Our origins go back to 1947, when the Community Hospital Association was formed to put together the resources necessary to build a hospital. From the start, the community was very supportive, and local citizens raised an initial $40,000. Ground breaking at the original hospital site on West Orchard Avenue was in April of 1948, but in January of 1949 the building funds were depleted and construction had to be discontinued.
It wasn’t until 1952 that Hermiston and the surrounding communities started to boom again because of the McNary Dam construction. The need for a new hospital continued to be uppermost in the minds of community leaders, and a new hospital building committee was formed.
The Federal Government agreed to provide $98,500 under Public Law 139, passed in 1951 to provide facilities for ‘critical defense housing areas,’ if the community could raise an equal amount in matching funds – which it did when 800 local donors pledged $100,000. Additional monies became available from the federal Hill-Burton Act. Government policy required a qualified sponsoring agency to assist in the operation of the hospital. Several agencies were approached, and the Portland-based Lutheran Welfare Association ultimately agreed to be the hospital sponsor. The 30-bed Good Shepherd Hospital on West Orchard Avenue at 7th Street began serving the community on March 5,1954, when Dr. Thomas Marks admitted the first patient. Michael Nathan Huddleston was the first baby born in the new hospital.
Within two years, the Lutheran Welfare Association felt a separate corporation could assume full control of the hospital and its operations, and they turned over the deed for the grounds and building to the new Good Shepherd Corporation. It is this corporation, governed by a twelve-member voluntary Board of Trustees, which has been responsible since 1956 for the hospital’s continued growth and success.
Good Shepherd shares its heritage with the former Umatilla Community Hospital. The original building in Umatilla was owned by a Dr. Wilder, and was sold in the 1950’s to the Umatilla Hospital District, formed at that time to acquire and upgrade the facility through tax money. In 1955, a recent OHSU graduate, Dr. Marvin John, was recruited to staff the 14-bed hospital; he practiced there until the hospital closed in 1982, after consolidating with Good Shepherd. In 1983, the Board of Trustees voted to change the Good Shepherd Hospital name to Good Shepherd Community Hospital to acknowledge the combined history.
As area population grew and medical science began to include more sophisticated tools for diagnosis and treatment, it became obvious that the West Orchard Avenue building had outlived its usefulness. Despite major renovations in 1963 and 1970 that increased the hospital’s capacity to 40 and then to 56 beds, the need for more room and for a facility capable of making the best use of modern medical technology was too pressing to ignore.
The Corporation’s efforts to create that new facility began with a successful community fund raising effort, which contributed over $600,000. Groundbreaking at the hospital’s current site at 11th and Elm occurred in May 1984 and reached fruition in December of 1985, when the first patients were transferred from the old building.
Even before the completion of the new facilities in 1985, the Board of Trustees was conducting assessment of need and preliminary planning for a medical clinic adjacent to the hospital. The Good Shepherd Medical Clinic was completed in September of 1988. It added four professional suites, a home care & medical equipment store, health & medical education center, and an expanded Physical Therapy Department, while also providing both patients and doctors convenient access to all the support services of the hospital. Also added were a board meeting room and 2 conference centers.
1989 was a busy year. TLC, a locally owned home nursing service, was acquired, combined with Good Shepherd’s medical equipment and home oxygen services, and relocated to the clinic wing. The hospital initiated a remodeling project that doubled the size of the emergency room when completed in 1992.
In December of 1990, a second addition to the Good Shepherd Medical Clinic was completed. This provided an additional six professional suites, which were instrumental in attracting new physicians to the community.
In April of 1992, Good Shepherd Community Hospital completed a 3,000 square foot addition and major remodeling of the E.R., front lobby, and waiting areas.
A third addition to the Clinic on the west side of the campus in 1995 added a new area for Physical Therapy and additional physician offices for up to 16 physicians. This latter area now houses the Good Shepherd Medical Group, a multi-specialty group practice of 11 physicians and nurse practitioners who provide internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, urgent care, general surgery, urology and pain management.
In April 2000 Good Shepherd Community Hospital changed its name to Good Shepherd Health Care System to better reflect the growing diversity of the corporation. The health care system includes: Good Shepherd Medical Center, Good Shepherd Home Health, Good Shepherd Medical Group, Good Shepherd Retail Pharmacy, Vange John Memorial Hospice, Good Shepherd Medical Service Corp, Good Shepherd Medical Foundation and the Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation. The latter was established to enhance the quality of life and general health of residents living in the west Umatilla and Morrow County communities. Since its founding in 1995, it has made grants totaling over $650,000 to 77 community organizations.
2000 also saw the completion of a three-story north expansion of the Medical Center. Housed in this area are an expanded OB/Family care center, Day Surgery department, Administrative and clerical offices and Medical Records. In 2001 additional space was added to the back of the Medical Center to accommodate “over-pressurization” of the building and additional conference centers, linen and maintenance areas.
From early 2006 to early 2010, Good Shepherd embarked on a series of expansion and renovation projects involving our diagnostic imaging, laboratory, Nutrition Services, and emergency departments. This period also saw the construction of the Good Shepherd Medical Plaza, a separate building for physician and Good Shepherd program offices at the north end of our campus.