Bingham Memorial Hospital's History
Bingham Memorial Hospital is a state-of-the art, non-profit critical access hospital located in Blackfoot, Idaho, and also has healthcare facilities in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Shelley, Idaho.
Established in 1950, Bingham Memorial has become one of the leading and award-winning healthcare providers in east Idaho. Bingham Memorial opened with six doctors and today has a medical staff of over 150 physicians. While Bingham County has a population of roughly 42,000 people, 12,000 of whom reside in Blackfoot, Bingham Memorial Hospital, physicians’ offices, clinics, and skilled care facilities employ over 1,000 people.
Despite Bingham Memorial’s growth for more than 65 years, our mission and vision remain the same—we are committed to the pursuit of excellence in their endeavor to provide a continuum of quality and compassionate healthcare services for their residents and the visitors to Bingham County in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.
As a leader in physician and hospital synergy, Bingham Memorial offers over 100 types of patient services, including in-patient, out-patient, critical care, emergency, rehabilitation, same day surgery, and transitional care services.
Bingham Memorial has developed solid partnerships with world-class physicians in the region, and these relationships with physicians and other medical centers provide patients with access to premier medical services. Their medical staff is highly trained and extremely competent, and works hard every day of the year to provide high quality healthcare services in a caring and compassionate manner that the community and patients have come to cherish.
The hospital employs around-the-clock, board-certified emergency room physicians, provides the community with all major physician specialists, and offers a variety of choices for primary care physicians. Their exquisite team of physicians and staff have extensive understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of illness that affect all ages—from newborns to the elderly. Premier surgical services are provided at Bingham Memorial, whether patients are having their tonsils removed or major spine surgery. They offer state-of-the-art lab and x-ray services, and use the latest technology in pulmonary rehabilitation. They utilize progressive rehabilitation and therapy programs, where they treat the patient, not just the illness.
Bingham Memorial provides over 20 in-patient services, such as cardiology, internal medicine, interventional radiology, obstetrics, orthopedics, and pediatric care.
In addition, Bingham Memorial offers a variety of outpatient services, including chemotherapy, dialysis, occupational therapy, speech therapy and sports medicine.
The hospital and their affiliates also offers local services from a growing number of specialty physicians through ever increasing utilization of time share opportunities through the Idaho Physicians’ Clinic, formerly known as the Bingham Community Health Clinic.
The Early Years
Bingham Memorial Hospital first opened its doors as a county general hospital on August 19, 1950. Due to the increasing population, the residents of Bingham County required a more accessible hospital in Blackfoot even though Bannock Memorial and St. Anthony’s were in operation in Pocatello, and Idaho Falls had the Sacred Heart and LDS Hospitals. The citizens of Bingham County started planning and fundraising in 1927 and, 23 years later, the 60-bed hospital was constructed with matching funds from the Hill Burton Act at a cost of $537,000.
In 1950, the hospital was first served by a dedicated team of medical staff:
- Dr. Merrill Packer
- Dr. A.E. Miller, Sr.
- Dr. Walter Hoge
- Dr. W.W. Bill Beck
- Dr. Preston
- Dr. Kenneth McGinnis
In its second year of operation, Dr. Dean Packer, Dr. J.O. Hampton and Dr. Ralph Goates joined the staff.
1960 through the 1970s
In the late 1970s, Bingham Memorial was remodeled and additional space was made available by building around the existing exterior of the facility. In 1969, a 50 bed skilled nursing home—Bingham County Nursing Home—was built adjacent to the hospital by Brennan Construction Company of Pocatello at a cost of $425,000.
In October of 1979, along with the hospital remodel, a 28-bed Living Center was designed by two local architects: Tony Wegner and Mike Henderson of Design West. Their dreams became a reality as construction soon began, supervised by the Christiansen Brothers. The total cost of the hospital project and living center was $4.7 million.
1980 through the 1990s
In 1984, a new physical therapy department and the expansion of the laboratory and nuclear medicine department was added. The emergency department was remodeled in 1993 to provide more efficient and confidential care. And, following delivery of care trends and patient preferences, the obstetrics area was remodeled in 1995 to include an updated labor and delivery area as well as a beautiful recovery and postpartum rooms.
In 1997, a $3.5 million nursing home construction project started, which became the Bingham Extended Care Facility (now Bingham Memorial Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center). The facility was built to accommodate 100 skilled-care residents. In addition, a five-bed intensive care unit was opened at Bingham Memorial.
The Dawn of a New Millennium
In 2000 and 2001, the surgical suites and patient rooms were remodeled and upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment. Also, to continue to meet the growing needs of the citizens of Bingham County, a rural health clinic opened in 2001 and, a year later, a fixed MRI and sleep lab were added.
The Bingham Health Care Foundation was also established in 2000 to promote private and corporate donations to the hospital to continue meeting the needs of the residents of Bingham County. Prior to the formation of this foundation, contributions to the Hospital and Skilled Nursing Facility were received from such functions as the Charity Ball and the community Christmas Tree Fantasy.
In 2004 and 2005, Bingham Memorial was granted Critical Access designation, which provides for cost-based reimbursement from Medicare, and the Mountain River Birthing and Surgical Center was acquired.
A dialysis center was opened in 2006 and, a year later, the newly updated and renovated Bingham Memorial Birthing Center opened. The former Mountain River Birthing Center became what is now known as the Idaho Doctor’s Hospital—a hospital jointly owned with physicians, specializing in spine surgeries.
A major milestone occurred on July 1, 2007 when Bingham Memorial Hospital converted to a 501(c)3 corporation. The hospital property and facilities are now leased from Bingham County and managed by BMH, Inc. The change in governance removed the responsibilities of managing the hospital from the county government and placed it in the hands of BMH, Inc. As part of the arrangement, BMH, Inc. has paid over $2 million (this amount will change annually) to Bingham County through yearly payment programs. Providing yet another benefit to the citizens of Bingham County.
In February 2009, Bingham Memorial entered into a joint venture with local physicians to construct the Bingham Memorial Medical Plaza, a medical office building, which is adjacent to the hospital and accessible through a sky bridge over Poplar Street.
With Bingham Memorial’s increasing pool of talent, extensive network of affiliates, and commitment to patient-care, the hospital is uniquely positioned to steer medical practices in directions that will benefit southeast Idaho for years to come.