Former Naples representative, wife giving $20M to NCH for Rooney Heart Institute

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

$20,000,000 is the amount of money former Naples representative Francis Rooney and his wife are giving to NCH for its new heart institute. That money for the now-called “Rooney Heart Institute” will bring nationally recognized doctors to Naples and for continued research.

Nobody wants to end up at the hospital, especially if you fight for your life after a stroke or heart issue. But the reality is as we age, these things can happen.

“I would say the chances of you having a stroke or heart attack are reasonably high. A lot of people have them, and you’re going to be really thankful that we have this facility here,” Francis Rooney said.

Rooney is a former U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district serving Lee and Collier Counties. He has since retired but feels called to serve again.

NCH Heart Institute. CREDIT: WINK News

Rooney and his wife Kathleen gave $20,000,000 to NCH’s new $200,000,000 heart institute, which will be called the Rooney Heart Institute.

“We don’t have to get on an airplane to go to Johns Hopkins we can see a doctor in under a half hour. They’re beating a world-class standard of time from incident to doctor, which is a critical variable, and if you can do that and stay right here, a lot more people would be saved,” Rooney said.

And that is the idea, saving lives by putting it all under one roof.

WINK News spoke with Paul Hiltz, the president, and CEO of NCH, about the project.

“We will be doing open-heart surgeries will be doing minimally, invasive heart surgeries will be doing structural heart procedures which are through a catheter valve surgery is through a catheter cutting edge things, as well as imaging and doctor offices,” Hiltz said.

And Rooney’s gift makes that dream all the more possible to make NCH a well-known, world-class cardiovascular center.

“We take it as a failure when our patients in the community have to fly out for care,” Robert J Cubeddu, the president of the NCH Heart Institute, said.

NCH is still working with the city of Naples on zoning and permitting for the project. The hospital hopes to turn this three-story building into a five-story building to house part of the heart institute.

But, The Rooney Heart Institute will span across Southwest Florida at NCH’s Bonita, North Naples, and Marco Island locations.

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