Talk of a Hospital
In 1888, Mt. Vernon, Illinois was struck by a devastating tornado that highlighted the community's need for a hospital. The following years saw a string of short-lived hospital efforts in the community that faltered from financial problems, fires or the star of World War I. Then, in 1919 Dr. Thompson opened the 7-bed Mt. Vernon Hospital, also known as Thompson Hospital. Within its first year, the Hospital expanded to 24 beds.
Mt. Vernon Hospital continued until 1934 when Dr. Thompson and his son Dr. Harry Thompson requested assistance from the Belleville Diocese to locate an order of Catholic Sisters to take over. The Sister of St. Francis began negotiations in 1939 to lead the Hospital, but stalled over the next years. In 1943, the Hospital was forced to close due to Dr. Thompson's declining health, inadequate staffing and high costs.
Welcome Sisters of St. Francis
Mt. Vernon Hospital was then purchased by Carl Schweinfurth, a Mt. Vernon businessman, who gifted it to the Sisters of St. Francis.
In 1944, the Sisters of St. Francis renamed the hospital to Good Samaritan Hospital. Later that year, the hospital was recognized in the American Hospital Association Registry. And by December of the same year, the hospital was designated a depot for storing and distributing penicillin by the Office of Civilian Penicillin Distribution of the War Production Board.
Soon, the hospital expanded from 23 to 32 beds and plans were underway for additional expansion and remodeling.
In 1946, Good Samaritan Hospital became a member of the Illinois Hospital Association and was incorporated as a not-for-profit. The Hills Burton Funds of $700,000 were approved and allowed for the creation of a new hospital. Good Samaritan was the first hospital in the nation to be approved by U.S. Surgeon-General and first approved by Illinois under the Federal-State local share-cost program. This meant that the hospital and/or local community were responsible for a third of the construction bill while Federal and State will each be responsible for another third.
In 1950, the cornerstone for the new hospital was placed and the facility opened with 100 beds on April 27, 1952. Good Samaritan continued to grow and expanded its capacity again in 1962 with a third floor addition that added 10 beds and 10 bassinets. By 1968, the hospital was fully accredited with the Joint Commission.
In 1971, Good Samaritan Hospital was designated an area-wide Trauma Center by the state of Illinois, one of the first states to award this designation. By 1980, funds were again being raised for additional building efforts. Then, in 1983, Good Samaritan Hospital became the first small hospital in Southern Illinois to be accredited by the Illinois State Medical Society to grant CMW credit for its programs in education.
Enter SSM Health
In 1987, Good Samaritan Hospital signed a brief lease agreement with AHM, who had been running the hospital. Ties were broke in 1988 and Good Samaritan Hospital joined the SSM Health Care System, a Catholic system headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. It was renamed Good Samaritan Regional Health Center.
In 1990, the hospital went tobacco-free as part of the Great American Smokeout.
In 1991, the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Providence of God leave the hospital. Then in 1996, Good Samaritan and St. Mary's Hospital enter into an agreement to create an integrated health care organization in the region.
In 1997, Good Samaritan was awarded the Lincoln Award for Excellence, Illinois' top quality honor. Then in 2002, the entire SSM Health Care organization became the first health care system to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest honor.
The newest Good Samaritan location opened on Jan. 27, 2013. It was renamed in August 2015 to SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mt. Vernon.