Hospital Celebrates 50th Anniversary


Scotland County Hospital is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Scotland County Hospital (SCH) is a not-for-profit district hospital in operation since 1970, designated as a Critical Access Hospital in Memphis, Missouri. Since 1997 SCH has established four (4) hospital-based rural health clinics in Scotland, Clark, Knox and Schuyler Counties in order to stabilize healthcare delivery providers. SCH has continually demonstrated a deep commitment to this rural & remote geographic area it serves, in which the hospital is the only hospital in a four (4) county area of extreme Northeast Missouri. Scotland County Hospital’s mission is “to improve the healthcare of our communities with services close to home”. To build on that mission and make the hospital even stronger, Scotland County Hospital recently signed an affiliation management agreement with Blessing Health System in Quincy, Illinois, as a partner in this mission.


Some of the earliest newspaper reports of a possible nursing home and hospital in Scotland County are documented back to 1965. With a steering committee formed and many volunteer citizens to move this dream forward, the committee determined a nursing home and a hospital would meet a need in the area.


On August 30, 1966, Scotland County voters approved a special bond issue to help construct a 30-bed hospital facility and a 47-bed nursing home facility. Several early volunteers helped collect signatures on a petition to establish the hospital and nursing home. Missouri legislation, at the time, would not allow a nursing home to be built that had an adjoining wall to a hospital. Many local Scotland County citizens lobbied legislators in Jefferson City to change the laws to allow this type of construction. At that time, Scotland County Memorial Hospital directly connected to Scotland County Nursing Home was a one-of-a-kind facility in Missouri. A newspaper article form The Memphis Democrat, dated Thursday, September 1, 1966, just days after the bond issue passed, read like this: The Hospital and Nursing Home project has proven to all of us that we are realizing our needs, not only for medical facilities, but for progress. Many communities have, or are in the process of trying to build hospitals and nursing homes, but to our knowledge Scotland County is the first in the state to attempt to vote bonds for a Hospital and a nursing home combination. It can be done and we are pioneering this effort. The eyes of 113 counties in Missouri are upon us. Later in June 1968, The Memphis Democrat reported that an additional bond issue will be on the Tuesday, September 17th ballot in order to have the additional local funding necessary to receive the federal government's Hill-Harris monies, and pledges of cash were still needed by all Scotland County residents. All of these deadlines were met and construction began. The Scotland County Nursing Home opened its doors on July 6, 1970, while the Scotland County Memorial Hospital opened its doors on Monday, July 20, 1970. 


The operation of Scotland County Hospital is well into its 5th decade. In 1970 the governing board of directors consisted of Glen Myers (chairman), Clare Morgan (vice present), Hollis Boyer, Leon Cowell, Paul Drummond, and P.C. Hinds. The Administrator was Gale Robertson, and the Ladies Auxiliary listed Beverly Daggs (president), Helen Cone (vice president), Marilyn Kittle (secretary), and Jean Crawford (treasurer).


At 8 am on July 20, 1970, SCH opened its doors with two patients admitted. The first baby arrived the following day. The baby girl was born to Mr. & Mrs. Kent DaVolt, arriving at 9:42 am, Tuesday, July 21, 1970. The hospital’s first set of twins were born to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Azinger of Memphis, on March 26, 1971.

During the grand opening in July of 1970 there were over 3,000 in attendance according to local news stories. Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 50th Anniversary celebration looks very different than originally planned this year. The community is invited to drive through the south parking lot, near the Main/ER South Entrance on Thursday, July 2, 2020, and enjoy free hotdogs, lemon shake-ups and kettle corn, while remaining in their cars and visiting with staff from 12 noon - 6 pm. Tune in to KMEM FM 100.5 radio at 10 am for a special 50th Anniversary show with the hosts of Healthy U Radio Show. Tune in again from 12 - 1 pm and 5 - 6 pm to KMEM as they will be conducting live remotes from the south parking lot with staff, former staff, board members and former board members.

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