Froedtert Hospital to Invest $6 Million in New Kathy's House Project
Facility housed 1,400 out-of-town guests last year, needs more space
Milwaukee, Wis (January 26, 2017) - Froedtert Hospital will be the lead investor in a project to build a new Kathy's House facility, and has committed to fund $6 million of the estimated $9 million project cost.
A nonprofit hospital guest house, Kathy's House provides lodging, meals and respite for non-local patients and their families who come to the Milwaukee area for medical care. Founded in 2001 in Wauwatosa, it is the only facility in southeastern Wisconsin that serves people of all ages. According to Executive Director Patty Metropulos, Kathy's House has been operating at capacity for several years, and the 2021 expiration of its lease with St. Camillus Health Center for its current site at 600 N. 103rd Street added urgency to efforts to find a new, larger location.
"We are grateful for Froedtert Hospital's support as we undertake this significant, transformative step for our organization," Metropulos said. "We envision taking Kathy's House to the next level, continuing our mission to provide a comfortable place for people in a critical time of need and also becoming a national model for hospital guest houses, using best practices to help improve care outcomes and reduce hospital readmissions." Metropulos said Kathy's House will seek donations to raise the remaining $3 million.
"Our support of this next step for Kathy's House is a natural extension of our 16-year relationship," said Cathy Buck, president of Froedtert Hospital. "As an academic medical center and regional destination, the Froedtert & MCW health network draws patients from throughout the state and nation. The availability of an affordable home away from home is a tremendous relief for patients who must travel for care."
"A site for the new Kathy's House is still to be determined, and a construction timeline hasn't been established. Plans call for a 20,000-square-foot building that would increase the current 18 guest rooms to 24 and include a special wing for long-term guests. Outpatient bone marrow transplant patients often stay at Kathy's House for up to 14 weeks," Metropulos said. The House is open year round and staffed around the clock.
Kathy's House is open to patients of any Milwaukee area hospital, but Froedtert Hospital long has been its primary referral source. In 2016, 94 percent of Kathy's House's 1,400 guests were patients or family members referred by the Froedtert & MCW health networks, and 85 percents had a cancer diagnosis.
According to Metropulos, Kathy's House average occupancy reached an all time high of 85 percent in 2016, capping five straight years of record breaking growth. The continuing growth spurred the Kathy's House board of directors to undertake a strategic planning process, which included visits to a dozen hospital guest houses across the US to research design and program approaches. Since it opened nearly 17 years ago, Kathy's House has provided lodging and support to approximately 17,000 guests. Nearly all reside at least 50 miles from Milwaukee; 18 percent live outside of the Midwest region, including other countries.
About Kathy's House
Kathy's House is a nonprofit hospital guest house that provides affordable lodging and caring support in a "home away from home" environment for people who need to travel to Milwaukee for medical care. Open 365 days a year, it is the only such facility in southeastern Wisconsin that serves patients of all ages and their families and caregivers. Annually, Kathy's House serves approximately 1,400 guests; roughly half are patients and half are family members. Most are cancer patients and more than 60 percent live in Wisconsin. Kathy's House was founded in 2001 by the parents of Kathy Vogel Kuettner, a Milwaukee cancer patient who had deep empathy for fellow patients who traveled to the city for care and faced illness without the support of nearby family and friends. Kathy died in 2000 but her wish to help others lives on.
About Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network is a partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin. It comprises eastern Wisconsin's only academic medical center and research facility, Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee; and Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls, and St. Joseph's Hospital, West Bend. The health network includes more than 2,000 physicians across 25 primary and specialty clinical locations, representing the collaboration of Wisconsin's largest multispecialty physician practice with a community-based physician group. The network's three hospitals have 781 staffed beds, nearly 40,000 annual admissions and more than 900,000 annual outpatient visits. Froedtert & MCW network physicians have more than 700,000 annual patient visits at its health centers and clinic. For more information, visit froedtert.com