RMH Yesterday and Today
Richland County has deeply seeded roots as a center for healthcare services in Richland County. The tradition began when Dr. George T. Weber opened the Olney Sanitarium in 1898. He, along with three brothers, who were also physicians, and two sisters, who operated the institution’s School of Nursing, established the Sanitarium as one of the most highly esteemed hospitals between St. Louis and Cincinnati. Successor to the Olney Sanitarium, Richland Memorial Hospital opened its doors on July 16, 1953. The total cost to build and equip the facility was well over $2 million. It was constructed with the aid of Hill-Burton funds and a bond issue by Richland County. Richland Memorial Hospital originally had 112 beds, as well as 14 newborn bassinets. The first administrator was Stuart A. Short, Sr., who had been the hospital consultant during the construction.
Until 1997, Richland Memorial Hospital was a county-owned hospital. After much discussion and recognizing the restrictions under which public hospitals are operated, the County Board and hospital officials decided it would be mutually beneficial for the hospital to break away as a separate, not-for-profit, 501 c (3) organization, which would become known as Richland Memorial Hospital, Inc. A separate, volunteer Board of Directors was established for the new corporation, made up of respected community leaders with diverse backgrounds and areas of knowledge. The County then entered into an Operating Lease Agreement with the newly formed Richland Memorial Hospital, Inc., thereby retaining ownership of the building but assigning operating control to the not-for-profit corporation.
In 2003, the Board of Directors of Richland Memorial Hospital, Inc. began discussions with the County Board about purchasing the building, so they could proceed with construction of a new Women’s Health Center. After several months of negotiations, complete ownership of the hospital was transferred to Richland Memorial Hospital, Inc. in January of 2005, allowing the Hospital Board to move forward with the $7 million expansion. Construction of the Women’s Health Center at Richland Memorial Hospital was completed in February of 2008. The Women’s Health Center includes state-of-the-art facilities for Obstetrics and Gynecology. It also includes a dedicated Women’s Imaging area for digital mammography, ultrasound and bone densitometry. Since construction of the Women’s Health Center, RMH has also opened a new Outpatient Rehabilitation Center on its campus.
Today, RMH is licensed at 135 beds and is accredited by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP). Our service area includes eight Southeastern Illinois counties with a total patient population of about 60,000. RMH offers a full range of services and is pleased to have a comprehensive array of physicians and specialists. The Medical Staff is supported by more than 450 employees working toward a common goal – the delivery of quality healthcare in an atmosphere of service excellence. Our doctors and employees are more than caregivers. They are friends and neighbors to our patients. Whether they are bringing a new life into the world, helping to save a life, or assisting patients along the road to recovery, the doctors and employees of Richland Memorial Hospital have, for nearly six decades, delivered care with the same core values of caring, trust, respect, competence and communication, which began more than a century ago with the Weber family.
In addition to providing quality healthcare, Richland Memorial Hospital prides itself on being a good neighbor. Throughout the year, we sponsor community wellness programs, free health screenings, and continuing education seminars for the medical community. We are also pleased to be a clinical training hub site for Southern Illinois University Physician Assistant students and an educational center for students of nursing, radiography, and numerous other health professions.
It’s comforting to know that when healthcare is needed, Richland Memorial Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility with an uncompromising dedication to excellence, is close at hand with the highest quality professional care.