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HISTORY OF FALLON MEDICAL COMPLEX

Medical care in the Baker area began in 1909 with the arrival of a physician and a dentist, and the establishment of the Elizabeth Hospital in 1910.  Later, the Lang house became a Hospital and another physician opened his practice in the Hildreth house on First Street East.

The 1950's saw numerous changes in Baker’s medical care.  With community support, donations, and county and federal funds, Fallon Memorial Hospital opened itsdoors in March 1953 under the management of Lutheran Homes, which continued until June 1956.  At that time, the community once again came to the hospital’s aid and in October 1956, the Fallon County Hospital Association was incorporated and a governing board of 12 community members was put into place.

In 1966, Fallon Memorial Nursing Home and Extended Care Facility opened.  In early 1969, a drive was started to establish a Coronary Care and Intensive Care (CCU/ICU) Unit.  Once again, with assistance from the county and the community, this unit was opened in March 1971.

In 1985, Home Health received its Certificate of Need for Fallon County, and by October 1987 was licensed and certified to provide Home Care services.  The Community Clinic was acquired by Fallon County from private owners in that year, and shortly thereafter the 12-unit one and two bedroom Parkview Retirement Complex was constructed adjacent to the Hospital.

A construction project to upgrade the laboratory, add a birthing room, renovate some of the existing hospital andnursing home rooms, and add eight nursing home beds began in January of 1990 and was completed 18 months later, in mid-1991.

About the same time, in July, 1991, a private, non-profit corporation, Fallon Medical Complex, Inc., was created to combine all of the various healthcare entities into one unified organization.  With the creation of this non-profit healthcare corporation, the Fallon County Commissioners relinquished control of the organization to a Board of Trustees, consisting of seven members of the community, and their appointed Chief Executive Officer.

Less than two years later, a new wing had been added to the complex, consolidating the Community Clinic and outpatient facilities, updating the radiology and lab departments, and establishing a formalized chemotherapy area and a dental office.  Concurrent with this project, a new surgical suite was built in the old lab space to accommodate FMC’s foray into a full-time surgical program, which thrived until 1994, when it was scaled back to an outpatient-only service.

In mid-1993, FMC opened a satellite clinic in Wibaux, MT.  Located on Main Street, the clinic was a main-stay of the community until March 2008 when it was relocated to a new building constructed for the community by Wibaux County, adjacent to the Wibaux County Nursing Home.

Also in 1993, Home Health obtained its Certificate of Need for Carter County.  Two years later, a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program was started as a part of Home Health's services.  In July 1996, Home Health combined with Fallon County Public Health Department to form Community Health Services, which offered a collaborative model for delivering community-based health services for a number of years.

Towards the end of 1995, Fallon Medical Complex (FMC) became a telemedicine network site along with four other Eastern Montana facilities and Deaconess Billings Clinic.  At that time, there were fewer than ten such networks established nationwide.  The Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network has since grown by 21 other sites across 15 Eastern Montana counties.

FMC’s hospital was completely renovated in 1997.  This renovation updated all of the patient rooms and nursing areas, which had not changed significantly since they were first built in 1953.  The next major renovation of the hospital was completed ten years later, when the emergency room was relocated to the previous CCU/ICU area.

By early 2000, FMC was able to offer full-time physical therapy and part-time occupational therapy services to the community.  As its services continued to gain popularity, a second physical therapist was added in the spring of 2008.

On July 1, 2001 Fallon Memorial Hospital became licensed as a federally designated Critical Access Hospital (CAH), which provides favorable reimbursement to remote, rural acute care hospitals.  FMC now offers 25 acute care and swing beds and 27 skilled nursing home beds following further expansion of the CAH on July 1, 2005 through the conversion of nursing home beds to CAH beds.

Through a generous donation by Jim O’Connell, a local rancher who passed away in 2001, FMC was able to create and fund its “Friends of FMC Foundation.”  The Foundation has since thrived through the generous donations from community citizens and businesses, as well as its annual community events, such as the “Lights of Life” event in the spring, the “Mammo-Whammo Golf Tournament” in the summer, and the “Fantasy Food Fair” in the winter. Most of the proceeds from donations and events have been used to build equity, but the Foundation has also offered a healthcare career scholarship to students in the area each year since 2005.

The Diagnostic Imaging department made a significant leap into computer-based imaging with the purchase of a Computerized Tomography (CT) unit in late 1998, which was later updated to a “spiral” CT in mid-2004.  Similarly, as ultrasound imaging moved beyond obstetrics, FMC purchased a state-of-the-art portable ultrasound in 2002 which was updated to a color-Doppler unit three years later.

In December 2000 FMC was asked to become a part of a teleradiology network along with other members of the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network.  Since that time, images have been routinely sent electronically to radiologists in other Montana and North Dakota communities, saving time and expense.  Following the installation of a computerized radiography (CR) system in the summer of 2008, and the replacement of an older mammography machine and x-ray machine, the Diagnostic Imaging department was able to effectively “go filmless.”

As Baker approached its 100th anniversary of medical care first arriving in the community, FMC participated in its most ambitious project to date: a new addition that tied the east end of FMC’s nursing home to the south door of Parkview Retirement Complex.  The project, completed in the spring of 2008, included the construction of 12 additional two-bedroom apartments for the Parkview Retirement Complex, a new building for the Fallon County Public Health Department, and a new kitchen and dining area for FMC.

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS