Tuesday, January 31, 2017
History and Case Funding
Mayers Celebrates 60 Years! 1956 - 2016
Mayers Memorial Hospital was first formed in the hearts and minds of Dr. and Mrs. Howard Mayers, who arrived in the Intermountain region in 1938. Like many country doctors, Dr. Mayers received much of his pay in produce and often gave up his own bed to a patient who needed care. Over the years, Dr. & Mrs. Mayers began to envision a hospital that would provide the needs of residents in these rural communities.
In 1951, Dr. Mayers held a meeting in his home to share his vision with local citizens. As he presented the benefits a local hospital would bring, it did not take long for key community leaders to join him in his vision. Enthusiasm spread very quickly and the community eagerly backed his plan. Only one month later, long before the hospital could become a reality, Dr. Mayers and his wife were killed in a tragic automobile accident. Broken hearted by the loss but motivated to carry on the dream, the residents of Fall River Mills and surrounding communities began to raise funds to build a rural community hospital in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Mayers. Anna McArthur, one of the community's local residents, donated land on which to build the hospital. Numerous residents joined forces to raise the funds necessary to realize their goal.
A daunting task for any community, raising enough money to build a hospital would likely not have been feasible for this rural region if not for Bing Crosby, one of the part-time residents of the Intermountain area. With help from community organizers, Mr. Crosby agreed to put on a benefit show to help raise the necessary funds. What began as a small show in the garden of the Jack Martin's Rising River Ranch skyrocketed into a gala production at the Intermountain Fairgrounds. Local residents were the driving force in the planning and organizing of this incredible event, and Bing Crosby, Phil Harris and other Hollywood celebrities helped draw crowds from well beyond the region. Needless to say, the fundraiser was a great success. A year later, at the request of local community members, Mr. Crosby and friends produced a second show to help finance the furnishings and equipment for Mayers Memorial Hospital. Construction of the 10-bed building was completed in March 1956. In the early years, Mayers Memorial was largely volunteer-operated. In the late 1960s various regulations and the need for increased operational funding led the community to establish Mayers Memorial as a District Hospital, which provided the funding needed to draw new caregivers and specialists to the region. Between the years of 1970 and through the 1990s, the District constructed various additions to the building and remodeled older sections to make room for growth-patients, physicians, new technologies and services. In 1993, another facility was built in the growing community of Burney (over 17 miles to the west) on land owned by Fruit Growers Supply Company. This facility now houses additional skilled nursing rooms, including a secure Alzheimer's unit.
Mayers Memorial Hospital District, like all California hospitals, was affected by the Seismic Safety mandate of 1994 (SB1953). This mandate was implemented in response to the 1994 Northridge earthquake in which two hospitals suffered major structural damage. It gave the state the authority to shut down acute care services if SB1953 requirements are not met in 2020.
The biggest obstacle to meeting these requirements was, of course, lack of funds. In 2001, Mayers Memorial Hospital District converted to a Critical Access Hospital, which increased the reimbursement amount, and improving operations. The Board of Directors has recognized the need for a comprehensive strategic plan to address the mandates and regulations that could threaten the future of the District if nothing is done. The goal of the recently completed Master Facility Plan was to clearly address the pending seismic and retrofit issues and lay the foundation for the District's capital campaign to fund the comprehensive building reconstruction.
In 1949 a Chamber of Commerce hospital committee was formed and began taking the first steps toward a visionary project -Ward Memorial Hospital. The Chamber's "Hospital Committee" compiled the costs of building a new hospital to present to taxpayers -the first hospital bond issue was defeated in 1950. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. After one private hospital discontinued practice due to inadequate facilities, leaving only one that could handle just 23 patients, the need for a county hospital was again fronted to the citizens in 1953. With the support of local doctors, civic groups and women's clubs, a bond election was called in March of 1954. In June of 1954 the voters voted six-to-one in favor of a county hospital.