of this investment will be immediate. Increasing the Bend hospital’s overall capacity for inpatient care will alleviate bottlenecks throughout the entire health system and help patients receive the focused care they need, officials said.

The only Level II trauma center east of the Cascades, St. Charles Bend is currently beyond capacity. Nine out of 10 inpatient beds are occupied most days. Last year alone, the ICU was forced to transfer nearly 100 patients to other facilities for care.

In addition to being overcrowded, the hospital’s ICU is also outdated, said Joe Sluka, St. Charles’ president and CEO.

“It was very sorely needed,” Sluka said. “Nine out of ten of our inpatient beds are occupied on any given day, so we are overcrowded.”

Built in the 1990s, the current ICU rooms are 44 percent smaller than what is now recommended. That means in a crisis, there is only limited space for caregivers and equipment, and no room for family to stay.

“It’s abundantly clear to us just how much we need the new patient tower. Thanks to the incredible generosity of the Tykeson Family Foundation and our other donors, this project is going to be a reality,” Sluka said.

“We are asking the community to join with us and continue the legacy of giving. In addition to our caregivers, physicians and vendors, we’re hoping you — the community — will help us raise $800,000 to make us eligible for the $1 million Tykeson Family Foundation cap grant.”

For more information about the new patient tower or to make a gift to the St. Charles Foundation, contact John Jepson, senior philanthropy officer, at 541-706-6953 or .

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