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Paynesville Press - September 13, 2006

Hospital celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Michael Jacobson

Happy 50th Birthday to the Paynesville Area Hospital!

history display The Paynesville Area Health Care System marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the local hospital with a public open house on Wednesday, Sept. 6, drawing an estimated crowd of 650 for the free dinner, music, kid's games, historical display, and facility tours.

One of the estimated 650 vistors to the open house last week examined one of the historical displays explaining the history of medical care in Paynesville and the Paynesville Area Hospital over the past 50 years.

The open house was meant to celebrate the community's involvement in the formation and continued operation of the local hospital, said CEO Steve Moburg. "We have been fortunate, due to the foresight of an awful lot of people over the years, to have these facilities," added Moburg, who is the fourth hospital adminstrator in the facility's history.

Fifty years ago, a public hospital was founded in Paynesville as a village-owned facility. Since then, the hospital has grown - adding first an adjoining nursing home; remodeling on several occasions, adding space to growing departments; later adding 700 Stearns Place and two more nursing homes; joining forces with a group of local medical doctors and building an attached clinic to the hospital; and acquiring six satellites to become a regional health care system.

The hospital, when built in 1955 and opened in 1956, cost $445,000 for construction. In its first year, it had 1,055 admissions and 146 births while making a small profit.

In 2005, the Paynesville Area Hospital had only 677 admissions and 119 births, but in other ways its operation dwarfed the original hospital. In 2005, the hospital had 1,930 emergency room visits and 17,879 other outpatient visits to its specialty clinic. The Paynesville Area Health Care System also had 33,639 clinic visits, a total budget around $27 million, and profits of $800,000.

In 2005, the Paynesville Area Health Care System made $1 million in capital purchases, over twice the original cost of the hospital.

The buildings on the main campus of the Paynesville Area Health Care System in Paynesville - totalling 121,000 sq. ft. today - has tripled since the building of the original hospital (46,350 sq. ft.) in the 1950s.

Though medical history in the Paynesville area traces back to the first white settlement in the 1860s, until the 1950s, medical treatment was a private affair. Doctors typically operated not only a clinic but a private hospital as well.

By the 1950s, the limitations of the private hospital operated by Dr. C.R. Myre prompted the push for a public facility, especially when the community learned it could qualify for a federal grant to cover 45 percent of the costs of a new hospital. The idea of a public hospital was raised at a meeting of the Civic and Commerce Association in 1953.

The Myre Hospital - located in a house at the corner of Washburne Avenue and Mill Street - had its operating and delivery rooms on the second floor, which means patients had to be carried downstairs, said Dr. Ray Lindeman, who moved to Paynesville to practice medicine with Dr. Myre in 1949.

In order to receive the federal grant, Dr. Myre agreed to close his private hospital when the single-story public hospital was built.

When it was built, the two city blocks for the hospital were located on the edge of town.

The hospital switched from city ownership to a hospital district - with an independent board of directors - in October 1992. The hospital district originally contained seven member entities, but now it contains 12 cities and townships.

They are: the city of Paynesville, Paynesville Township, the city of Eden Valley, the city of Lake Henry, the city of Regal, the city of Richmond, the city of Roscoe, the city of St. Martin, Eden Lake Township, Roseville Township, Union Grove Township, and Zion Township.

The Paynesville Area Hospital opened its doors on Nov. 12, 1956. It will officially turn 50 on Nov. 12, 2006.

Brief History of the Paynesville Area Hospital
*Idea for a public hospital raised by the Paynesville Civic and Commerce Association in 1953.

*Ground broken for the Paynesville Community Hospital on July 26, 1955.

*Paynesville Community Hospital dedicated on Oct. 28, 1956. Construction cost $445,000. Local donations raised $87,771 for the community hospital.

*First birth at the Paynesville Community Hospital on Nov. 12, 1956, less than an hour after it first opened its doors.

*Paynesville Community Hospital records a $4,000 profit in its first seven months of operation under adminstrator Carol Slack.

*In its first year of operation, the Paynesville Community Hospital has 1,055 admissions, 140 births, and 16 deaths.

*Federal funds ($148,000) secured to build a nursing home in Paynesville in 1963.

*Koronis Manor - suggested by a local couple to evoke the local area "Koronis" and prestige "Manor" - is chosen in May 1964 as the name for the nursing home.

*In 1963, the hospital records 1,439 admissions, 214 births, and gross income of $271,700.

*Arie Bruinik appointed new administrator in June 1964.

*The Koronis Manor opens in November 1964, along with a 16-bed addition to the hospital.

*Ancillary wing opened for medical records, pharmacy, and new departmentŠphysical therapy in 1971.

*Willie LaCroix hired as hospital administrator in October 1981 after sudden death of Bruinik.

*Remodeling project completed at hospital in 1983-1984, increasing outreach department and lab.

*700 Stearns Place - a 30-unit congregate housing for seniors - opened in May 1988.

*Open house showcased newly purchased CT scanner in 1989.

*Paynesville Ambulance Service taken over by the hospital in 1991.

*With the formation of the Paynesville Area Hospital District, ownership of the hospital passes from the city of Paynesville to the seven member entities in October 1992. The hospital's name is changed to the Paynesville Area Hospital.

*In 1994, the hospital district form a physician-hospital organization with a group of local medical doctors soon building a new Paynesville Area Medical Clinic adjoining the hospital.

*Paynesville Area Health Care System - as the hospital district is known commercially - purchases two facilities from the Good Samaritan Society, changing Washburne Court in Paynesville to assisted living.

*Paynesville Area Hospital underwent an $8 million remodeling project from 2001-2003.

*Steve Moburg hired as CEO of the Paynesville Area Health Care System in September 2002.

*Hospital turns 50 on Nov. 12, 2006.

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