The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia opened St. Elizabeth Hospital on Aug. 24, 1897, in response to a request by Archbishop William L. Gross. Through the years, St. Elizabeth Health Services continued to serve the healthcare needs of the Baker City community and surrounding areas.
Initially, the hospital, staffed by just three sisters, was located at the corner of Second and Church streets. It was in a renovated building that had been St. Francis Academy which was operated by the sisters. During St. Elizabeth Hospital's first year, the sisters provided care to 115 patients, many of whom were local gold miners.
These men were covered by a unique kind of health insurance. For a contribution of one dollar a month, each miner received complete health care services, an arrangement that made St. Elizabeth Hospital one of the earliest health maintenance organizations in the country.
In 1912 construction began on a 115-bed facility that was completed in 1915. During the influenza epidemic of that time, many influenza patients were treated at the hospital, and the sisters also went to private homes to care for people.
Since then, the times and healthcare standards have changed, and St. Elizabeth Hospital has changed too. In 1967, it became apparent a new facility and support services were needed. As a result, the Sisters took another step forward, initiating the construction of a 50-bed, one-story hospital in April 1969. It opened in October 1970.
In this current home, general nursing care is provided, as well as specialized services in the departments of: rehabilitation, home health, respiratory therapy, laboratory, radiology, intensive care-coronary care, obstetrics, surgery, post-anesthesia recovery, pastoral care, patient services—patient education, and emergency care with 24 hour, in-house coverage.
In May 1987 an 80-bed, one-story facility was completed to house a nursing home adjoining the Hospital. The facility was then renamed St. Elizabeth Hospital and Health Care Center.
In the summer of 1992, St. Elizabeth Hospital and Health Care Center found a need to add another 40 beds to the nursing home. Due to changes in the healthcare needs, a skilled care unit was included as part of this addition.
In May 1996, the Franciscan Health System joined with two other systems to create what is now Catholic Health Initiatives. Through this consolidation, the strength of other experiences has contributed to a stable foundation that we can build on in these challenging economic times. During this process, St. Elizabeth Hospital and Health Care Center was renamed St. Elizabeth Health Services.
In July of 2003, St. Elizabeth Health Services became a critical access hospital. Currently, we are licensed for 25 beds in the hospital and 90 beds in the Care Center.
On April 1, 2010, we joined Trinity Health and formed the Saint Alphonsus Health System (made up of hospitals in Boise and Nampa, ID and Baker City and Ontario, OR). In the middle of September 2010, our name changed to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center — Baker City.