The opening of Atrium Medical Center (Atrium) in December 2007 began a new chapter in the 90-year history of Middletown Regional Hospital.
The Early Years
In the early 20th century two tragedies—a train wreck in 1910 and a devastating flood in 1913—forced the Middletown community to seek medical treatment miles away in Cincinnati or Dayton. Recognizing the need for local medical care, community leaders committed resources to the development of a new hospital. Middletown Hospital Association was incorporated as a nonprofit institution in 1913, and construction began on the new hospital.
The 28-bed Middletown Hospital opened on March 5, 1917. Its seven employees were immediately put to the test with the great flu epidemic of 1917.
As the Middletown area grew, the demand for a larger hospital became clear. In 1923, the hospital increased its capacity to 100 beds, and room rates went from $3.50 to $4 a day. Although the community was fortunate to have the hospital, few agreed to be admitted without resistance.
In the 1920s and 1930s, many people believed admission to a hospital was a sign of impending death. Hospitals focused primarily on relieving pain and suffering. Few lifesaving treatments were available.
Community Support Grows
The 1940s ushered in more prosperous times and the hospital benefited from community support. The hospital Auxiliary helped to purchase a giant, 220,000-volt x-ray machine to treat tumors. Newspaper headlines touted the x-ray machine as more modern than anything in Cincinnati or Dayton.
Prosperity cooled as Middletown Hospital, along with the rest of the world, struggled under the weight of World War II. The Middletown community again rallied to help the hospital: members of the Auxiliary wrapped bandages, hospital employees directed air raid drills, nurses joined the Nurse Cadet Corps, and visiting nurses and volunteers made house calls. Everyone pitched in for the war effort.
At the Forefront of Cardiac Care
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the hospital began facing new challenges. More and more patients were being admitted with heart problems, so the hospital purchased the most modern cardiac technology available—an EKG machine.
Middletown Hospital began to emerge as a regional health care center. In the 1960s the hospital established one of the country's first coronary care units in a community hospital, and Middletown Hospital was the second in the entire Cincinnati/Dayton area to begin a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Rapid Medical Advances
The 1970s began an era of rapidly accelerating medical advances. A new emphasis on outpatient services led to an expansion of services to meet this demand. The entire health care arena was changing with unprecedented speed, and Middletown Hospital was on the cutting edge of this new era. Middletown surgeons performed arthroscopic surgery before it received national attention. The hospital was also the first to perform FDA-approved total hip replacement and the first to use the Yag laser.
Serving the Growing Region
In 1983, Middletown Hospital became Middletown Regional Hospital to better reflect the hospital’s ever-expanding service area, including Ohio's Butler, Warren, Preble, and Montgomery counties. In 1987 the hospital added a new maternity unit, same-day surgery center, and updated facilities for emergency, inpatient surgery and intensive care. A comprehensive sports and workplace rehabilitation center opened a year later.
The hospital continued to provide leading-edge medical care in the 1990s, adding a laser and endoscopy center in 1993 and introducing Ohio’s first digital cath lab in 1995. The following year the hospital opened Excel Corporate Care, an occupational health program with injury care and preventative services. The Diabetes Wellness Center and the Children’s Center were established in 1999.
The hospital’s reputation for outstanding medical care began gaining national recognition in the mid-90s.
In 1996 U.S. News & World Report listed Middletown Regional Hospital as one of the top hospitals in the United States.
In 1997 Middletown Regional Hospital became the nation’s first winner of the prestigious Ernest A. Codman Award for quality from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
Two years later, Middletown Regional Hospital was named a Top 100 Hospital in the annual study, 100 Top Hospitals: Benchmarks for Success, a recognition the hospital received again the following year.
In 1999 the hospital received the coveted NOVA Award from the American Hospital Association for innovative projects aimed at improving the health status of the community.
In 2003 Middletown Regional Hospital again received top honors from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). With a score of 99 out of 100 points, Middletown became the first hospital in the region to achieve this high status and was ranked among the top hospitals nationwide.
The following year Middletown Regional Hospital was the first hospital in Ohio to become ISO 9001:2000 certified. The hospital became a verified Level III trauma center.
In just 90 years, the former seven-employee hospital had become Middletown’s second largest employer and one of the national’s top 100 hospitals
Meeting Future Health Care Needs
In 2000, executives at Middletown Regional Hospital were faced with the need to upgrade and expand the hospital's facilities in order to continue meeting the region's future health care needs. After careful consideration, hospital executives determined it would be more cost effective to build a new hospital than to renovate and expand the land-locked facility. The idea for Atrium Medical Center (Atrium) was born.
Building on a Rich Heritage
Atrium offers family-centered care, advanced technology supporting a full range of services, and 90 years of expertise from the physicians and staff of Middletown Regional Hospital.
Content Updated: November 17, 2014