Adams County Hospital (ACH) was conceived in November 1948 through the support of 85% of the voters for a $250,000 Bond Issue. Shortly after that, the Governor appointed a Board of County Hospital Trustees to oversee the planning of a hospital: R. L. Lawwill, M.D., Seaman; Robert B. Ellison, M.D., Peebles; Harold Seaman, West Union; and P. Bennie Colletti, Manchester. At the first Board of Trustees meeting in December 1948 Dr. Lawwill was elected Chairman of the Board. By March 1949 Adams County Hospital had its name and the decision to begin construction of ACH on the site adjacent to the county Children’s Home was made. After much effort by the Trustees, the Ohio Department of Health approved our initial 26-bed general hospital.
In August 1951 the first Operating Board of Trustees of ACH was appointed by the County Commissioners: Robert B. Ellison, M.D., Peebles; Wilbur Greenlee, Seaman; A. O. Shumaker, Winchester; Victor Ralston, Stout; Lauradell Dugle, Manchester; and Glen Mosier, West Union. Mr. Mosier was elected Chairman and Mrs. Dugle was elected Secretary.
An open house was held on July 20, 1952, with Governor Frank Lausche and other state dignitaries in attendance. Visitors to the open house brought canned goods and other commodities to help stock the hospital kitchen. The first patient was admitted to Adams County Hospital on Wednesday, September 3, 1952. The daily room and board rates were $8.00 for the four-bed wards, $10.00 for a semi-private room, and $15.00 for a private room. The first Active Medical Staff consisted of Drs. Sam Clark, S. J. Ellison, Robert B. Ellison, Sam Gendlemen, S. B. Sonkin, Hazel L. Sproull, Robert Lawwill, Richard C. Wenrick, and W. T. LaNeave. Earle Wilks served as the first Administrator.
It took only a few months to realize that the hospital was too small and in November 1952 the Board discussed the need for additional beds. In June 1953 the Board decided to have a request for 30 more beds submitted to the voters. The Bond Issue was approved at the November 1953 election, and a 30-bed addition was completed in 1955.
The first meeting of the ACH Auxiliary was held in October 1953 with twenty members present. Officers were Mary Pixley, President; Ruth Young, Vice-President; and Bess Ellis, Secretary-Treasurer. The Auxiliary is still an integral part of ACH through their fund raising for nursing scholarships and medical equipment and hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer services.
In 1966, following the passage of another bond issue, 32 more beds were added, bringing the total bed compliment to 90.
In 1970 a storage wing was added. This and other additions, including upgraded parking facilities, piped oxygen, a portable heart monitor and defibrillator, a second X-ray machine, an electronic computer for general accounting, and a two-bed coronary care unit, were all paid for from operating surpluses and donations. It was also during this period that the ACH Board and Medical Staff worked to add additional equipment and services to eliminate lengthy trips to distant cities for many diagnostic procedures. The addition or remodeling of services such as Specialty Clinics, Pathology, Pharmacy and Dietary were completed during this decade.
The 1980’s found increasing advances in technology and new government regulations being imposed on health care facilities. In order to keep up with rapid changes in health care, and to meet the expectations of patients, the Board of Trustees proposed a $3.4 million bond issue to provide more local services and meet new regulations. At the May 7, 1985, special election the voters of Adams County approved the levy by an overwhelming 6 to 1 landslide. Some of the major new additions included in this renovation project were a state-of-the-art Emergency Department, operating suite, special care unit, a larger Out-Patient Specialty Clinic area, Albert R. Hanna Care Center, office space, and a modernized Imaging Department, including X-Ray, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, C.T., and Mammography equipment. In keeping with the trend toward out-patient services, the bed compliment was reduced to 67 beds.
The late 1980’s and early 1990’s found ACH continuing to serve the residents in and around the county with efficient, high quality health care. ACH was guided by a Board of Trustees comprised of Robert Wright, (Chairman), Seaman; Robert Blake, (Vice-Chairman), West Union; James Jenkins, (Secretary), West Union; George Lewis, Blue Creek; Kenneth Moyer, Manchester; and Ed Lane, Peebles. During these years, ACH HomeCare, Lyric Health Care Center, Sports Medicine, Occupational Health Care Center, Rehabilitation Center (including expanded physical therapy, occupational therapy, cardiac, pulmonary, stroke and speech therapy services and fitness programs), ACH Medical Arts Center, and the Northern Adams Medical Center joined the family of health care services. These new programs were supplemented by new diagnostic/treatment equipment such as an MRI Scanner, Helical CT Scanning, Osteoporosis Scanning, Thallium Stress Testing, Cardiac Monitoring, Respiratory Therapy, Automated Laboratory Equipment, etc.
By the mid 1990’s healthcare changes were effecting hospitals across the United States. Reduced reimbursement, soaring costs of medical equipment and health care professional shortages placed hospitals, including Adams County Hospital, in a constant struggle to remain accessible, comprehensive and effective.
Feeling the effects of these changes, the financial situation of the hospital allowed for little ability to replace significant medical equipment, much less make costly repairs to the physical plant itself. Therefore, medical equipment continued to age, technology continued to rapidly advance, and the building continued to deteriorate.
In April, 1999, some key operational changes were made and with help from the Adams County Commissioners, ACH, under the direction of Linda Niles, RN, MBA, the new CEO, saw its first profitable year since 1995. With the support of the Board of Trustees, Robert C. Blake, Don Morrow, Sherri Spencer, Tom Rice, Tim Lewis and Ed Lane, the Hospital led a major campaign to secure funding by introducing a ½% sales tax levy in the November 2000 election. Fortunately, residents of Adams County recognized the need to maintain accessible, quality care in our community by successfully passing the levy. The Hospital Staff and Board of Trustees worked diligently to ensure that purchases of equipment and renovations of the physical facility most appropriately needed to meet the needs of our patients.
With the sales tax levy funds, numerous equipment purchases and building repairs were made. These purchases significantly impacted the level of care and increased services to our patients. A few of the major equipment purchases include: a top-of-the-line digital nuclear medicine scanner; a digital, mobile imaging system, surgical endoscopy equipment, a cryostat and blood bank cell wash centrifuge machine used in the Laboratory, a comprehensive hospital-wide information system, PACS-an advanced digital imaging system that allows images - X-rays, Scans, Ultrasounds, and MRI’s - to be electronically acquired and stored, rather than recorded on conventional x-ray film, and a full line of rehabilitation and fitness equipment. Building repairs and remodeling of areas to better benefit patients were completed. Some significant structural problems could not be repaired. (A comprehensive list of purchases and repairs are available upon request.)
These structural problems, along with new State and Federal regulations regarding patient privacy and other regulatory requirements, forced the current Board of Trustees, Physicians and Administration to explore building a replacement facility that would adequately comply with regulations. In addition, renewal of the ½% sales tax levy was sought in the November 2005 election. This ½ cent over the past four years has made a significant impact in bringing technology to Adams County Hospital.
Groundbreaking for a replacement medical facility took place on July 29, 2005. Ground was donated on Moores Road, near Seaman, Ohio, after extensive research and a feasibility study determined the growth in the next 10 years to be along the Appalachian Highway corridor, which connects Adams County to the Cincinnati area.
The replacement facility, Adams County Regional Medical Center, opened its doors for the first patient on August 6, 2007, just two years after the initial groundbreaking. A Critical Access facility, ACRMC has 25 private inpatient units, 25 private outpatient units, 5 of which are designated as an inpatient Hospice Unit, with the collaboration of Hospice of Hope – Ohio Valley. The Emergency Department has 14 private examination rooms, with 3 being equipped specifically for trauma. The Surgical Suite is comprised of two operating rooms and an endoscopy procedure room. The Imaging, Rehabilitation, Outpatient Specialty Clinic, Laboratory and Cardio Pulmonary Departments were enlarged to meet the demands of new technology and to provide access of needed medical services to our area. ACRMC continues to be the regional leader in quality healthcare services in Southern Ohio.
The ACRMC Board of Trustees members include: Jack McCoy, Sherri Spencer, Dane Clark and Robert Blake. The Board of Trustees, Administration, Physicians and Staff are committed to the continuous improvement and promotion of quality patient care and are certainly indebted to, and appreciative of, the outstanding contributions made by our fellow Adams County residents for over 50 years.
Adams County Regional Medical Center is a viable and growing state of the art health care facility meeting the needs of our community. Be assured that the entire Staff, Physicians and members of the Board of Trustees will continue to strive to meet the challenges ahead and plan to capitalize on emerging opportunities for the benefit of our community.