By Prowers Medical Center staff
In 1968, the cost of gasoline was 34 cents per gallon. The Beatles recorded “Hey Jude” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” was at the top of the Box Office. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated. That year, Intel, Calvin Klein and Red Lobster started their businesses. Another memorable event was the start of Prowers Medical Center. Some of the items mentioned are not relevant today, but Prowers Medical Center is not only relevant, it’s significantly more successful than ever.
In 1968, the community came together to save the hospital, which was facing closure due to lack of funding. The Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception had operated the hospital from 1946 to 1967, but had run into financial difficulties. Rather than letting the hospital close, the community rallied and formed a hospital district to take over the hospital. Not only did the district keep the hospital alive, but it expanded services through the years and built a new building in 1978 at the current location on Kendall Drive. The Prowers County Hospital District delivered high quality healthcare then and still does today. The medical center honors its original roots as the Charles Maxwell Hospital, a privately funded 40-room facility at 1001 South Main Street, erected in 1928.
Prowers Medical Center celebrated 50 years of providing healthcare services to the community at the Foundation’s Golden Jubilee event on Friday, May 11th. It was quite an event, with hundreds of attendees and several sponsors enjoying a historic presentation about hospitals and healthcare in Prowers County by Lamar’s own Russ Baldwin, mingling and a delicious dinner of prime rib sliders, vegetable and cheese platters, dipped fruits and freshly made desserts.
Prowers Medical Center is a rare success among like-sized hospitals, many of whom have been forced to close or sell to larger health systems in recent years. Since 2010, eighty-two rural hospitals across the country have closed. Against formidable odds, the hospital district has endured and continues to serve our community. But the real measure of Prowers Medical Center’s achievements is in its ability to provide complete, compassionate care to friends and neighbors.
Major accomplishments in the last 25 years include a new addition for lab, imaging, emergency department, admissions and administration offices in 1992, and the addition of home health and mammography services in the mid-90s. In 2001, Prowers Medical Center provided land to allow High Plains the ability to build a new clinic; in 2004 the medical center received designation as a Critical Access Hospital; and in 2005, a new patient care wing was built complete with private rooms, a chapel, healing garden, gift shop and new front entrance areas. In the 2000s, Prowers Medical Center Clinic expanded to provide early morning and early evening hours to meet the needs of patients and established women’s health services. A couple years later, the hospital introduced outpatient pulmonary and cardiac rehab programs. Most recently (2015) a large expansion was completed with state-of-the-art operating rooms, expanded emergency department, new gymnasium and an enhanced materials management space. The hospital continues to expand its services and its community outreach to this day.
If you’d like to support the hospital just as its founders did in years past, join the Foundation’s next fundraising campaign called “Seeing More Clearly.” It focuses on raising additional funds for the initial purchase of upgraded diagnostic imaging equipment and related construction costs to bring the hospital’s MRI into a permanent structure. If you are interested in supporting the Foundation’s mission, please contact them at (719) 336-7065 or email@example.com.
Prowers Medical Center gives a heartfelt thank you to those who sponsored the Golden Jubilee. The main event sponsor was CPR Anesthesia, and Gold sponsors included KVAY, Esgar Foundation and Legacy Bank. Silver sponsors included rfarmer, llc, Lamar Area Hospice, Lamar Rotary, Community State Bank, Banner and Bower, P.C., Brase Insurance Agency, City of Lamar, Jim and Carrie Smith, and the Prowers Medical Center Auxiliary in honor of Vivian Ply. George and Mae Gotto served as wine sponsors for the event. The event would not have been such a success without their support.