BROOKVILLE

The Brookville community Nov. 2 celebrated the centennial of the Brookville Hospital -- now Penn Highlands Brookville.

Local historian and former hospital foundation president David Taylor outlined the history of the local hospital.

Taylor said the community depended on individual doctors for health care but in 1907 that began to change.

Local physician Dr. Wayne Snyder opened the town's first hospital in his private residence. In 1914 a committee formed to investigate the possibility of creating a hospital. That goal received a major boost when in 1915 a local woman left the committee the equivalent of $3 million to build a hospital.

Construction began in 1918 and the first patient was admitted in December 1919. The hospital could accommodate 23 adults and had six bassinettes.

In 1920 the hospital admitted 250 patients. One baby was born in the hospital in the first year.

The room rates ranged from $3 a day for a ward bed to $5 a day for a private room.

In 1921 the hospital started a nursing school in a building next to the hospital. A total of 35 nurses graduated from the school. The program was discontinued in 1934 and the building razed in 2011.

The hospital was expanded in 1950 to accommodate the baby boom with a maternity department, a children's ward, delivery room, and operating room, a kitchen and an elevator.

The next addition was the Campbell Wing in the late 1950s.

Ron King, the former Penn Highlands Brookville board chairman, said the 1919 building was demolished in make way for the current patient tower in 1985. King said the hospital saw great growth for the hospital. Facilities were added in the hospital and clinics in Clarion and New Bethlehem.

"Healthcare after the turn of the century became more intense," said King. "Brookville Hospital was a not for profit hospital and maintaining a solid bottom line became more difficult.

"Recruiting physicians to a small rural hospital became a severe challenge. The winds of change were impacting the Brookville Hospital."

King explained, "In spite of all good intentions and planning, maintaining a profitable status was a serious problem. Many small rural hospitals in our area were closing their doors."

King said that in 2007 the Brookville Hospital signed a management agreement with DuBois Regional Medical Center (DRMC).

In 2009 an affiliation agreement was signed. In 2011 Penn Highlands was created and became the parent organization of both hospitals.

"In the following years Penn Highlands Brookville has seen both consolidation and expansion," said King. "The Marienville Medical Practice was designated a third-world health clinic under PH Brookville, the medical records system has been running for nine years and the new medical arts building is under construction."

King said the Penn Highlands Health System consists of five area hospitals, two nursing homes in addition to pharmacies, home health care, resident programs and numerous Q-care facilities.

"The impact of Penn Highlands Brookville is huge and immeasurable from a number of aspects," said King. "Tonight we are celebrating 100 years of the Brookville Hospital. We are celebrating 100 years of quality patient care.

"Thanks to Penn Highlands Heath Care, the community, solid leadership and of course our hard working doctors and employees Brookville does have a hospital and hopefully we will have one for many years to come that will provide healthcare for the tri-county area."