History of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center
In the mid 1940's, the city of Jasper set a goal for itself -- the construction of a local hospital to relieve the critical shortage of hospital beds in the area. After six years of planning, development and construction, Memorial Hospital opened its doors for patients July 11, 1951. The $1,100,000 needed for construction and design costs came from a number of sources. Two local businessmen donated the land for the structure; three public fund drives were held to raise enough money to qualify for federal grants; and the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary donated a sizable amount of money toward the realization of what had truly become a community project.
When its doors opened, Memorial Hospital was hailed as one of the finest general hospitals in the state. Known world-wide for their outstanding hospital facilities, the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary were chosen to staff, operate, and maintain this showcase facility. Nine Sisters were on the original staff, and numerous others were added as the hospital grew. The hospital was deeded to the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary in 1966.
In addition to the Sisters, a large number of laypersons in the community contributed to its operation. Initially, townspeople served on the hospital’s advisory board. In 1970, the advisory board was discontinued, and laypersons were invited to serve on a Board of Directors which operates the hospital as a non-profit corporation.
In 1971, a new wing was opened. This four-story, $3 million addition expanded the hospital by approximately 33,000 square feet.
Full-time emergency services began in 1976, and in 1978, Cardiopulmonary Services, the Cafeteria and Gift Shop were expanded. In an effort to better reflect the scope of services offered, Memorial Hospital became Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center on August 1, 1979. In July 1980, the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary moved into a new home and the former convent was renamed Memorial Hospital Annex, which is utilized as office space today.
As the regional population grew, the need for additional hospital space became evident. In 1982, the Board of Directors approved an expansion project, and after an intense planning process which lasted until October 1983, a $13.1 million expansion was approved by the State Board of Health. The project added 45,000 square feet of new construction to the hospital along with the renovation of 50,000 square feet of existing space, increasing the bed capacity to 131. Areas of new construction included Critical Care, Medical Records, Pharmacy, Dietary, Surgery, Chapel, Volunteer Services and Administrative areas. Renovated areas included the Psychiatric Unit, Medical/Surgical Unit, Skilled Caring Unit, Emergency Department, Laundry, and Materials Management. Radiology and Perinatal Services were located in a combination of new and renovated space. The expansion was completed and dedicated on October 5, 1986.
Many other hospital milestones occurred through the years including the installation of a CT scanner in 1987, thanks to a generous contribution from the late Alvin C. Ruxer and his wife, Hilda. In 1988, Medical Oncology Services opened in a clinic in the Medical Arts Building. In 1989, a full-time pediatrician joined the staff, and an occupational medicine physician was recruited to become the director of IMED, the Industrial Medicine Clinic.
The hospital celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1991, and with this celebration year came an announcement of another expansion project due to the tremendous increase in the need for outpatient services. This building project included a 75-space parking lot and 37,000 square feet of new space to house Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Emergency Department expansion, an MRI in Radiology, SurgeryCare, along with Accounting, Human Resources, and Patient Services offices. Renovations affected 15,000 square feet of existing hospital space as well.
Since then, other areas of expansion include the opening of Regional Kidney Care (renal dialysis), Memorial Home Care, Family Palliative Care, Nuclear Medicine, Cardiac Cath/Angiography, Pediatric Unit, Histology Services, along with Sports Medicine, Neurology, and Multi-Specialty Clinics. Family medicine offices were opened in Dale, Shoals, Ferdinand and Loogootee. The Memorial Pavilion (now known as Mary Potter Pavilion) opened with an expanded pre-surgical services area and a Women’s Center for mammography, stereotactic biopsy, bone densitometry, and ultrasound. The hospital’s medical staff grew to over 60 physicians.
In October 2002, Memorial Hospital embarked on its largest expansion project yet with a groundbreaking for a new seven-level tower. The first three levels of the facility were completed in January 2005 and house the Emergency Department, Radiology Services, Chapel, Critical Care Services and Obstetrics & Gynecology complete with private rooms and a hotel-like ambience geared toward the comfort of patients and their families.
A new Inpatient Rehab Center opened in July 2005. In 2007, the Lange-Fuhs Cancer Center opened along with Levels 4 & 5 of the LCM Tower, home to Medical, Post-Surgical and Pediatric Services. In Huntingburg, Memorial Health Center opened featuring the new Urgent Care Center and Wound Care Center. In 2008, The Phillip R. Dawkins Heart & Vascular Center opened on Level 6 of the LCM Tower along with Heartland Cardiology located on Scott Rolen Drive in Jasper.
In 2009, the Lower Level of the LCM Tower became home to the Tower Café, Health Information Management, Medical Library and Board Conference Room while Memorial Southside Office opened in Jasper featuring wellness coaching and fitness classes. In this same year, Memorial Medical Office of Huntingburg opened on 22nd Street. In early 2012, the St. Thomas Medical Center opened, allowing for a new Memorial Outpatient Surgery Center and MRI Suite.
In recent years, Memorial Hospital added Crawford County Family Medicine in Leavenworth, Country Health Center in Montgomery, and Caring Hands Senior Services on Level 4 of the hospital. An expansion project is currently underway at the Lange-Fuhs Cancer Center.
Today, as a regional health center with nearly 1,500 employees and approximately 100 physicians on the Active Medical Staff, Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center serves residents of eight rural counties in southwestern Indiana with medical offices located in Dale, Ferdinand, French Lick, Holland, Huntingburg, Jasper, Leavenworth, Loogootee, Montgomery, Petersburg, Santa Claus, Shoals, and Washington. Annually, the hospital’s staff provides medical care for approximately 7,000 inpatients, 230,000 outpatients, 30,000 emergency patients, and 1,000 newborns.