Van Diest Medical Center has been the premier healthcare facility in Hamilton County, IA, for over 100 years. The original structure was constructed just east of the present building, and opened its doors to the public in 1903. After a brief operational interruption, St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital of Dubuque and the Sisters of Mercy took over the facility. In 1927, the Sisters of Mercy threatened to abandon the building unless a new and modern structure was built. Because no action was taken, the sisters abandoned the hospital and it was torn down in 1930.
Just one year later, the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors ordered an election on a $100,000 bond issue to build a hospital to be constructed by the county. The bond issue passed and the county named the first hospital board. The new hospital would be constructed to care for 28 patients. This countywide effort resulted in the hospital becoming Hamilton County Public Hospital. The new building was constructed on a 3-acre tract, just west of the original building.
In the 1950s, the hospital averaged 42 patients and had even accommodated up to 50 at a time. It was time again to ask the community to help with a building expansion. With the community and federal funds the new wing was constructed. It housed patient rooms, a new kitchen, laundry and storage space.
In March 1977, the county broke ground on another expansion for an ancillary wing. This area would house Radiology, Lab and Emergency Services. At this same time the Hamilton County Hospital Auxiliary was formed. Since its beginning year, the Auxiliary members have worked to contribute equipment and other needed items to the hospital that may not normally be in the hospitals budget. They have contributed to the purchase of isolate units for the nursery, a fetal heart monitor, new furniture for the lobby of the hospital and family room. In 1980, the hospital gift shop was remodeled by the Auxiliary, and continues to be staffed by volunteers.
In 1989, the hospital completed the ambulance garage and expanded the radiology department. This expansion included the CT scanner suite, mammography suite, and ultrasound suite. In May 1989, the hospital broke ground for a new three-story addition. This addition included a receiving dock, engineering shop, and space for a pharmacy on the ground level. It added surgical services to the first floor, and 20 private rooms with private bathrooms on the second floor. A new nurse's station was constructed to tie the 1950s addition together with the new 1989 addition.
Through a marketing consulting firm out of Chicago, we worked on trying to give ourselves an updated, more modern image. We wanted the public to know that we have experts right here at our hospital, whether they are physicians, nursing staff or other clinical staff. They recommended the name change to Hamilton Hospital, to which the Board agreed. The name change was implemented in 1997. Legally we are known as Hamilton County Public Hospital
Our funding comes from the revenue we generate plus the county tax money that we are allowed to request each year. Tax moneys are a small part of our revenue as the hospital generates about 14.3 million dollars in net revenue per year.
Today the hospital, located in Webster City, IA, is licensed for 25 patient beds, employs approximately 225 people and is certified by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals as a Critical Access hospital. The Hospital Laboratory is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare organizations (JCAHO). The hospital continues to grow and change, we strive to remain a constant caring organization meeting the Healthcare needs of those we serve. In October 2003, the hospital opened a provider based clinic in Jewell, Iowa. The Stratford Clinic opened in September 2011, and the Dayton Clinic opened in July 2013.
With the completion of a new replacement facility project in 2010, our hospital opened as Van Diest Medical Center in a new location at 2350 Hospital Drive. The new state-of-the-art hospital offers the latest technology and advances in medical care. Our staff is committed to providing the highest quality care to patients, and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for our families and communities throughout central Iowa.