American Fork Hospital

The first hospital in American Fork was opened in 1921 by Dr. John Franklin and Dr. Phileman M. Kelley, and was located on the second floor of the Co-op building on the corner of Main and Church streets (Utah Power and Light now occupies the building). Doctors, nurses, visitors - and patients - had to climb 33 steps to reach the facility.The hospital closed in 1926 when Dr. Kelley moved but was reopened in 1931 by Dr. Guy S. Richards. The hospital, with a staff of eight doctors, operated for two years until the effects of a depressed economy took their toll, and the facility was closed again.

William S. Storrs, who was mayor at the time, orchestrated a movement to get the hospital back on its feet. The city purchased the Co-op building for $2,500 - part of the money coming from fund-raising events and donations, the rest from a bank loan. Storrs was appointed chairman of the first American Fork Hospital board, organized in 1936. The board was responsible for the management of the hospital as well as the rental spaces on the ground floor of the Co-op building.

The hospital reopened for the third time in the Co-op building on May 24, 1937. Surgery capabilities at the hospital consisted of two family-practice doctors, a few basic instruments sterilized in a home pressure cooker, one old operating table and a delivery table that was actually a bed that had been cut short. At the time, Lucy Robinson, American Fork, worked part time as a nurse. According to Robinson, if she was needed at the hospital in the middle of the night, the police would awaken her by throwing pebbles at her window.

By 1948, the community had grown to the extent that the Co-op building no longer served as an adequate hospital facility. Construction of a new facility at 350 East Third North was completed in 1950. Wings were added to the hospital in 1958 and in 1966. Also in 1966, a four-bed intensive care unit was set up; each employee in the hospital donated one day's salary toward the purchase of monitoring equipment for the unit.

In 1978, the hospital's board of trustees recommended that American Fork City sell the hospital to Intermountain Health Care, Inc. In 1981, IHC completed construction of a $12 million hospital facility, located at 170 North Eleventh East. American Fork Hospital has more than 350 employees.

Orem Community Hospital

The county's newest primary-care facility, Orem was opened in 1981, with a 20-bed capacity. Its emergency center was open 16 hours a day until 1984, when service was expanded to 24 hours. An arthritis treatment center was established at Orem Community Hospital in 1986 - the only pain center in the state which specializes in treating patients with arthritic conditions.

In 1987, a $2.5 million expansion project, which doubled the size of the hospital, was completed. The 5,000th baby to be born at the hospital was delivered in 1987.

Record volumes were recorded in all areas at the facility in 1988, with the greatest growth occurring in the number of lab procedures performed (11,234) and the number of operations (1,050). The hospital has 80 employees.

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center

Before 1939, hospital care for Provo's 16,000 residents was provided by the Provo General Hospital, founded by Dr. John W. Aird. The hospital, located at First East and Second South, was actually a converted home; patients had to be carried up and down stairs on stretchers. If an emergency arose, patients were sent 45 miles to Salt Lake City for treatment.

Efforts to build a new modern hospital began in the early 1930s but moved slowly until 1936. At that time, the Commonwealth Fund of New York City, an organization dedicated to the provision of hospitalization and medical care for communities unable to build facilities on their own, donated $240,000 for the construction of a hospital, provided the community could raise an additional $90,000. Provo City donated the land, the community raised the money and construction began.

When Utah Valley Hospital opened on September 10, 1939, it had 55 beds, 12 bassinets and 38 physicians on its medical staff. More than 1,000 patients were treated and 372 babies delivered at the hospital during its first year.

The population influx created by the opening of the Geneva Steel plant in the early 1940s stressed the treatment capacity of the hospital. Beds were placed in halls, and sun porches at the south end of the building were converted into four-bed wards. And hospital administrators realized that while they might have been sufficient for hospitals elsewhere, 12 bassinets were inadequate for Utah Valley. Funding drives to raise money to expand the hospital were operated in 1946 and 1949. An addition was completed in 1951 at a cost of $600,000, bringing capacity to 115 beds and 36 bassinets.

In 1953, ownership of the hospital was assumed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Five years later, a $2 million project added five new operating rooms, a fracture treatment room and additional patient beds. In 1960 a third floor - housing a new maternity department - was added. The hospital's emergency center was created in 1970.

In 1975, the LDS Church divested itself of Utah Valley Hospital and 14 other health-care facilities in the state. A not-for-profit corporation - Intermountain Health Care - was created to manage the facilities. Major expansions continued: In 1978, a seven story medical tower - partly funded by $4 million donated by the community - was added to the hospital. This expansion allowed other departments at the hospital to be relocated in remodeled sections of the hospital. New additions to the facility in the 1980s have included same day surgery and rehabilitation centers. The hospital now has a capacity of 389 beds and 73 bassinets and has 1,800 employees. The medical staff includes more than 300 doctors and dentists.

Mountain View Hospital

The first hospital in Payson was opened in 1914 by Dr. Asa Curtis in a building located on the southwest corner of Main Street and Utah Avenue. This small hospital had three beds, and the doctor's wife served as cook and laundress while his children carried meals to patients.

In 1922, Curtis purchased a large white, two-story home (25 South and First East) and converted it into a nine-bed hospital. Over the next decade, Drs. Merrill L. Oldroyd and L.D. Stewart joined practice with Curtis.

In 1936 a new hospital was begun as a public works project on Utah Avenue between Fourth and Fifth West. The 35-bed Payson Hospital was opened on February 14, 1938, and four days later the first baby was born at the hospital.

Over the next two decades additions to the hospital included a waiting room, a laundry and a new maternity ward. During 1967-68, a new two-story patient wing was built, providing the hospital with a capacity of 93 beds.

In 1977, ownership of the hospital was transferred from Payson City to the Hospital Corporation of America. Because of the age of the facility and the pressing need for expansion in the hospital's ancillary areas, HCA undertook construction of a new hospital building at 1000 East Highway 6 in 1978. This building was completed in August, 1979. On August 7, patients were given breakfast at the old Payson Hospital and then transferred to the new Mountain View Hospital for dinner that evening. Additions to the hospital have included a same-day surgery unit, a women's resource center, a psychiatric pavilion and remodeled various areas of the facility.

In 1987, Mountain View Hospital was purchased by an employee stock ownership company called HealthTrust, Inc. Mountain View has 350 employees and a medical staff of 50 physicians.

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(Additional information)

Did you know:

-In 1937, a nurse at American Fork Hospital was paid $80 month.

-In 1936, the Commonwealth Fund of New York City donated $240,000 for construction of a hospital in Provo, provided that an additional $90,000 could be raised by the community.

-The cost of a tonsillectomy at Payson Hospital in the 1930s was $5.

-In 1938, Payson Hospital had its first surgery patient: The total cost of surgery and hospitalization was $25.

-In 1957, 2,150 babies were delivered at Utah Valley Hospital.

-In 1950, construction of a new American Fork Hospital was completed at a total project cost of $400,000.

-The 1.5 millionth baby born in Utah was born on June 17, 1981, at Utah Valley Hospital to Charles and Myrna H. Rohbock of Orem. The baby girl was named Aleisha Kati Rohbock.

-In 1986, the only pain clinic specializing in the treatment of patients with arthritic conditions was opened at Orem Community Hospital.

-In 1989, more than 16,000 Utahns work in Utah hospitals.