Trinity History | Fort Dodge, Iowa
UnityPoint Health - Fort Dodge

History that Spans 100 years

With a history that spans 100 years, hospital care in Fort Dodge owes its vitality to those of every generation who developed a vision that would establish an institution and its community as the standard bearers for healthcare in northwest Iowa. The complexion of Trinity Regional Medical Center today - its posture, prestige and presence - has been evolving since those first days of the new century when a group of nurses were instrumental in establishing hospital care in Fort Dodge in 1900.

 
 

1900: Haskell House

In 1894, a group of nurses acquired a sturdy brick Victorian mansion at the corner of first Avenue North and Fifth Street and established an 18 bed hospital that became known as the Haskell House.

1909: Mercy

Early in the hospital's existence individuals in the community recognized that the 18-bed facility was not adequate for meeting the needs of a bustling, growing city. Ultimately, it was a typhoid epidemic in 1907 that spurred the planning for a larger hospital, and on March 9, 1909, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital opened its doors.

1924: Lutheran

By 1920, the population of Fort Dodge had soared to 20,000, but there were only 60 hospital beds serving the growing community, far short of the 300 beds considered necessary by the standards of that period. With a commitment to meet the growing health care needs of the community, a group of Lutheran churches in the area formed a Lutheran Hospital Association and decided to organize the funding for a second hospital. By the spring of 1924, the present site of Trinity Regional Medical Center was chosen and plans for construction began.

Before a crowd of 8,000, Rev. T. B. Thorson, Thor, president of the Lutheran Hospital association, laid the cornerstone on on November 2, 1924. 

Though the initial funding efforts were successful, construction progress met with frequent delays, due to unanticipated funding shortages.

After a decade of determination, planning and fund-raising, Lutheran Hospital opened its doors and admitted its first patient on February 24, 1932.

1939: Nurses Home

While Lutheran did not have a nursing school, they did have a nurse's home built in 1939. It later became attached to the main hospital in 1949.

In the 1940s, nurses were paid $55 per month, plus a private room, three meals a day and laundered uniforms. Prior to that, nurses were not paid anything, but did receive free room and board.

While Iowa still did not have an EMT program, Lutheran was forming an ambulance department. The City Ambulance service was community-wide, 24-hours a day in 1957. City Ambulance service was referred to as "the finest kind of transportation to the sick and the injured."

1960 - 1999: Trinity Regional Hospital

In the late 1960s, visionary leadership from both Mercy Hospital and Lutheran Hospital and the community formed a Citizens Hospital Committee to study the need to consolidate services and conserve health care resources. In June of 1973, the decision was made to merge the two hospitals into one organization, and name the new organization Trinity Regional Hospital. Following the merger in 1974, all patient care was transferred to Trinity West, the current location of Trinity Regional Medical Center. The consolidation of all operations to one facility eliminated the duplication of services and equipment and enabled Trinity Regional Hospital to provide a higher level of care to citizens of Fort Dodge and surrounding communities.

The concern for the growing health care needs of the community and region prompted the Trinity Board of Directors to consider the development of a building program. In February of 1980, a new $15 million addition was opened. The new addition included a new four story patient bed tower and new space for the emergency, radiology, laboratory, surgery and critical care departments.

Mental Health Services Come to the Fort Dodge Area

In 1968, the doors of the first mental health center opened for the counties of Webster, Calhoun, Humboldt and Pocahontas in Fort Dodge. The outpatient center's opening coincided with Lutheran Hospital opening an inpatient psychiatric unit. Dr. L.K. Berryhill acted as the first medical director for the outpatient facility. His goal was to provide individuals with chronic mental illness the help they needed to live a fuller, healthy life and to hopefully keep them from hospitalization.

In 1990, the Berryhill Center for Mental Health was built just up the hill from the hospital bearing the name of the beloved doctor. The new outpatient center would offer services to an expanding eight county region from when mental health services were first offered in Fort Dodge.

Highland Park Center

In 1991, Trinity Regional Hospital purchased an abandoned elementary school in the Highland Park neighborhood in Fort Dodge, and through renovation was able to transform the school building into a state-of-the art rehabilitation facility. Highland Park Center became Trinity's first off-campus outpatient clinic and quickly developed into a "Center of Excellence," providing comprehensive physical, occupational and speech therapy services as well as sports medicine and other rehabilitative services.

Partnership with Iowa Heart Center, P.C.

In 1997, Trinity developed a new partnership with a highly reputable cardiology physician group from Des Moines -- Iowa Heart Center, P.C. This partnership brought new cardiologists to Fort Dodge and promulgated a plan for the development of a cardiology center. In 1999, Trinity began building a new heart center that would include two heart catheterization labs and a surgical suite. In April 2000 the first Cardiac Catheterization Lab was opened with the surgical component opening in June of the same year.

A Partnership Established

On January 1, 1999 Trinity became a senior affiliate of Iowa Health System. The Board of Directors of Trinity Health Systems strongly endorsed the change based on the IHS commitment to make capital available for future growth, provide leadership and support for information systems and technology, and offer opportunities to consolidate purchasing and other administrative functions for improved efficiencies. The affiliation, while not a legal merger, allowed Trinity Regional Hospital to retain ownership of currently held assets and remain a separate non-profit corporation under Iowa law.

1999 - 2012: Trinity Regional Medical Center

At the request of the medical staff, in 1999 the Board agreed to change the name of Trinity Regional Hospital to Trinity Regional Medical Center, to reflect the organizations broader scope of services in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Welcome Trimark Physicians Group

With a vision for transforming Trinity into a regional center for health care services in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the hospital recognized that growing the physician base and scope of medical specialties would be critical. By sharing resources and expertise, the hospital began partnering with local physician groups. These partnerships spawned the development of a local and regional physician network that would consolidate overhead and provide administrative support while strengthening the capacity to attract qualified physician specialists and sub-specialists to Fort Dodge. Rural physicians in the region welcomed the concept of a unified physician network, which led to the beginning of a new physician network called Physician Practice Management Corporation (PPMC), later to be renamed Trimark Physicians Group.

Cancer Care Provided

In 2003, with the goal of bringing quality health care to people with cancer, Trinity Regional Medical Center opened the Trinity Cancer Center and was recognized as an approved cancer program through the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). As a CoC approved program, the Trinity Cancer Center provides patients with state-of-the-art cancer care in a healing and family-centered environment.

 

The Realization of a Dream

October 2012, after waiting more than two decades, Trinity Regional Medical Center opened its new Cancer Center, offering comprehensive care to cancer patients, including radiation therapy. With the addition of radiation therapy, patients no longer would have to travel and are able receive all their treatments in one convenient location.

The new center was made possible with the outpouring generosity of the community. Lead by the Trinity Health Foundation's Every Option, Every Hope capital campaign, the community raised over five million dollars.

Paula J. Baber Hospice Home 

In November of 2008, the Paula J. Baber Hospice Home was opened to serve individuals with life-limiting illness. The hospice home was made possible through the generous donations given by employees of Trinity Regional Medical Center and Trimark Physicians Group, the residents of Fort Dodge, surrounding communities, and the family of Paula J. Baber.

A New Front Door & Surgery Center

The need to expand to accomplish future growth and to enhance patient comfort and convenience were the driving forces behind the Board's decision in 2006 to invest $32 million in a new building addition. In November of 2008, Trinity Regional Medical Center opened the doors to its new "front door," an 80,000 square foot addition that is home to a new ambulatory surgery center, several outpatient services, a new obstetrics unit and conference center. This impressive structure has provided Trinity Regional Medical Center the opportunity to reorganize outpatient services in a way that enhances operational efficiency and improves patient satisfaction, and by doing so, has positioned itself to meet future health care needs.

On February 24, 1932, Lutheran Hospital opened its doors in readiness to serve 25 patients. As the doors opened the dedication of all became active reality in the expression: . . . "we serve, Christ heals." Today the original cornerstone sits prominently in the front entrance of Trinity Regional Medical Center. 


The point of unity is you.

On April 16, 2013, Trinity Health Systems' affiliate partner Iowa Health System change their name to UnityPoint Health. The change of name signified a new way of providing coordinated care that centers around the patient. It also allowed the Iowa based organization to reach outside of its boarders to include quality hospitals from neighboring states. UnityPoint Health provides care across Iowa and Illinois in 8 large geographic regions.

The name change also affected Trimark Physicians Group, which was renamed to UnityPoint Clinic.  As well as Home Care, now UnityPoint at Home.