BCMH Celebrates 65 Years Serving Baraga County

September 29, 2017

September 29, 2017……Baraga County Memorial Hospital celebrates its 65th year serving the residents of County and the surrounding communities.

Baraga County Memorial Hospital was opened in October of 1952 after six years of planning, fundraising, and construction. It all began with a petition circulated by Peter Peterson regarding the establishment of a hospital in Baraga County. Prior to that date, the closest hospital was 35 miles away in Hancock. Ben Grobaski interested the Lions Club in getting involved and the project was launched. Support was obtained from state officials and the health department. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation became involved as advisors and their foundation ultimately ended up financing the radiology and laboratory departments.

Baraga County received 60% of the financing from the federal government, but the other 40% of the construction and equipment costs needed to be raised in the community to complete the project. A special election was held in August of 1949 for the purpose of submitting to the legal voters a proposition for voting for an issue of hospital bonds in the amount of $200,000 for the purpose of erecting a non-sectarian public hospital. This was passed by an overwhelming majority. A Finance Committee sponsored a Hospital Fund Drive in May of 1952 and undertook matching the monetary gift given by the Ford Motor Company. They were successful in this endeavor and obtained enough funds to take them “over the top” of the required amount.

At the time the hospital opened its doors, it was a 35 bed facility. Within three years, over 4,000 patients were admitted, and the hospital sought to expand. In 1963, the hospital increased to 72 beds. To accommodate changing healthcare needs, the 1992 renovation project resulted in a new outpatient wing with a bed count of 24 acute care and 28 skilled nursing unit beds, for a total of 52 beds. With the changing face of health care, BCMH was designated as a Critical Access Hospital in May of 2000 and at that time included 15 acute care, 28 skilled nursing unit, and 9 swing beds.

In 2011, to again accommodate the changing face of healthcare, Baraga County Memorial Hospital moved into its new, up-to-date, patient-friendly facility on U.S. 41 in L’Anse, which includes the latest healthcare technology available. The new hospital was several years in the planning and was built with the assistance of guaranteed financing through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The new facility has 15 acute care beds which include 9 swing beds. The emergency room is state-of-the art and includes four private exam rooms, in addition to a trauma room. All equipment in the diagnostic departments was updated as needed to meet the latest technology.

In a direct quote from the BCMH Dedication Program from the ceremony held on October 12, 1952, “It is impossible, in recording the manner in which the Baraga County Memorial Hospital came into being, to name the dozens, scores, and even hundreds of Baraga County citizens who generously and untiringly donated their time, effort, and financial support, so this hospital might come into being.”

Current Chief Executive Officer, Margie Hale noted, “In sixty five years there have been many advances in medicine, but one thing remains consistent, the patient is the center of everything we do at BCMH. I want to thank the community, our patients and the staff for their loyal commitment to BCMH and we are looking forward to many more years providing quality care to the community.”

Any questions regarding this press release should be directed to Polly Manning, Administrative Assistant,
Baraga County Memorial Hospital, 524-3322.