New gift amounts to $8 million of giving to Beaumont heart and vascular care from Max and Debra Ernst

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ernst Heart Center rendering

Five-million-dollar gift to create Max and Debra Ernst Heart Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak

Debra and Max Ernst

Orchard Lake residents Max and Debra Ernst have increased their support to Beaumont heart and vascular care to a total of $8 million, launching the new Max and Debra Ernst Heart Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. The center will be dedicated to consolidating cardiac care, particularly for patients with heart failure, into an area that is not only convenient but comprehensive to provide a variety of heart and vascular services.

In 2009, the couple also gave $3 million to open the Ernst Cardiovascular Center in Memory of Ellen Ernst.

“Through their incredible support, Max and Debra have demonstrated that it doesn’t take a medical degree to save a life - all it takes is a heart and a desire to help others” said Marc Sakwa, M.D., chief, Cardiovascular Surgery, Beaumont, Royal Oak.

Marc Sakwa, M.D.The 14,000-square-foot Max & Debra Ernst Heart Center will be located adjacent to the East Tower entrance of the hospital near the current Ernst Cardiovascular Center. The new $9 million center will consolidate many outpatient heart services into one area to help cardiac patients; particularly those with heart failure, better manage their condition and reduce emergency center visits and hospital readmissions. Construction began on the new center this month. It will open in the fall of 2019. 

Across the nation, more than 1 million people are diagnosed with congestive heart failure each year, which may lead to poor quality of life and frequent hospitalizations for advanced care.  Heart failure is also the leading cause of hospitalization for those 65 years of age and older.

“The new Max and Debra Ernst Heart Center will be an incredible resource for our team to better serve our patients, especially those living with heart failure,” said Simon Dixon, M.D., chair, Cardiovascular Medicine, Beaumont, Royal Oak. “By consolidating services in the new location, we provide better access and directed care for those patients who require extra care and require frequent office visits.”

Board-certified cardiologists, trained cardiac nurses, social workers and dietitians will provide medication monitoring, heart failure management and progressive therapies to not only improve symptoms but enhance quality of life.  These services will be provided with compassionate and specialized patient and family-centered care, in a convenient and easily accessible location for patients requiring more support.

“When we made the gift in 2009, we told everyone if we saved one life, it would be worth it. Since that time, we are very satisfied with the excellent care the team has provided,” Max Ernst said. “My gratitude for the success the heart team has achieved has led my wife and I to commit additional support for their vision.”

The success of the first Ernst multidisciplinary center, which offers many services, including low-cost, preventive heart screenings for adults and high school students, has created the need for expansion. Since the center opened in 2010, specialists have cared for more than 30,000 patients becoming one of the premier programs for structural heart and valve disease and cardiac surgery.  

Margaret Cooney Casey, senior vice president and chief development officer, Beaumont Health, added, “We are deeply grateful to Max and Debra Ernst for their continued generosity and vision for Beaumont. Their gift will save even more lives, and help thousands of patients and their families for years to come.”