Deeply Rooted in Our Community
Coffee Regional Medical Center has helped shape the vast changes in healthcare in the region. Our history is entwined with that of Douglas and Coffee County.
Birth of Douglas Hospital
Although Coffee County had well-trained doctors from the late 1800s, the only hospitals in the area were small, private facilities – one in a doctor’s own home – that could not be sustained. In 1932, two nurses established a small clinic, paving the way for what eventually became CRMC. Based on this clinic, the city donated land on East Ward Street for the construction of Douglas Hospital, which opened in 1935. However, within a decade the community’s needs had outgrown the small facility.
Time to Grow
In 1946, the newly created Coffee County Hospital Authority applied for federal funds available through Hill-Burton Act, designed to help states improve the nation’s hospital system. Citizens voted overwhelmingly to provide the necessary matching funds. In October 1953, the new three-story, 60-bed, almost $1 million hospital was dedicated. At the time, Governor Herman Talmadge called it, “not only one of the most beautiful, but also the most modern and best-equipped hospitals in the country.”
And Grow Again
Over the next 40 years, Coffee General Hospital, as it was renamed in 1968, continued to grow. By 1975, the hospital featured 155 beds, an intensive care unit and emergency room. In 1983, the hospital added administrative and diagnostic radiology wings. However, it was increasingly hard for the 1953 building to keep up with community needs, the space demands of continually expanding technology and changing building codes. In 1994, the Hospital Authority voted to restructure Coffee Regional Hospital by forming a new community-based, non-profit corporate structure that allowed the hospital to be financially self-sufficient. Construction began and the current medical center opened in 1998, making CRMC the only new medical center building in the state at that time.
At 170,000 square feet, CRMC was approximately 50 percent larger than its 1953 predecessor. Moreover, it had room for 700 health professionals providing emergency, inpatient and outpatient services. These services grew increasingly broad and complex, from cardiac catheterization to spine surgery, and utilized the most up to date imaging, robotics and other technology. Digital technology, such as telemedicine, further broadened the hospital’s reach by allowing its clinicians to confer with medical professionals all over the country. In fact, as President/CEO Vicki Lewis says proudly, “CRMC is one of the most technologically advanced facilities of its kind in Georgia – and it’s committed to continued growth as the community grows and as new advances in healthcare become available.”
CRMC Board of Directors Chairman Gabe Evans, adds, “Thanks to Coffee Regional Medical Center’s committed clinicians and staff, and to the longstanding support of the community, CRMC continues to provide our citizens the highest-quality healthcare. It is a vital part of what makes this area such a wonderful place to live and do business.”