Hamilton Healthcare System has a rich history steeped in its community. Efforts to build a hospital in Hamilton, Texas began in 1955. Citizens continued to look for ways to create a hospital until a plan began to form. Citizens George Golightly, Bill Manning, Floyd Campbell, Haskell Harelik, Guffie Barkley, C.M. Hatch, W.P. Lawson and Dr. C.C. Cleveland held the first planning and development meeting in the basement of the First Baptist Church in January 1957.
Chartered July 1, 1957, the Hamilton County General Hospital admitted its first patient on September 1, 1958. The 20-bed facility was built in seven months by Herman H. Tomlinson on land donated by Haskell Harelik with funding from 465 shareholders.
In the early 1980s, because of growing capital needs, the Board explored an affiliation with Harris Methodist Hospital of Fort Worth. In 1982, Harris Methodist bought out shares and the hospital became Harris Methodist Hamilton Hospital.
Harris Methodist closed the doors of the hospital on September 30, 1987. A group of citizens including Ken Gardner, Jane Crouch, Andy McMullen, Tom White, Ramon Haile, Bill Craig, David Lengefeld, Jim Soules, Fay Schrank, Jack Davidson, Bill Snell, T.P. Medlock, Slim Witzsche, Roger Miller and Marge Jordan formed a non-profit corporation to take back the assets and began an effort to reopen the hospital. Because of state regulations, they only had 12 months to re-open the hospital.
In May 1988, the Hamilton community pulled together to begin raising $250,000. The Hamilton General Hospital re-opened on September 12, 1988.
To secure long-term financial security, the Board began exploring forming a Hospital District. The Texas Legislature approved legislation in 1987, but the initial county-wide election failed. Legislation was amended in 1989 and another election planned for May 1990. On March 12, 1990, the commissioners' court appointed a temporary Hamilton County Hospital District Board consisting of Ramon Haile, Bill Craig, Fay Schrank, David Lengefeld and T.P. Medlock. After numerous, often hotly contested community meetings, an election to approve the District was held in Hamilton County Precincts 1, 2 and 4 on May 4, 1990, and the vote passed. Hamilton General Hospital transferred to the Hamilton County Hospital District on May 29, 1990.
The HCHD took up EMS responsibility which had been provided by a private company through county contract. Hamilton EMS began with three ambulances. Five years later a sub-station was added in Hico and H-EMS began providing ambulance coverage to the city and northeastern part of the county.
Over the years, the hospital tax rate has only been reduced, thanks to continued growth. A 34-bed, 39,000 square foot $7.5 million replacement facility was built in 2004, admitting its first patient on January 12, 2005. The financing was accomplished with revenue bonds, not requiring tax-backed bonds.
For 15 years, Ping Tan, M.D. cared for the residents of Hamilton as sole provider. He worked during a tumultuous time in the HCHD's history putting in 24/7/365 to insure quality care in the Hamilton community. Dr. Tan has now retired, but can still be seen visiting the campus from time to time.
In 1997, James R. "Randy" Lee, M.D. completed his medical training and returned to his hometown of Hamilton, Texas to practice. He brought with him a fellow family practice doctor. Together they began the Family Practice Associates and a partnership with Hamilton Healthcare System. A new era in Hamilton's healthcare was born.
Hamilton Healthcare System opened a Rural Health Clinic and lab in December of 1997. More physicians were recruited and newer more modern equipment was added. The clinic was expanded in May 2008 and a renovation completed in July 2008.
On May 1, 2004, Hamilton Healthcare System purchased memberships from Fitness on the Square adding a fitness center to the growing system. On June 30, 2008, Hamilton Healthcare System opened the doors to its state-of-the-art Wellness Center featuring a fitness center, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, physical therapy and a heated salt-water fitness pool.
Hamilton Healthcare System began to get a reputation for its progressive stance in providing quality healthcare in a rural community. On October 1, 2008, Hamilton Healthcare System purchased the Hico Clinic. The clinic had been owned and operated by Dr. and Mrs. Billy Dayton for more than 30 years. As members of the Hamilton Healthcare System family, the Daytons continue to care for the Hico community.
On September 8, 2009, Hamilton Healthcare System partnered with the Mills County Rural Health, Inc. to open the Family Practice Clinic of Mills County. Located in Goldthwaite, Texas, the FPC provides quality healthcare to families in Mills County.
A debt of gratitude is owed to the citizens of our community who have worked for and supported Hamilton Healthcare System from its inception to today. Their tireless effort and dedication developed and maintained healthcare facilities in our community not only for past generations, but the future.