St. Luke's Health System plans to use $25 million in donations from the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation to expand spine care offerings and outfit a new rehab center.
Cheerag Upadhyaya, the surgical director at St. Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute, said the funds will be used to establish what the health system calls a "Spine Center of Excellence" at the institute at 4401 Wornall Road.
"(It will be) a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to spine care," Upadhyaya said via email, "providing treatment for patients with all types of spine issues, ranging from neck, back and sciatica with conservative care to high quality, complex surgery."
St. Luke's officials said the new spine center will include more clinical care options and allow the health system to participate in more research.
St. Luke's also plans to use some of the Bloch money to open a new rehabilitation institute next year at St. Luke's South Hospital in Overland Park and outfit it with robotic technology to help people recover from spinal injuries and other conditions.
The spinal care market in Kansas City is competitive, with St. Luke's and the University of Kansas Hospital both named to the latest Becker's Hospital Review list of "100 hospitals & health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs."
Additionally, North Kansas City Hospital is one of two hospitals in Missouri to receive a quality spine care designation from the insurer Aetna.
St. Luke's has a similar designation from Blue Cross Blue Shield, and is the only hospital in the Kansas City metro to have a spine surgery certification from the Joint Commission, a national health care accrediting group.
The $25 million Bloch gift came in two installments and will be invested in the rehab center and spine center over the next five years.
Melinda Estes, the president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health System, said the organization is honored to receive it.
“The Bloch family has touched and improved countless lives through their continued support of the Saint Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute," Estes said in a statement. "Saint Luke’s is grateful for our partnership as we deliver leading-edge neurologic care close to home for patients in our region.”