Milwaukee, Wis. (March 20, 2019) – A site near the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center will be the new home of Kathy’s House, a nonprofit hospital guest house serving out-of-town patients and families who must stay in Milwaukee for medical care. The City of Wauwatosa Common Council approved the plan at its March 19 meeting.
The new facility will occupy a 3.6-acre site on the southwest corner of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus, on North 92nd St. between Doyne and Wisconsin Aves. It is just south of the Froedtert & MCW Clinical Cancer and the Center for Advanced Care.
According to Kathy’s House President and Chief Executive Officer Patty Metropulos, Kathy’s House has been operating at capacity for several years, and over the past two years was forced to turn away 500 guests because no rooms were available. In addition, the 2021 expiration of its lease with St. Camillus Health Center for its current site at 600 N. 103rd St. added urgency to efforts to find a new, larger location.
“For nearly 20 years, Kathy’s House has been a refuge for people facing the stress of a serious illness,” said Metropulos. “Eighty-five percent of our guests are patients being treated for cancer at the Froedtert & MCW Cancer Center, or their family members. More recently, we are seeing more people with conditions involving the heart or organ transplants. Literally across the street from Froedtert, this new location will be ideal for our guests.”
Kathy’s House provides affordable lodging, meals and respite for non-local patients and their families who need to come to the Milwaukee area for medical care. On average, guests donate $32 per night, but no one is turned away if they cannot donate. Founded in 2001 in Wauwatosa, Kathy’s House is the only hospital guest house in southeastern Wisconsin that serves people of all ages.
In 2017, Froedtert Hospital announced it would be the lead investor in building a new Kathy’s House, pledging $6 million to help fund the estimated $11 million construction cost. Kathy’s House will launch a fundraising campaign to raise the remainder.
“We’re proud to help Kathy’s House continue to provide its essential services to people at a critical time in their lives,” said Cathy Buck, president of Froedtert Hospital. “Our health network draws patients from across the state and the nation, and we depend on Kathy’s House as an affordable home away from home for our patients. Many patients say they would be unable to get the care they need without Kathy’s House.”
Structurally and programmatically designed to support patients, the new facility will have 36 rooms, doubling Kathy’s House current capacity. The two-story, 30,600-square-foot building will have a separate wing for patients with compromised immune systems and a patient services room for blood draws and private consultations. It also will have a kitchen, family room, exercise room, courtyard, walking trail and parking, and will be fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
“This step will enable us to take Kathy’s House to the next level, continuing our mission to provide a comforting place for people in need and also to become a national model for hospital guest houses,” Metropulos said. “We envision collaborating with Froedtert & MCW medical professionals and others to use best practices to support patients and enhance care outcomes.”
She added, “We are deeply grateful to Froedtert Hospital for its support, both financial and practical. The guidance and engagement of their leadership team has been invaluable throughout this process.”
Kathy’s House is open to patients of any Milwaukee area hospital, but Froedtert Hospital long has been its primary referral source. In 2018, more than 90 percent of Kathy’s House’s 1,502 guests were patients or family members referred by the Froedtert & MCW health network.
According to Metropulos, Kathy’s House average occupancy reached an all-time high of 91 percent in 2018, capping eight straight years of record-breaking growth. The continuing growth spurred the Kathy’s House board of directors to undertake a strategic planning process in 2014, which included visits to a dozen hospital guest houses across the United States to research design and program approaches. Since it opened 18 years ago, Kathy’s House has provided lodging and support to approximately18,000 guests. Nearly all reside at least 50 miles from Milwaukee; 71 percent are from Wisconsin, 23 percent from other Midwest states, and six percent live outside the Midwest region, including other countries.
Kathy’s House will lease the land from Froedtert Hospital. Terms were not disclosed. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with completion projected in summer 2020. HGA is the architect; C.G. Schmidt is the general contractor.
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 1,500 guests; roughly half are patients and half are family members. Most are cancer patients and more than 70 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. For more information, visit www.kathys-house.org.
About Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network is a partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin supporting a shared mission of patient care, innovation, medical research and education. Its health network operates eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center and adult Level I Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, an internationally recognized training and research center engaged in thousands of clinical trials and studies. The Froedtert & MCW health network, which includes five hospitals, one of which is a nationally ranked academic medical center, more than 1,700 physicians and nearly 40 health centers and clinics, draws patients from throughout the Midwest and the nation. In its most recent fiscal year, outpatient visits exceeded 1.1 million, inpatient admissions to its hospitals were 52,483 and visits to its network physicians totaled 979,143. For more information, visit froedtert.com.