1955 to 1972
Grant Regional Health Center, formerly known as Lancaster Memorial Hospital, opened its doors on Sept. 19, 1955, but plans for development started 10 years earlier. In 1945 a small group of citizens began considering the possibility of a new hospital. It wasn't until 1952, when Lancaster became eligible for government grants, that a new group, under the chairmanship of Albert Weber, started planning again.
In 1953 Mrs. Sumpter "Lulu" Williams provided the bulk of her estate ($81,585) to assist in the construction of a municipal hospital. Thirteen communities surrounding Lancaster voted to tax themselves $80,000 to be used to help build the hospital. In addition, more than $25,000 was given in unsolicited private donations. The 36-bed hospital was built at a total cost of more than $600,000. The cooperation of generous citizens of the city of Lancaster and the surrounding communities made this possible.
The hospital's history has been a story of continual progress to keep pace with the constantly changing field of healthcare. In 1956 there were 17 physicians on the hospital staff. The hospital had 24 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees. Services included a business office, x-ray, anesthesia, surgery, obstetrics, maintenance, dietary services and laundry. In 1962 a new wing was opened because of overcrowding, and the hospital became a 56-bed institution.
1973 to 1989
In 1973 another major expansion project took place—the building of a new south wing for administration. New departments and services, such as physical therapy and social services, were added. In 1975 the three-bed intensive care unit, complete with cardiac monitors, went into operation. Later that year the hospital emergency services expanded from one room to three rooms. In 1979 a number of patient rooms were taken out of service, reducing the number of beds to 50. Patient space was again decreased in 1981 to accommodate additional services. In January 1985 the patient-bed capacity was reduced again to 35.
1990 to 1999
A hospice suite was built in 1993, thanks to a large contribution from the hospital Auxiliary. In September that same year, Grant Regional Health Center acquired the Fennimore Clinic, located approximately 12 miles north, and in June 1995 the health center opened the Potosi-Tennyson Medical Clinic, located approximately 11 miles south. In 1994 new construction was added to the hospital to provide space for occupational health and sports medicine programs.
In 1999 Grant Regional Health Center completed a $5.9 million construction and equipment project. With that expansion, the hospital made a significant commitment to the community to meet existing and future needs for healthcare services. The project included expansion of the outpatient, emergency and surgery departments, allowing for greater capabilities and improved services. As a major component in the effort to provide greater convenience, Grant Community Clinic relocated to the Madison Street level of the new campus. The project also included a central entry location and improved patient and visitor circulation throughout the facility.
The hospital's most recent change has been in status. Grant Regional Health Center has applied to the state of Wisconsin to be designated as a critical access hospital. The new status will allow the hospital more flexibility with many federal rules and regulations. In addition, the hospital will be eligible for a higher level of payment from Medicare. Patients will receive the same services and high-quality care with this new status. The majority of the changes will be made to internal operations.
Today Grant Regional Health Center provides a wide array of healthcare services and continually strives to stay current with the latest trends appropriate for our service area.
2000 to present
In Fall 2013, Grant Regional acquired the Dean Clinic in Lancaster (renamed Grant Regional Community Clinic). The clinic continues to accept a wider variety of insurance plans and has exceeded our expectations in patient volumes in this first year. We have hired additional providers and will continue to expand our medical staff in response to increased patient visits.
If you've visited Grant Regional recently, you might notice some structural changes but perhaps it's Grant Regional's spirit of care that one might notice the most. There are subtle elements and gestures everywhere throughout the hospital -- all very intentional and added to enhance the patient or visitor's experience. Grant Regional began working with The Disney Institute since 2002, and continues work in improvement teams to provide exceptional customer service. Our culture has evolved to take into consideration how we can make every aspect of our patients' experience the very best we can.
For approximately 20 years, Grant Regional Health Center has worked diligently to grow and expand to better serve Lancaster and the surrounding communities. We have changed from a small hospital in need of updating to the strong, progressive organization we are today. With the acquisition of the clinic in 2013 and the addition of new surgeons - we are at a point of growth once again. In 1995, the hospital separated from the City of Lancaster and entered into a lease arrangement with the City. Grant Regional Health Center then became its own corporation. We've determined the current lease agreement limits our future growth.
We've outgrown our current footprint and we're exploring all options to gain the space we need. A 60 year-old building has challenges and limitations to operating efficiently and being able to offer state-of-the-art care. We value our independence and our goal is to maintain our current organizational structure in the future. We feel it is important to stay neutral in order to offer a wide variety of insurance options for our patients.
Our strength and independence will only offer new opportunities to work with other organizations, enhance the services we are able to offer and recruit new providers to our region – and ultimately allow us to continue to grow. 2015 was the right time to move forward to invest in ourselves: our people, processes, technology and facilities to assure the ability to offer thriving healthcare services well into the future. The City of Lancaster and Grant Regional agreed to a mutually beneficial agreement to terminate the lease and the hospital in turn purchased it land and assets from the city and is now a completely independent organization from the city.
Further discussions with the city continued in 2015 and led to a city council public hearing in October to propose vacating South Monroe Street adjacent to the properties owned by the hospital. Since then GRHC has purchased two additional homes on Monroe Street which would allow street closure from the south tip of the heliport to the end of the block on the corner of Oak and Monroe. The next step will be the final public hearing City Council meeting for rezoning of those new properties from residential to commercial, followed by approval of the section of Monroe street vacation. With this positive step forward, the hospital will then be able to continue the master facility management planning. Our goal is to design the renovation to include additional much needed parking that remains on the hospital campus and does not interfere with our residential neighbors; provide new space for our growing clinic; and allow a roof top heliport for safety and patient privacy. We look forward future opportunities for growth and ways to enhance the care we offer. It is an exciting time as we strive to provide an even brighter future in healthcare for the patients we serve!