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History

Blount Memorial is East Tennessee’s community hospital

Blount Memorial Hospital was founded in 1947 through the efforts of local physicians, the county court, interested citizens and the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). The hospital was named in honor of Blount Countians who have died in the line of duty, those missing in action and those who served and continue to serve our country.

As we share our history with you, we hope you'll share your past experiences with Blount Memorial. Share your stories by e-mailing us.

The Community Connection

Blount Memorial was built by the people of Blount County for the people of Blount County. Ordinary, hard-working citizens made our community hospital a reality. A federal grant initiated the hospital building project, but the community doubled that amount to complete construction. Since no money remained to build sidewalks, driveways or a parking lot, local workers and business owners donated the labor and materials necessary to finish the work.

Opening Day

The doors opened at Blount Memorial on July 24, 1947 and the community showed up to help move the furniture, offices, beds and patients from an old hospital building to the new one.

Looking Back: Blount Memorial's Milestones

April 1942: Judge George D. Roberts appoints a three-person committee (himself, Joe C. Gamble, and A.D. Huddleston) to investigate the feasibility of building a publicly-owned hospital in Blount County.

May 1944: The Federal Security Agency, U.S. Public Health Service, New Orleans, La. approves building a 50-bed hospital in Blount County. This would be the first county hospital in the state of Tennessee. 

May 1, 1945: The Federal Works Agency agrees to finance 50 percent, or $201,500, of the estimated $403,000 needed to build the hospital. In the following weeks, the community raised $200,000, including a $100,000 donation from ALCOA that included a day's pay given by every worker.

May 15, 1945: A 14-acre site, including a 15-room house, is purchased from Dr. and Mrs. Hussey for $18,000. The sale is negotiated thanks to the perseverance of A.D. Huddleston. In addition, Maryville College donated .675 acres of land fronting Walland Highway.

Dec. 1, 1945: Construction of the hospital begins.

May 1947: More than 100 employees of Harrison Construction Company donate weekend time to build roads, sidewalks and parking spaces for the new hospital. Equipment, fuel and materials are donated by the construction company.

July 13, 1947: More than 6,000 people attend the hospital's dedication service and community open house.

July 24, 1947: On moving day, local furniture dealers, led by Leon Teffeteller, provide the use of their trucks all day and deliver the last load of furniture around 8 p.m. An ambulance moves 40 patients into the new hospital, and six new patients are admitted. The first registered patient at Blount Memorial was a maternity patient, and the first day of service included three operations, two emergencies and the delivery of baby boy, Richard Brown.

1948: The Blount Memorial Auxiliary, the hospital's volunteer organization, is established.

April 1948: Less than a year after the hospital opened, the campaign begins to build a new wing to meet the demand for beds and rooms. 

May 30, 1948: A Memorial Day service is held at the hospital in conjunction with placing the cornerstone for the new wing.

May 30, 1950: The addition of the 70-bed east wing more than doubles the size of the original hospital.

1951: The first thoracic surgery is performed at the hospital.

May 7, 1954: Blount Memorial is approved for accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

1957: A new 90-bed addition brings the hospital's capacity to 210 beds.

Oct. 7, 1963: The Blount Memorial laboratory becomes the first hospital laboratory in Tennessee -- and among the first 14 in the nation -- to be accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

July 25, 1967: The hospital establishes a coronary care unit.

1968: Blount Memorial establishes a practical nursing school to upgrade the knowledge and skills of nursing technicians employed by the hospital.

1970: A physical therapy department is established in the hospital. 

1971: The hospital purchases its first computer.

1972: Dedication of the $4.5 million A.D. Huddleston Wing increases hospital capacity to 334 beds, and the first total hip replacement surgery is performed.

Sept. 25, 1973: Blount Memorial launches a diabetic instruction program.

1974: The first total knee is replaced at the hospital.

1976: The hospital installs its first computerized pharmacy system. 

1978: A general psychiatric unit is established in the hospital.

1980: The hospital's cardiopulmonary department begins a decade of dramatic service expansion in cardiology, respiratory care, vascular and neurodiagnostic services.

1981: Through a grant from the Jonsson family, the hospital establishes hospice services. Additionally, the hospital added wellness programs. 

1982: The hospital opens a same-day surgery center, and respiratory services first are available. 

Jan. 26, 1982: A vascular diagnostic lab is opened.

Oct. 8, 1982: CONCERN is introduced as Blount Memorial's employee assistance program.

October 1982: The hospital purchases the SHARE occupational health program to help area companies plan more efficient health care by providing on-site registered nurses.

August 1983: The City of Alcoa becomes the first client to contract with Blount Memorial for occupational health on-site nursing services. 

July 15, 1984: The hospital opens a new main wing. 

1985: Joseph M. Dawson becomes the hospital's sixth administrator.

December 1988: The first cardiac catheterization lab opens in the radiology department.

1989: Blount Memorial becomes licensed to provide home health services, and mobile lithotripsy services become available. Also, a new outpatient entrance opens, and the Blount Memorial Foundation is established to generate funds to improve and advance medical care provided by the hospital. 

September 1990: The Blount Memorial Foundation holds its first golf tournament to benefit Foundation projects.

1991: The hospital is designated a level III trauma center, and a helicopter pad is installed to meet state guidelines. Additionally, the radiology department adds a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tool, and the hospital experiences a boom of personal computers and systems.

July 1991: The hospital opens its first occupational medicine physician-staffed clinic in Maryville.

1992: The emergency department is established as a Safe Haven Location; an outpatient rehabilitation center opens in the Medical Arts Building; the employee count tops 1,000, payroll reaches $22 million; the paperless imaging of medical records begins; and a barcoding system is adopted for inventory control.

1993: The hospital receives the elite Governor's Excellence Award recognizing improvements in quality, technology and productivity.

November 1993: The Medical Fitness program is established to provide a medically supervised exercise program for patients with limited exercise capacity.

1994: The Medical Arts Building is completed; a new James N. Proffitt Center for Surgical Medicine and intensive care unit open on the hospital's second floor; home infusion services are added to pharmacy offerings; a new slip ring CT scanner is added in radiology; and Joint School, a pre-operative education class for total joint replacement patients, begins.

1995: The Emotional Health & Recovery Center integrates the Emotional Health and Mountain View Recovery centers into a center offering inpatient, partial hospital and outpatient services.

Sept. 26, 1995: The hospital, local providers and physicians partner to create the Highlands Health Partnership, designing community health plans at a preferred price.

1996: The emergency department goes on-line with document imaging viewing stations, the first Cancer Survivors Day celebration is held, and the coronary stent procedure first is offered. Additionally, in December, the hospital partners with the Chamber of Commerce to form the Blount County Community Health Initiative (CHI).

1997: The Blount Memorial Health Center at Springbrook opens, the Family Birthing Center is renovated and the Good Samaritan Clinic is established to serve the uninsured and medically underserved. The Foundation creates the Garden of Life and also hosts its inaugural Distinguished Service Awards honoring Dr. W.C. Crowder, Joe Gamble, Dr. Robert Haralson Jr., A.D. Huddleston and Dr. James N. Proffitt. A new cardiac catheterization system, digital fluoroscopy room and special procedures room also are added.

July 24, 1997: Blount Memorial Hospital is rededicated during the hospital's 50th anniversary celebration.

1998: The hospital partners with area physicians and the ASC Group to build the $2.5 million Maryville Surgical Center.

1999: A pharmacy robot that stocks medications and fills orders is installed; Home Services' licensure expands to include Monroe, Loudon, Knox and Sevier counties; the first Valentine Gala of the Foundation is held; and a parish nurse program is established.

2000: The Blount Memorial Health Center at Tellico West opens in Vonore, bringing occupational health, outpatient rehabilitation and home services to residents of Monroe County in one location. Additionally the hospital develops the first palliative care consult service (symptom care team) in the region, and Senior Services is established.

2001: Blount Memorial's senior community, MorningView Village, opens, as does Home Equipment Services and EASE: Elder Assessment Service. 

November 2001: Work begins on the Blount Memorial Transitional Care Center at MorningView.

2002: Occupational therapy is added to rehabilitation offerings, the hospital's Web site is launched, a health information center is opened at the Blount County Public Library; and the first bariatric surgery is performed.

2003: Blount Memorial's 320-space parking garage opens, rehabilitation expands to include speech-language pathology, and the Transitional Care Center at MorningView Village opens. Also, a palliative care department is created, and the Foundation conducts its first-ever employee giving campaign, netting more than $448,000. Additionally, the hospital experiences more than 10,000 annual admissions and the pharmacy starts an anticoagulation Coumadin Clinic.

2004: The employee couont tops 2,000 with a payroll of $67 million, pediatric rehabilitation is offered and a partnership with Lincoln Memorial University provides a nursing associates degree program, consolidating nursing education programs at the Joan M. Jackson Health Career Center in Alcoa. A physician portal and Parkway Psychiatric Service also are created.

2005: A barcode medication administration system is implemented, CONCERN expands to offering outpatient counseling services, and a new outpatient diagnostic center opens at the Health Center at Springbrook. 

Aug. 28, 2005: More than 500 community members attend the grand-opening festivities of the Blount Memorial Cancer Center, outpatient entrance, medical library and chapel. Additionally, an emergency department renovation and expansion is completed, increasing capacity from 18 to 27 beds.

2006: The Cancer Center holds its first overnight retreat for female cancer patients, the Breast Health Center opens in a new location with digital mammography capabilities, a forced-air warming system is introduced, the Foundation holds a tennis fundraiser with pros John McEnroe and James Blake, a pharmacy residency program is introduced, the Atrium Cafe opens and the hospice program celebrates 25 years of service.

2007: The first MorningView Village Senior Community resident celebrates a 100th birthday.

2007: The first EKG is transmitted to Blount Memorial Hospital’s emergency department via bluetooth technology from a Rural/Metro Ambulance in the field.

2007: A computerized patient record and tracking system is installed in the Blount Memorial Hospital emergency department,

2007: Blount Memorial Hospital is awarded the Energy Star award for energy consumption efforts.

2007: The Good Samaritan Clinic celebrates its 10th anniversary.

2007: An all-digital picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is added to Blount Memorial Hospital’s radiology department.

2007: The Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook hosts its first 10K run/walk in celebration of its 10th anniversary.

2007: Blount Memorial Hospital offers free wireless internet access for patients and visitors.

2007: Blount Memorial weight loss and diabetes management programs are consolidated to form the Blount Memorial Weight Management Center. Programs include surgical weight loss options, non-surgical weight loss options and diabetes management offerings.

July 23, 2007: The Blount Memorial Auxiliary surpasses 1 million volunteer hours.

July 24, 2007: Blount Memorial Hospital celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Jan. 10, 2008: Breast MRI imaging is added to Blount Memorial Breast Health Center’s slate of offerings.

Jan. 31, 2008: Renovations complete on a new $2.9 million project to create a dedicated nursing unit for oncology patients receiving inpatient care and outpatient treatments.

Feb. 5, 2008: Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is added to the Blount Memorial Cancer Center.

2008: The Blount Memorial Auxiliary celebrates its 60th anniversary.

2008: A lymphedema therapy program is created to provide the highly specialized complex decongestive therapy required to effectively treat and manage lymphedema, a condition that leads to abnormal swelling in the soft tissues of the limbs.

Jan. 1, 2009: Blount Memorial Hospital acquires Appalachian Therapy Center and Cherokee Health and Fitness Center. This expands the rehabilitation offerings and adds two outpatient clinics, while also adding a second Wellness Center.

2009: The Blount Memorial Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary.

2009: Blount Memorial Hospital purchases a $2.1 million da Vinci Si robotic-assisted surgical system, allowing for shorter hospital stays for surgeries, including prostate, gynecologic and bariatric procedures.

2009: Blount Memorial Hospital ranked No. 1 in Tennessee and in the top 5 percent in the nation for coronary intervention procedures according to Healthgrades. The hospital also receives a 5-star rating for cardiology services – something only 15 percent of the nation’s hospitals achieved in 2009.

Dec. 22, 2009: The Blount Memorial Transitional Care Center at MorningView Village receives top rating of five stars for nursing home care from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

June 30, 2010: After more than 25 years, Joseph Dawson retires from his role as administrator of Blount Memorial Hospital.

July 1, 2010: Chief operating officer Don Heinemann is named chief executive officer of Blount Memorial Hospital.

Sept. 9, 2010: Blount Memorial Hospital and Walmart open “The Clinic at Walmart,” operated by Blount Memorial Hospital, a walk-in clinic located inside the Alcoa Walmart store.

2010: The Blount County Community Health Initiative, through Blount Memorial Hospital, receives a $125,000 Drug Free Communities grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Jan. 1, 2011: Blount Memorial Hospital and all of its properties become tobacco-free facilities.

2011: Blount Memorial Hospice and Palliative Care celebrates 30 years of hospice care.

2012: The Blount Memorial Weight Management Center marks its 10th anniversary with more than 1,400 bariatric procedures performed and more than 130,000 pounds lost.

Feb. 28, 2012: Perfect Fit, a new retail store offering mastectomy and compression-related products opens at Blount Memorial.

May 10, 2012: A University of Tennessee economic research study looks at the overall economic contribution of Blount Memorial Hospital in Blount County. The study finds the hospital is directly or indirectly responsible for nearly 15 percent of all county employment and more than 20 percent of all Blount County incomes, spurring more than $566 million in incomes in the county.

May 18, 2012: Blount Memorial’s Cancer Survivors Day Celebration marks its 15th anniversary, with more than 300 people in attendance.

June 6, 2012: Blount Memorial Hospital is honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits.

June 13, 2012: Blount Memorial Hospital and East Tennessee Medical Group enter into an agreement for Blount Memorial to employ ETMG physicians and purchase the practice’s real estate and practice assets.

July 9, 2012: Blount Memorial Hospital offers thoracic care services by working with The University of Tennessee Medical Center thoracic surgeons who will see and treat patients at Blount Memorial.

July 24, 2012: Blount Memorial Hospital is recognized with Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers by the Joint Commission and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

July 24, 2012: Blount Memorial Hospital celebrates its 65th anniversary.

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