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History Timeline

Lake Region Healthcare Corporation timeline, based on newspaper articles and the Ottertail County Historical Society.

St. Luke’s Hospital

Oct. 16—Excavating of building begins.

Sept.—Building is dedicated.

Addition is built to south of building.

April 12—John Lauritzen receives $25,000 contract for large addition.

Nov. 8—St. Luke’s Hospital is approved by college of surgeons.

Sept. 24—New wing is finished.

Aug. 8—The new addition is dedicated.

Building with addition is added to main building and north building.

Feb. 16—St. Luke's Hospital is now a 75-bed hospital.

November—Hospital is now free of debt. Wright Memorial Hospital

Wright Memorial Hospital

May—Wright family proposes to build as gift to the city.
Sept. 17—Association is formed.

May—Foundation work begins.

May 25—Officially organized previous week.
November—Ownership of the hospital is transferred to the association.

Jan. 1—Hospital opens to public New Year's Day; north addition added; west addition added.

February—New Studebaker Ambulance is bought for the Wright and St. Luke’s hospitals for $700.

June 3—Nurses' home is built.

June 15—It was decided to expand the hospital.

Aug. 19—25th anniversary and dedication of enlarged hospital.
Aug. 23—New wing opens.

Hospital receives $20,000 from the estate of the late Dr. T.N. Kittelson.

Oct. 21—Property is sold to Otter Tail Power Company.
Dec. 18—Hospital closes.

Lake Region Healthcare Corporation

Lake Region Healthcare Corporation

St. Luke’s and Wright Memorial merge.

March 4—Plans begin to build addition.

Dec. 30—Patients move from Wright Memorial to St. Luke’s Hospital, forming a single unit.

Sept. 13—Hospital is fully accredited.

Jan. 19—Plans complete for new hospital project/drawing for addition.
Jan. 22—Hospital purchases a new x-ray unit.
March 4—Loan is needed.
April—Groundbreaking for remodeling project.
Aug. 12—Hospital ranks high in the nation.
Nov. 26—H.E. Swenson heads hospital drive.
Dec. 13—Hospital receives $47,000 from Ford Foundation.

Jan. 19—$196,806 goal is set.

May 22—Tumor clinic opens.
Aug. 7—Wright Memorial Hospital is torn down.

Jan. 17—Children’s recovery room is pledged.

March 19—Snack bar completes its first year.
June 28—Hospital is dedicated.
June 30—Open house event takes place with 1,000 touring.
Oct. 17—Hospital receives $400 grant from the American Cancer Society.

May 14—Convalescent ward for children is added.
Dec. 5—Hospital receives polio equipment from national foundation.
Dec. 31—Physical therapy starts.

May 9—Auxiliary purchases turning bed.

Aug. 2—Hospital acquires purchase agreements in block, buys homes for expansion.

July 16—$469,979 is allocated from Hill-Burton Fund.

Remodeling adds the long-term care unit.

April—Four-bed detox unit opens.
Dec. 26—Five-bed intensive coronary care unit replaces two-bed.

March 7—32 doctors serve 5,000 patients this year.

March—Ultrasound diagnostic unit added.

Two new floors are added to the hospital.
There is a registered nurse shortage.

Jan. 20—New emergency room is added.

Sept. 21—Computed tomography (CT) mobile unit is added.

New sports medicine clinic opens.
July 12—New emergency response center; Lifeline is added.

Feb. 3—CT unit scanner is added.
Sept. 17—New mammogram unit is installed.

March—Hospital acquires a new Surgilaser.

Hospital opens new birthing suites.
Oct. 6—Psychiatric unit opens.

Nov. 25—One of four new operating rooms opens.

Cardiac rehabilitation is added.

First chaplain of the hospital begins.

Construction begins on $5.455 million project for a new assisted living facility on the Lake Region Healthcare campus.

Oct. 1—Mill Street Residence, an assisted living facility, opened its doors.

Feb. 10—Plans for expansion begin. Lake Region Medical Corporation

Feb. 25—Operating room and ambulatory surgery area are added.

June—$7.5 million in renovations begin.

September—Landmark is completed on medical campus.

Center for Rehabilitation 14-bed unit is built.
Physical Medicine Department expands.
Birthing Suite is relocated and updated.
Bridgeway Inpatient Psychiatric is relocated and expanded from nine to 14 beds.
Radiology department replaces its CT scan, special fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine equipment.
New interventional radiology suite is installed.

Internet connectivity, including wireless, is now available.
Land purchased for $672,000 for new clinic building in Ashby.
August—Construction begins for a mobile scanner pad and a helipad.
December—$5.2 million expansion and renovation project in the emergency and radiology departments begins.

Center for Rehabilitation and SameDay Surgery projects begin.
October—Construction of the $2 million Mehl Center begins.
November—New storage building on Mill Street is completed.

January—$579,000 helipad project completed.
December—Center for Rehabilitation and SameDay Surgery projects completed.

January—Expansion of the emergency department by four additional treatment rooms and a new double-ambulance-bay garage completed.
March—Radiology extensive renovation project is completed, including most rooms being enlarged and the addition of an interventional radiological suite and mammography suite. All patient dressing areas and restrooms were enlarged and a waiting room was relocated to be more convenient.
April—Public dedication of Mehl Center, including celebration of opening the Athletic Republic, takes place.
June—Lake Region Healthcare and the Lake Region Healthcare Foundation launch the first capital campaign in approximately 35 years to construct a $9.6 million comprehensive cancer care center. The 15,000-square-foot cancer center will be built on the south portion of the Lake Region Healthcare campus. It is scheduled to open in late 2009 and, when completed, will consolidate existing services and provide expanded comprehensive cancer care services, including radiation, to our patients.
July—Pharmacy remodel is completed.

The Cancer Care & Research Center opens on the south end of our campus. Cancer Center

February: A new Walk-In Clinic opens on the west side of town to offer extended hours and no-appointment access.

September: Phatty Nattie's Group Fitness Facility joins Lake Region Healthcare and opens a new workout studio in the lower level of the Cancer Care & Research Center as part of the organization's ongoing commitment to wellness and preventive health care. 

January: The second floor of the hospital is remodeled for the opening of a new Orthopedic Joint Care Center, offering a comprehensive joint replacement and rehabilitation program.

May: Ground is broken on "Lake Region Takes Root" - a community garden and local food initiative on Kennedy Park Circle in Fergus Falls.  A 1.5 acre parcel of land was donated to Lake Region Healthcare and will be used to grow and distribute foods for families having difficulty accessing healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. 

May: Lake Region Home Medical Supply Store opens on West Lincoln Ave. The retail store is a partnership between LRH and Rice Home Medical in Willmar, MN.

September: Ground is broken for a new main Clinic on West Vernon Ave. The 80,000 square foot building is scheduled to open in late 2015 with a temporary entrance and parking lot. Final demolition & completion of parking areas will occur in mid-2016.

September: Dr. Owen Thompson of the Barnesville Area Clinic announced the merger of his clinic with Lake Region Healthcare. Barnesville is now the fourth outreach location for LRH in addition to the clinics in Ashby, Battle Lake, and the Elbow Lake Eye Clinic.  

Lake Region Healthcare and Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services (PRHHS) in Elbow Lake
announced the two health care systems will integrate effective Janauary 1, 2015. 

Cardiology Services are expanded with the addition of a full time cardiologist, Dr. JoEllen Kohlman Petrick.

LRH CEO Larry Schulz is honored by the Minnesota Hospital Association with the Stephen Rogness Distinguished Service Award. Schulz was also named by Gov. Mark Dayton as one of 11 appointees to a task force, which was created through legislation earlier this year to tackle questions about financing and operating the state’s health care programs including MNsure and MinnesotaCare.

Lawrence Blue was named CEO at Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services.  

Lucia Anderson, MBA, BSN, RN, was named Chief Operating Officer in addition to her role as Chief Nursing Officer for the organization. 

Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) and Dave Gaustad of 20/20 Optical announced a purchase agreement effective September 1, 2015 for LRH to acquire the optical shop that has operated from a leased space at LRH for nearly 2 decades.   

Doors opened on the new 30-million dollar 80,000 square foot state of the art clinic building on time and on budget on December 14th, 2015.


Lake Region Healthcare’s Community Garden, “Lake Region Takes Root” was among the innovative programs and outstanding leaders in health care honored by The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA)Last year, in it's 3rd year, the garden produced 7,781 pounds of food, impacting 3,500 individuals in the community by donating the food to the Otter Tail County Women Infant & Children program and three area food shelves.


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