HDH celebrating ‘Century of Progress’

By Gary Abernathy gabernathy@civitasmedia.com

April 17, 2014

Highland District Hospital is celebrating 100 years of providing healthcare this year, and an open house on May 3 will recognize HDH’s “century of progress,” according to hospital officials.

The Saturday afternoon event from 1-4 p.m. will feature hospital tours, history displays, an opportunity to meet current and retired staff, and hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.

The local hospital actually had its genesis in 1911, when a “handful of physicians caring for patients throughout Highland County got together to strategize,” according to information about the hospital written by local historian Jean Wallis and found in a pictorial history of Highland County published by the Highland County Historical Society in 2004.

“To set the wheels of progress in motion, they pooled resources and formed a stock company for the purpose of establishing a hospital,” according to the history. “Community response and support were immediate, and by 1912, the 17-room Bowers Home on Chillicothe Avenue was purchased.”

But it wasn’t until 1914 that the Physicians’ Stock Company was converted into a nonprofit corporation, and “the Bowers home was transformed into a 35-bed hospital. Here, illnesses such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, rabies or influenza were treated and surgeries performed.”

By the 1950s, overcrowding and new code requirements necessitated a larger, more modern facility, and the organizational structure was changed to a joint township district hospital, overseen by a board of governors. The new Highland District Hospital was built and opened at its current location on May 6, 1962, with 58 employees and 22 members of the medical staff.

The original two-story structure was soon deemed insufficient, and a third story was added in the 1970s, followed by a new wing to accommodate the growing need for services such as oncology, endoscopy and senior behavioral services.

Today, HDH serves as a critical access designated, 25-bed acute care facility employing more than 340 people, who are assisted by about 70 community volunteers. The medical staff consists of 60 physicians, 98 percent of whom are board certified, representing 23 specialties and subspecialties, according to information provided by the hospital.

To this day, HDH is still a township hospital operated by a board of governors appointed by township trustees, who recently voted down a proposal to convert the hospital to a private nonprofit organization.

The hospital is located at 1275 N. High Street in Hillsboro. For more information about the May 3 open house, call 937-393-6100, or visit the HDH website at www.hdh.org.