Our Story

Our History

Bailey Mansion

Bailey Mansion

The Richland Hospital is a 25-bed acute care Critical Access hospital with a long history of serving the health care needs of people in Richland Center and the surrounding area. The Richland Hospital, Inc. was first established in 1924, occupying the Bailey Mansion, which was located where a portion of the current facility now stands. The existing building is the result of many building and renovation projects.

The first hospital in Richland Center, called the Kermott Hospital after its owner, Dr. Edward P. Kermott. It was operated from 1901 until 1906. In 1906, the Kermott Hospital was sold to Dr. Clement F. Dougherty. The community again operated without a hospital until June, 1912, when Dr. Dougherty opened City Hospital. City Hospital cared for patients until 1922.

The current Richland Hospital began as a concept in 1919, when the Federation of Women’s Clubs of Richland Center began to raise funds for a new hospital. With $10,000 raised locally, the Women’s Clubs purchased the H.T. Bailey home in 1921 and had it converted into a 14 bed hospital. In November, 1924, The Richland Hospital opened with seven employees. It was managed by the West Wisconsin Conference of the Methodist Church from its opening until April, 1928.

By 1927, a shortage of space was already apparent. An addition project began in August, 1929 and was completed in the following year. An elevator was included in this three-story addition.

1936 Penny Postcard displaying a photo of the Richland Hospital as it appeared then.

The next addition to the hospital was completed in March, 1936. It added an x-ray room, isolation ward, operating room, obstetrical room and more patient rooms.

The fourth addition to the east side of the Hospital occurred in 1939. It included two stories and a basement. A kitchen, dining room, nursery, sunroom and more patient rooms were added. By 1939, the Hospital had grown from its original 14 beds to a 73 bed facility. The Richland Hospital became an accredited member of the American Hospital Association in 1939.

Plans for the fifth addition were begun in 1946 and a sixth addition was completed in 1953. These additions added the entrance on Park Street and brought the bed capacity up to nearly 90. The Hospital staff had increased from its original 7 to 52 in 1949. It would be nearly 10 years before another renovation would take place.

Construction began in 1962 for the seventh addition, which, sadly, included removal of the last portion of the original building. This addition was opened in 1966 and expanded the hospital’s footprint also included many modernizations.

The eighth addition to the Hospital opened in 1975. With this renovation project came administrative space, offices, medical records, x-ray, and emergency room and a six-bed intensive care unit. During this time period, changes were also occurring on the Hospital’s grounds. Two houses on Second Street were removed for the creation of a 23-space parking area.

In 1986, “The Lawrence House,” located on Second Street across from the hospital, was remodeled for use as a hospital operated Learning/Day Care Center for children of hospital employees.

In 1987, the hospital purchased the house owned by Marie Carberry on the southeast corner of the hospital block and converted it into the Fiscal Services Annex.

In 1988, a hospital wide renovation program began that would take a number of years to complete. When finished it would enhance the aesthetics as well as the efficiency of the building tremendously.

In 1992, the hospital purchased the house owned by the Ewers family located adjacent to the Fiscal Services Center. It was slightly remodeled and was occupied by the Home Health Agency.

In 1992, the obstetrics unit was remodeled and renamed the Birth Center. In 1993, the second floor or Medical Surgical patient care area was renovated. In 1995, the hospital assumed ownership of two primary care clinics located in Muscoda and Spring Green and achieved Medicare program designation to operate these clinics as Provider-Based Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). The RHCs are staffed under contract by Richland Medical Center, LTD, an independent physician group located in Richland Center and providing healthcare services to patients within the Hospital’s primary and secondary service areas.

In 1997 the old high school was purchased from the Richland School District and was demolished. The hospital constructed an employee parking lot on the western part of the two-block lot. The Southeast portion of the lot was sold to a developer for construction of condominiums. In 1997 the Carberry, Ewers, Uzuanis and Rydberg houses were moved off hospital property and the Karlstad and Bailey houses were demolished to make way for the upcoming building project. The finance and home health departments relocated to the Lawrence house and the Children’s Learning Center moved to the renovated Miller house.

In 1998 administration offices were moved to the Schoonover house, following renovation, to allow remodeling . An agreement was reached for the purchase of the Kraska house, next to the administration building, in 1999. The Wisconsin Gas Co. building, on Highway 14 East (where WRCO is currently located), was purchased and renovated for use by the rehab therapies until completion of the hospital and clinic project. This project started in July, 1998.

By 2000, the Hospital and Richland Medical Center worked collaboratively to achieve the vision of a single healthcare campus for ambulatory and inpatient care. The Hospital’s project included the creation of a single point of access for patients by adding primary care clinic space at the Richland Hospital making it possible for the physicians group at Richland Medical Center to move into the building. Richland Medical Center entered into a long-term lease of the Hospital owned space. Physician services focus on the total health of the patient covering the entire span of life. Primary care physicians work with a team of specialty care providers to meet the needs of the communities served. During this same capital project, the hospital also saw improvements and renovations take place in its physical plant including laboratory, patient accounting, medical imaging and emergency services. This project created an addition of approximately 104,000 square feet to the facility.

In 2006, thanks to great community support, the Douglas M. Kraemer Community Care Center opened providing a space designed with the specific needs of patients receiving chemotherapeutic treatments under the care of an oncologist. During this same time period, the hospital added a third Operating Suite.

In June 2007, the Richland Community Free Clinic, Inc. began operating as a unique Wisconsin 501(c)3 corporation in space held under the long-term lease maintained by Richland Medical Center. The Free Clinic is staffed by volunteers, provides access to clinic-based primary care with limited resources targeted to serve those patients without the financial ability to seek healthcare elsewhere. The Free Clinic is open one day per week. The Hospital provides a limited amount of pledged support through access to basic ancillary services like labs and xray under the established Community (Charity) Care policy of the Hospital.

In 2008, the Richland Hospital began the planning stages for the Inpatient Renovation Project. The first portion of the project focused on moving the Med/Surg and Special Care Units to the third floor where state of the art patient rooms give patients and staff a great environment to heal and work in. Later, a new C-Section Unit was added to the Birth Center and warm soothing colors were added throughout. New access to the helipad via the back elevator was also added. The final phase included the completion of the administrative offices, a sleep study area, respiratory therapy and a new treadmill area for cardiology. The completion of this project brought the Richland Hospital’s total square footage to 164,000 square feet including the portion under long-term lease to Richland Medical Center. LTD. This portion of the project was completed in early 2010.

In the third phase of the project the hospital administrative offices, respiratory services, and sleep study areas were completed on the hospital’s second floor. Staff moved in the fall of 2010. During this same period, the hospital purchased two houses located on the same block as the current hospital campus. The old apartment building was razed and the white house was renovated for call staff who need to stay overnight.

In 2011, Richland Hospital earned accreditation from World Health Organization as a “Baby Friendly” facility. That same year, the hospital was recognized in the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the Nation.

In 2011, the decision was made to buy land in Muscoda, WI to build a new rural clinic. Richland Hospital purchased land near the Muscoda Post Office. A ground breaking was held November 2, 2011. Excavation of the site began soon after. Construction began that winter and continued for the better portion of a year. The new Muscoda Health Center opened its doors on October 1, 2012. An open house was held on October 18th.

In 2012, the Richland Hospital was recognized as a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. As it is defined today, the Richland Hospital is a 25-bed acute care Critical Access Hospital serving the health care needs of people in Richland Center and the surrounding areas. The Richland Hospital is located 60 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin and 65 miles east of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The Hospital is an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended (“Code”), and accordingly exempt from taxation on its revenue, other than unrelated business income. The property of the Hospital is also exempt from ad valorem property taxation but not special assessments by the State and its political subdivisions.

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