From well-child checks to hospice care, Big Sandy Medical Center is your one stop shop for all your Primary Care and Emergency Medical Care needs!
Big Sandy first became a town in 1887 with the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad. While there were several "town doctors" over the years, by the 1960s, it became clear that to keep a doctor in the community, he would need a place to work and care for patients. The doctor's office that was located above the McNamara and Marlow store would no longer suffice. With the advancements in technology and medical care and a growing population, something had to be done! In 1962, efforts began to raise funds to build a medical facility. It took 3 years to raise the funds, finalize plans, and build the dream, but the community came together and successfully built the Big Sandy Medical Center (BSMC) in 1965. It was originally built as a nine bed hospital with a medical clinic attached. Dr. Ross Vilardo was the first doctor employed by BSMC and Bud Gullickson was the first administrator. They both worked with the Board of Directors, Edward Beaudette, Ken Heen, Alfred Ophus, Howard Hammond, and Dale Skaalure, to help make the venture successful.
While BMSC was a full service hospital and clinic for many years, the practitioners stopped performing surgeries and delivering babies inside the facility in the 1980s. In fact, the last baby born inside BSMC was Ross Beaudette in 1985 delivered Dr. Patrick Murphy. Federal and State regulations were changing drastically at that time too, requiring the Board of Directors to take a deeper look at the services that were provided by the facility. They quickly realized the community would benefit from expanding to 24-hour nursing care. So in 1985, the locals came together once again, issuing a bond to build a 22-bed nursing home. This created the need for more staff and allowed BSMC to become one of the largest employers in the area.
As laws and regulations have continued to change, the facility has continued to make updates. In 1997, a remodel project was completed to get the building up to "code." Changes that included becoming handicap accessible per the Americans with Disabilities Act, and updates to the electrical and ventilation codes. There was some expansion in the clinic and laboratory at that time as well.
In 2019, the facility again needed to make changes to their operations to keep up with the evolving regulations of the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) and reimbursement strategies. The facility dropped it's Long Term Care License and became a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, with the Rural Health Clinic still operational.
In 2021, the fire suppression system was replaced and the addition of more infection control measures were brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2022, another building was acquired just south of the facility to become the BSMC Wellness Center. This allowed expansion of our Physical Therapy offerings as well as Chiropractic care.
Technology is advancing faster than ever, so more changes will be made in 2023-2024 to allow for the addition of a CT Machine. A neighbouring lot was donated to the facility by the Peterson family and a building acquired to become the new Rural Health Clinic. Moving the clinic into a new space will allow the room needed for the new equipment, more changes to be ADA complaint, and more office space to allow staff continue to serve the community in the best ways possible. The hospital will continue to operate as a Critical Access Hospital with Long-term swing bed patients residing there, and a fully functional Emergency Department. The kitchen is also gaining an addition in 2023 to allow more space for storage and meal preparations.
Many of these continued updates would not be possible without the help of the Big Sandy Medical Guild. This service organization was started the same year the facility was built and has donated thousands of dollars and many volunteer hours to help with routine updates, equipment purchases, and other needs around the facility. The Big Sandy Medical Foundation has also been a tremendous support for the facility. Both of these organizations, as well as the Board of Directors are all supported by volunteers from the area, proving Big Sandy Medial Center is still a priority for the community.