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In 1917, Dr. Jacob T. Bowman opened a private hospital on West Main Street in the duplex residence known as the Jack Philip’s property. The first floor served as an office and Dr. Bowman’s residence. Three rooms on the second floor were devoted to patient care. Recognizing the need for more space, Dr. Bowman purchased the John R. Scott residence on South Center Avenue plus the Sanner residence in the rear and converted them into a 15-bed private hospital.
The financial problems, which beset this venture, crystallized efforts for a community hospital. Reverend I. Hess Wagner, president of the Chamber of Commerce, called a meeting of concerned citizens to discuss measures to raise $40,000 to purchase the Bowman holdings and remodel them as a hospital. A steering committee was appointed to propose ways to raise the money. F. W. Cunningham, who served as the hospital’s first board president, was among these founding fathers.
On January 31, 1921, the Bowman title was transferred, a charter recorded and Somerset had its community hospital. The purchase price of the Bowman Hospital was $25,000 and an additional $10,000 was spent to remodel the hospital, making necessary improvements.
Major expansions of the facility followed in:
1939 East Church Street Wing
1952 South Center Avenue Wing and fourth story added to main building
1955 A two-story addition
1959 Fourth floor central addition
1973 Fourth floor north wing addition
1984 Emergency Room expansion
1988 East Wing added
1994 Fourth floor added to East Wing plus a new Emergency Department and Helipad
1998 New Same Day Services facility opened on the East Wing
1999 A permanent MRI center opens
2004 The new Outpatient Services Annex Opens
2008 The Wheeler Family Medical Center Opens
2009 In Touch Hospice House opens
The number of patients in 1927 totaled 476. That number increased to 1,520 in 1936. Today, Somerset Hospital is a 118 licensed-bed hospital which cares for about 3,900 inpatients, more than 140,000 outpatients, and nearly 18,000 emergency cases annually. The hospital presently has a complement of medical/surgical beds, pediatric beds, obstetric/gynecology beds, nursery cribs, an intensive coronary care unit, skilled nursing beds, and an adult, adolescent and child neuropsychiatric service with a 18-bed hospital-based unit.
Other services currently include medical oncology, a sleep lab, a dialysis center, a cardiac catheterization laboratory, a pain management program, occupational health, and community education. Round the clock emergency care is provided by the hospital. Ancillary services include radiology, laboratory, rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary services, orthopedics, inpatient/outpatient drug and alcohol services and hospice.
Patient care is provided at the hospital by a medical staff of senior active physicians including a team of radiologists, a pathologist, and a group of anesthesiologists. Other medical staff physicians serve the hospital through the consulting staff and courtesy staff. An emeritus staff completes the medical staff at Somerset Hospital. In all, 160 physicians and dentists enjoy hospital privileges.
The guidelines for general hospital policy are established by the hospital’s Board of Directors. The board is comprised of 22 distinguished Somerset county leaders who offer the hospital a variety of professionalism. The hospital administrator and his administrative staff members are, in turn, charged with meeting the objectives coordinated by the board and medical staff by monitoring all employee activities within the nearly 56 hospital departments. Today, Somerset Hospital employs 850 ranking the organization as one of the area’s largest employers.
Several volunteer organizations have contributed and continue to contribute to the health needs of the community. Volunteers offer their services by engaging in fund raising and pledging activities. The oldest volunteer organization, the Senior Hospital Auxiliary, was founded in 1921.
The Junior Hospital Auxiliary was founded in 1937 and the Somerset Welfare League in 1935. However, to meet the needs of the hospital’s ever-changing needs, the Junior and Senior Auxiliaries combined forces to become one united group in September 1984.
Somerset Health Services provides the organizational structure for four medical centers, a drug and alcohol rehabilitative center and a durable medical equipment company.
Since its founding in 1921 as a 20-bed institution, Somerset Hospital has evolved into a multi-million dollar community asset with an expense budget of nearly $80 million and a payroll of more than $27 million. In recent years, Somerset Hospital has made great progress. It is our hope to continue to work with the communities we serve to deliver quality health care in the form of treatment or services. We hope that you will always look to us as your provider of choice.