The facility now known as the Phillips County Hospital originally consisted of 18 beds and was built in 1953 at a cost of approximately $225,000. The Phillips County Hospital was dedicated on July 26, 1953 at the high school athletic stadium in what was described as an “impressive ceremony.” Phillips County Hospital began its affiliation with Great Plains Lutheran Health and Hospital Association (later known as Great Plains Health Alliance) from the beginning.
Nearly 1,200 individuals contributed money to the new hospital, including area organizations and interested persons from all parts of the county. The hospital owned 20 adult beds, two children cribs, 8 bassinets, and one baby incubator. Seven patients from the area were admitted on August 1. In 1953 the building was approximately 7,000 square feet in size, and the first full year of operation, staff performed 130 x-rays, 1,728 lab procedures, and 415 outpatient procedures. There were 2,270 inpatient days and 122 babies born. The first patients paid approximately $17.54 per day, with the census average being 9 patients per day. There were 17 employees with a monthly payroll of $2,238.27.
The original hospital had no air conditioning and the steam heat was controlled from the boiler room, meaning it was either on or off.
Even in those days quality health care was a team effort. The first x-ray technician not only took x-rays and did lab procedures, but also worked the front desk, medical records, and even cooked when needed. When the hospital was built, Dr. Mary Glassen had just opened a “fine new medical clinic,” designed to accommodate a total of four physicians and a dentist.
In 1956, voters approved the county ownership of the facility. Great Plains Lutheran Hospital had recently leased the hospital and was in charge of management. Dr. Tom Taylor had joined Dr. Mary in her clinic. Dr’s. Verlyn Steinkruger and R.M. Koza opened their own clinic in 1954 and continued to admit patients to the hospital. Soon afterward, Dr. George Osborne, Surgeon, joined these physicians and they purchased the clinic from Dr. Mary in 1957.
In 1959 a grant from the Ford Foundation was received, which placed an air conditioner and individual heat controls in each room. This allowed patients and staff the luxury of regulating the room temperature.
In 1961, 62 patients were admitted. Early in 1962, 85 patients had already been admitted to hall beds, due to overcrowding. Thus in 1962, the facility’s first remodeling project took place, adding 11 more beds, and doubling the size in square feet. The cost of that project was $248,929 and included the whole northeast section which now houses emergency room, lab, and x-ray departments. At that time, this was also the location of the business office. The kitchen was expanded and modernized, the nurse’s station enlarged, and more equipment was added. Plans called for a change from steam to hot water heat, and had to be completed before winter weather set in. They also added piped in oxygen, a time clock and a second phone line.
The 33 bed Long Term Care Unit was added in 1969 with a construction cost of $500,000. Features of the modern brick building were the hot water heat, the chilled water-cooling system and an emergency warning system on doorways to alert staff when someone entered or exited the building. The initial staff of the LTC included 9 employees. An R.N from the hospital side made regular rounds, with a nurse aide/ supervisor and other nurse aides performing the duties assigned.
In the Hospital, the year 1970 saw the introduction of cardiac monitors and defibrillator, a radio/paging system for physicians or hospital personnel on-call and a third phone line!
In 1978, the 25th anniversary for the hospital, there was an average of 16 patients per day. There were 5,195 x-rays taken and 65,000 inpatient and outpatient procedures performed. There were 61 babies born, bringing the total number of births to 2,252 in a 25 year period. The room cost per day was around $152.66.
March 1982 was reported by the Phillips County Review to have been the busiest month on record. Occupancy was 93.6% that month, with an average of 27 patients per day and 127 admissions overall.
In 1983, the hospital celebrated 30 years, and was proud once again, to undergo a major remodeling/expansion project. The newly completed facility now contained 27,393 square feet. This project added new space for physical and respiratory therapy, lab, x-ray, business office, lobby, medical records, surgical, and obstetrical suite, labor room, isolation room, recovery room, expansion of mechanical and administrative areas, hospital auxiliary gift shop, a front entrance, and an elevator. There were 155 employees that year with a payroll of $124,501.69 in the month of July. X-ray procedures in 1983 were at 10,713, lab procedures 119,404; inpatient days 7,876 and outpatient procedures were 5,292, and 131 babies were born.
There have been a few more changes recently with PCMC moving to its current location fall of 2005. LTC was closed in 2009. Rehab moved to it current location in 2009. New outpatient area for specialty clinics was opened in fall of 2009.
In 2017, Phillips County Health Systems (PCHS) in Phillipsburg, KS was named a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital (CAH) by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). Top 20 performing CAHs were identified through the Hospital Strength INDEX, designed to provide a comprehensive, objective and straightforward method for comparing hospital performance. It is the first nationwide hospital rating system to evaluate U.S. rural and CAHs based upon market, value-based and stability measures. The ratings are based upon publicly available data across nine measures of strength including: inpatient and outpatient market share, population risk, cost, charge/value, care quality, patient outcomes, patient perspectives, and stability.
With more than 1,300 rural hospitals nationwide, this prestigious designation for Phillips County Health Systems reflects their excellence in the forms of high quality, efficiencies, safety, and patient satisfaction. Awards were also provided to hospitals that excelled in just select criteria sectors but PCHS was recognized and awarded for their high performance across all metrics.