$2.5 M gift for OSF: Besses donate to new rehab center

ESCANABA – OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group today announced a gift of $2.5 million to the hospital by John and Patt Besse, to be used toward construction of a new physical rehabilitation and wellness center.

Hospital officials are working closely with the couple to finalize details of the project. The new 14,500 square-foot facility will be located on the hospital campus along Willow Creek Road. Total cost is expected to be around $4 million.

“We are so grateful to John and Patt Besse for their generosity and commitment to quality healthcare,” said Dave Lord, president and CEO at OSF. “Their gift will help us provide an enhanced level of service for the community.”

He added that a new rehabilitation center has been a part of the hospital’s strategic plans for several years but lacked available capital.

“Through our therapy services, we help patients relieve pain, improve mobility and return to activities that are important to them,” said Paul Bracket, physical therapist and manager of the OSF Rehabilitation Services Department. “We consistently score above national averages for improved patient outcomes and have a long history of providing safe, quality care regardless of patients’ ability to pay. Over the years our scope of services has grown significantly. Finding sufficient space to provide those services has been challenging. Thanks to the Besses, we now have the necessary funding to expand on our strengths and provide additional services for the community.”

The Besses have first-hand knowledge of the rehabilitation department.

“We became aware of OSF’s future ‘dream plan’ for its rehabilitation department while receiving therapy recently,” explained Patt Besse. “The project piqued our interest and after several meetings, conversations and examining drawings of future plans with hospital administrators, we recognized how the new facility would have a tremendous impact, with new and needed services for the community.

“Another factor that was huge in our decision to make this dream a reality is OSF’s commitment to disadvantaged members of our community who are unable to pay for services,” she said.

The new center will provide a larger area for existing physical and occupational therapy, work hardening, cardiac rehabilitation and athletic training services, as well as new services, including a warm-water therapy pool.

“Aquatic therapy has been shown to provide enhanced patient outcomes, particularly in children and adults with peripheral neuropathy or nerve injuries; sports injuries; foot and ankle injuries; total joint replacements; neck, back and spine surgeries; arthritis; closed head injuries and stroke; cardiac issues; spinal cord injuries; fibromyalgia; chronic pain; Parkinson’s Disease; balance/fall risk; and other issues,” said Bracket.

He noted the new center will also include a “step” program, with individuals converting from treatment to supervised preventive care, as well as a larger gym area for additional therapeutic exercise programs.

Since 1884, OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group has provided care for approximately 45,000 people throughout Delta County and surrounding communities. The hospital has been a recipient of funding from the Besse Foundation in the past, including annual donations for OSF Bay de Noc Hospice, a $10,000 gift in 2000 for dialysis services, a $1 million donation in December 2003 that was used to provide permanent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services, and a $5 million gift in 2006 that was used to expand the Hospital’s Emergency Department. Numerous other businesses and service organizations have benefited from the Besse’s generosity, as well.

“We are truly grateful to John & Patt Besse for their commitment to Delta County and the patients we serve at OSF,” said Lord. “Their gift will allow us to move forward on a needed project that will significantly impact residents in our communities.”