Scripps Receives Record $45 Million For Heart Center

Cheryl Clark, July 27, 2011

Scripps Health in San Diego has received a $45 million gift, the largest in its history, and will use it to finance a $456 million cardiovascular center on its Scripps Memorial Hospital campus in La Jolla.

The seven-story, 383,000-square-foot Conrad Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, named after a San Diego philanthropist, will have 108 beds in private rooms, 60 intensive care beds, six operating rooms and up to six cardiac catheterization labs when it opens in 2015. The $456 million also covers the cost of engineering facilities.

Scripps performs the lion's share of heart procedures in the San Diego area in part because, in collaboration with Kaiser cardiologists and surgeons, heart patients enrolled in Kaiser Permanente are treated at Scripps facilities.

Prebys owns Progress Construction and Management Company, a real estate and development company that he founded in 1966. While he has donated to numerous other causes and organizations, this is his largest gift to date.

A life-threatening cardiac infection that kept Prebys bedridden for a year when he was growing up has motivated him to dedicate a significant share of his personal fortune to "fighting back against the disease that almost ended his life," according to a statement issued b Scripps.

The heart center will compete with the $228 million Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, expected to open this year a few hundred yards away on the University of California San Diego's Thornton Hospital campus.

Five years ago, Prebys contributed $10 million for the Conrad Prebys Emergency and Trauma Center at Scripps Mercy Hospital, 12 miles south of the La Jolla campus.

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