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Adena History

In 1895, a tragic train wreck shook Chillicothe’s residents into action and planted the roots that would become the Adena Health System.

When a B&O passenger train crashed just a few miles west of Chillicothe, there were no nearby medical facilities. Many of the injured were taken to private homes. This spurred Jane Welsh, Mary C. Manley, Alexander Renick, S.H. Mosher and Lucille Hinton into action. Under the guidance and urging of Dr. G. E. Robbins, these women went to work to solicit bedding, furniture and money to start an emergency hospital in a small brick house at 107 North Bridge Street.

The community showed overwhelming support and $2,500 was raised through community fundraisers like bazaars and baby shows. On June 27, 1895, the hospital was incorporated and on January 1, 1896, the Emergency Hospital was dedicated and opened for use. Initially, the facility was supported by a list of 1,000 citizens who donated one dollar a year and by local churches.

Within 15 years, the Bridge Street building became inadequate and, in 1910, two acres of land were purchased at the site of the old Methodist Cemetery on the corner of Cherry and Chestnut Streets. The original construction had a capacity of 25 beds. The first addition was completed in 1919, providing 13 more rooms. In 1923, a house on the corner of Vine and Chestnut was purchased from the Sosman family for use as a nurses' home. Until then, nurses had been living in the attic of the hospital. With the increase in population, another addition was completed in 1932, bringing the total beds to 50 with 10 bassinets.

Continued Post-War Growth

In the 1940s, when a survey showed that additional services and hospital beds were needed, the Board of Trustees, by means of a formal fund drive, raised $70,000 from local citizens and industries. With this and federal Hill-Burton funds, a 50-bed addition replaced the antiquated section of the building.

In June of 1949, the Women's Board founded four guilds with the goal of promoting good public relations, giving service to the hospital and fundraising. In 1972, the Volunteer Advisory Council was formed to set standards and to coordinate all volunteer work in the hospital. To date, the Volunteer Advisory Council donates all Sugarloaf Gift Shop proceeds to the hospital and the scholarship fund, and the volunteers donate 36,000 plus hours to the hospital annually.

In 1955, the Ford Foundation donated $52,000 to the hospital. Crowded conditions and an unsatisfactory location for the lab and the x-ray departments prompted the Board of Trustees to hire an architect to develop a long-range plan. In the summer of 1960, 50 beds were added and various services were relocated.

In 1964, the first building (from 1910) was demolished and 50 more beds were added at a cost of $520,000. Included in this addition was a physical therapy department. Funds for its equipment were donated by the Ross County Society for Crippled Children and Adults.

Advancing Care into the 21st Century

The continuing growth of Chillicothe Hospital, along with new concepts in medicine brought on the relocation of a new and better hospital. In 1973, the hospital moved outside the city limits of Chillicothe to a 200 acre site at the corner of Route 23 and 159. Outpatient service capabilities were expanded, a larger Emergency Department opened and a Medical Office Building was also constructed.  

The 1990s focused on attracting primary care and specialty providers to form the Adena Medical Group (in 1997). Today, the Adena Medical Group consists of more than 250 providers across more than 50 medical and surgical subspecialties. Many of the providers received their education and training at prestigious universities and medical residency programs from across the country. 

Over the last decade, the system has continued to expand the number of medical sub-specialties and clinical medical capabilities. Examples include:

  • An on-site dermatologic pathologist is available to assist in real time during Mohs procedures as cancerous tissue is surgically removed. 

  • A free standing cancer center with contemporary radiation oncology equipment and access to over 90 clinical research trials through the Columbus National Cancer Institute Oncology Research Program. This also includes partnerships with other major collaborative groups.  

  • The only hospital in the region to offer MAKO-assisted robotic orthopedic surgery, which aids in precision of a hip or knee replacement surgery.

  • Using a grant from the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation to develop a pregnancy centering model and baby recovery program for women with addiction issues using suboxone.

  • Pulmonologists use EBUS, an endobronchial ultrasound machine, to accurately acquire hard-to-reach lung tissue for diagnostic purposes in an outpatient setting.

  • A partnership with large multi-specialty radiology and pathology groups to offer comprehensive access to sub-specialists as needed.

  • The only Level II Nursery in southern Ohio with telemedicine capabilities and oversight by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

  • All three hospital facilities have Advanced Certification as a Primary Stroke Center.

  • The first and only urology center in region to use the UroNav Fusion Biopsy System, which fuses prior MRI scans with real time ultrasound images to pinpoint the location for a needle biopsy in the prostate.

Adena’s footprint continued to expand with an affiliation agreement with two regional critical access hospitals — Greenfield Area Medical Center in 1999 and Pike Community Hospital in 2012. The freestanding Adena Cancer Center opened in 2012, offering patients the same comprehensive cancer care and treatment available at larger hospital facilities. Adena also opened seven health centers and eight standalone family medicine locations strategically placed around our seven county primary service area to provide locally accessible care. The expansion of outlying single provider clinics in small towns and new regional health centers continues today.

Eye on the Future

Opened in 2008, the PACCAR Medical Education Center is a truly one-of-a-kind teaching facility on the Chillicothe campus. The Adena PACCAR Medical Education Center is proud to partner with respected institutions of higher learning to offer bachelor’s and associate degree programs in nursing, medical assistance, healthcare management and substance abuse counseling. The Graduate Medical Education program hosts hundreds of medical student rotations each year in addition to operating four ACGME accredited medical residency programs, the first of which began in 2012.  

The 18,700 square foot PACCAR facility is now recognized as providing some of the finest simulation training, ranging from cutting-edge static models to quarter-million dollar advanced robots. Dr. Towle, the founding director, called the incorporation of simulation into physician training “plastics before people.” The center was the first in North America to acquire the simulator, Victoria, a pregnant woman.  An unannounced simulation exercise was conducted with Victoria in the Adena Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department where Victoria was involved in a fatal automobile crash and the Emergency Department staff needed to deliver her unborn child. 

The PACCAR Medical Education Center is a foundational component in the Adena Health System’s ability to fulfill the third component in its mission statement, “Called to serve our communities.” Also central to the goal of Graduate Medical Education is to encourage residents to join the Adena Medical Group and build their medical practice in rural Ohio. 

Here for Life

Today, Adena serves over 500,000 patients per year and has been recognized by a variety of independent groups for the exceptional quality of care provided. As intended by its founders more than 120 years ago, Adena continues to focus its efforts on providing high quality, state-of-the-art health care to the communities we serve.