Grant County Public Hospital District No. 1 was formed in 1947 with an initial service area that included the communities of Moses Lake, Warden, and Marlin. In February 1949, more than 100 volunteers went door-to-door seeking donations for a hospital to serve the area’s healthcare needs. In an overwhelming show of support, more than 1,500 families gave a total of $27,000 and Samaritan Hospital opened nine months later. The first hospital was located in a converted barracks building where the Moses Lake Public Library now stands.
In 1952, the hospital board of commissioners agreed to construct a new hospital on Samaritan’s current site. With funds from a bond levy and a matching federal grant, the hospital opened in May 1955 with an increase to fifty beds.
The hospital expanded in 1980 and 1992, and a major expansion and modernization project was completed in 2002. The project added 60,000 square feet of new space and modernized another 60,000 square feet of existing space. Those improvements featured private rooms, a completely new Advanced Care Unit, the new Leiv Kvamme Mother and Baby Center, a new cafeteria and lobby, and expanded patient and family waiting areas. Three years later, a new surgery suite dedicated to caesarian section procedures was added to the Mother and Baby Center.
Expansions in Service Areas
More recent examples of Samaritan continuing to serve our area are the ongoing expansions of our specialty service areas to include orthopaedics and sports medicine, podiatry, OB/GYN, gastroenterology, urology, pediatrics (including pediatric psychiatry and pediatric endocrinology), adult and internal medicine, pain management, and behavioral health, plus increasing our family medicine providers. We also earned a full Trauma Service Level III designation by the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH), which included, in part, a certified and improved Emergency Department to serve the communities of the inland Northwest.
In 2019, we renamed our ACU to “ICU” to better explain its role. Samaritan Healthcare is licensed for 12 ICU beds with the WSDH and WSDH uses “ICU” to describe the level of care that we are already providing to Samaritan patients who need intensive care, intermediate, medical surgical/telemetry, and medical surgical overflow.
The same year, Samaritan purchased a state-of-the-art MRI machine with the help of donors through our foundation. The new MRI was installed at the hospital’s main campus, which allows expanded service hours in a convenient location.
Also in 2019, we became a founding member, along with five locally owned healthcare organizations, in the newly established healthcare partnership—Grand Columbia Health Alliance (Alliance). The Alliance allows each organization to collaborate and share resources and technology—providing patients with the convenience of state-of-the-art, local healthcare without needing to travel to large cities.
In 1999, Samaritan built a 3-story, 62,500-square-foot Samaritan Clinic and Urgent Care facility on Pioneer Way. Ten years later, we outgrew the space so we remodeled Samaritan Clinic on Pioneer, remodeled new space on Patton Boulevard to become another Samaritan Clinic and Urgent Care facility to serve north Moses Lake and the industrial corridor, and relocated business services to a remodeled office building next door to our Pioneer clinic.
The Future of Samaritan
In fall 2020, Samaritan Healthcare transitioned to EPIC, a new computer system that will improve efficiency and provide each patient with a single, secure, electronic health record. Upgrading the current electronic medical record system to EPIC ensures that the system communicates well with other electronic health record systems.
A new hospital is set to break ground in 2022—a culmination of our planning, research, data, and community input over the last three-plus years. A replacement campus is necessary to meet community demand for comprehensive, state-of-the-art healthcare and to best serve District residents for decades to come.
From 1947 to today, Samaritan Healthcare continues to take bold steps toward the future of medicine in our community. We believe local patients shouldn’t have to travel for the healthcare they deserve and, above all, that healthcare should be affordable and accessible by all. And we believe the best is yet to come.