Saturday, February 21 marks the 60th Anniversary of Rooks County Health Center (RCH). Originally opened as Plainville Rural Hospital at 304 S. Colorado Street, the name was changed in 2003 to Rooks County Health Center and a new facility opened September 2008 at its present location 1210 N. Washington Street.
According to articles in the Plainville Times from February 1955, the original hospital opened after two years hard work and cost $275,000. Bill Brickley was the Administrator and Medical Technologist for 36 years. Dr. E. C. Petterson, the only physician serving the area prior to the hospital construction, helped recruit Dr. A .M. Pederson and Dr. Vale Page to the county. On opening day, the medical staff consisted of Chief of Staff, Dr. Petterson, Dr. Pederson, Dr. Page and two dentists, Robert Andreson, D.D.S. and Arvin Rueger, D.D.S. A few months later, Harold Mauck, M.D., William Votapka, M.D., George Hopson, M.D., all of Stockton, joined the medical staff of the hospital.
Year-round celebrations for the 60th Anniversary are under way beginning with the annual Rooks County Health Center Health Fair slated for April 25 at the Stockton High School Gymnasium.
“This year’s health fair will pay homage to all those who helped bring the latest in health care to Rooks County and also present an opportunity to see what RCH has in store for the next generation,” stated Kandie Morain, Communications & Development Assistant.
Having outgrown the original campus, RCH’s new facility experienced tremendous growth within its first five years, lab tests were up 34%, diagnostic imaging was up 52% and inpatient and outpatient services increased nearly 300%. With last year’s addition of a second ultrasound machine, a new CT scanner and soon an in-house MRI machine, these numbers are expected to experience another climb according to Morain.
RCH’s popular walk-in clinic, Doctors Without Delay, is credited for increasing patient visits over 630% since opening. Nearly 40% of these visitors travel to RCH from outside Rooks County. 2014 was another record setting year for the clinic.
“Patients enjoy the convenience of having immediate access to a clinic and should they need further tests or their condition merits emergency intervention, there is not extra travel, they literally cross the lobby and have access to a full state-of-the-art hospital,” explained Morain. “This convenience along with RCH’s family style of care endears patients to Rooks County Health Center.”
According to the Denver Post, almost 50 rural hospitals have closed since the beginning of 2010 with over half of those just in the last two years. “We feel so much compassion for these rural communities and it makes what we are doing here at RCH to keep moving forward that much more important,” said Morain.