Centennial Celebration: Clark Regional begins recognition of 100-year anniversary this week
On Wednesday from its new state-of-art campus, Clark County’s only hospital, Clark Regional Medical Center, ushered in its second century serving Winchester-Clark County with a community luncheon honoring the 100-year anniversary of the hospital.
The luncheon hosted on the lawn of the facility on Hospital Drive off of Lexington Avenue and near Interstate 64, featured remarks from people who played an integral role in the hospital’s past, present and future endeavor of caring for the health of Clark County and other nearby communities.
Ed Mastrean, a member of the CRMC Board of Trustees, recounted the hospital’s history as it transformed from a small community hospital to a regional medical campus that continues to expand its services.
“It’s extremely difficult to condense a century of this hospital’s history into just a few minutes,” Mastrean said. “One hundred year of operation in and of itself is quite an accomplishment by anyone’s standards.”
Mastrean said discussion of a hospital in Winchester began as early as 1907. He noted the Guerrant Clinic, a 14-bed hospital located in downtown Winchester from 1927 until about 1949.
“The clinic was an integral part of our community’s history and heritage and new serves as home of the Bluegrass Heritage Museum,” he said. “Still, a larger hospital was needed. Town meetings were held at the courthouse and it was estimated that $25,000 was needed to build the hospital.”
Local physicians and clergy got involved and a group called the King’s Daughters initiated fundraising for the hospital, Mastrean said. The public could contribute $10 to become part of the nonprofit and in 1915 the hospital was granted a charter from the Commonwealth.
“In addition to the $25,000 to construct the facility, it would cost approximately $500 to $600 a month to operate,” he said. “Times have changed haven’t they?”
The original Clark County Hospital opened March 17, 1917, with a facility at the corner of Lexington and Wainscott avenues in Winchester. The first three patients were treated March 25 and by April 3, all the rooms were filled, he said.
Business was brisk enough to require an addition, called the east wing, in 1930.
More than two decades later, a second addition was added. The west wing, as it was called, brought Clark County Hospital’s capacity to 15 patient beds and 16 bassinets.
“Winchester was growing,” Mastrean said.
The hospital’s board of directors voted in 1961 to construct a new facility to meet the growing needs of the community on 38 acres at 1107 W. Lexington Ave.
“The new hospital was to provide the capability for new medical and technological advances and the rapidly increasing population,” he said. “This was a trend in thinking that carried itself forward 50 years later.”
On March 6, 1967, the new Clark County Hospital opened. Through the years, the hospital continued to expand eventually to a 100-bed facility. It took its current name in 1989 to better reflect the hospital’s coverage area.
For the next two decades, the hospital continued under local ownership and guidance, until it was purchased in April 2010 by LifePoint Health.
In March 2012 the new Clark Regional Medical Center was opened and the proceeds of the sale of the old hospital developed The Greater Clark Foundation. That property will soon become an iconic green space with development to start this fall.
“The board entered into an agreement with LifePoint, a leading healthcare group, to manage and build a state-of-the-art facility to meet the growing needs of the community,” Mastrean said. “LifePoint was the perfect fit. Their focus was on providing quality service close to home.”
Bill Carpenter, chief executive officer and chairman of LifePoint Health, was present to celebrate the anniversary and recalled that there was a need in Clark County for new facilities.
“I recall telling the board and others that we wouldn’t let them down,” Carpenter said. “I hope we can say today that we haven’t let you down.”
Carpenter said while the facility is great, the most important part of Clark Regional’s success is the people who provide quality care there.
“For 100 years, Clark Regional has provided high-quality care for the people of this community,” he said. “For 100 year, Clark Regional has been providing innovative practices and procedures.
“State-of-the-art technology is what we want here. And it’s what you deserve here. And it’s what we’re providing here. Quality care close to home is a matter of life or death.”
He also noted what the hospital contributes to the community and the economy, employing 600 people, donating to various charitable causes and sponsoring local events.
Carpenter introduced Clark Regional’s new chief executive officer, Robert Parker, who assumed the role previously held by Cherie Sibley May 1.
Parker talked about some of the specific lines of service that will open at the hospital in coming months, along with the recently-opened cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation department. The Clark Clinic B will include a wound care center, an expanded sleep lab, and a primary care mental health integration program and an extensive wellness center that will house several different departments, Including children’s therapy, physical, occupational and speech therapy and the hospital’s Coumadin clinic.
Parker thanked the various community partners who support the hospital and were present Wednesday to celebrate.
“Today in our economic climate, communities are tied together more than ever,” Parker said. “We have to make sure that for the economic health of our community and in a broader context as well we must work together.”
Sibley, who is now chief operating officer of LifePoint Health’s Central Group, gave closing remarks thanking various community partners, including elected officials, Bluegrass Community and Technical College and the Clark County Health Department.
The hospital’s centennial celebration will continue tonight with a Chamber of Commerce after-hours and Saturday with a community health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which is also the culminating event of the Clark County Wellness Challenge. Attendees will be able to get free health screenings, participate in safety education and watch fitness demonstrations.
Those interested can also walk through an open house at the Clark Clinic, which houses a network of providers who offer primary and specialty care services for a variety of needs. The event will also include activities for children and a student art show.
Prior to the health fair, CRMC will partner with Clark County Relay for Life to host a Pink Out Fun 3K run/walk at 9 a.m.