50 Years of GRMC

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The year was 1965. Lyndon B. Johnson was president, gas averaged at 31 cents a gallon, the civil rights movement was in full swing, and Medicare was passed into law.

That same year, Guadalupe Valley Hospital opened up for business on Court Street. Even though the new hospital offered many up-to-the-minute conveniences, the technology we take for granted today – like remote patient monitoring and cath lab equipment, MRI imaging, and robotic-assisted surgery – would have been considered works of science fiction by most of the people who attended the new hospital’s dedication on August 29, 1965.

Fifty years later, those example of advanced medicine – and many more- are found in all aspects of patient care at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center. In celebration of our 50th anniversary, we’re taking a look back at some of the most important events of our history, and the milestones we’ve passed along the way:

Early Years of Healthcare Innovation

The remarkable story of our hospital actually begins in 1946, when a 26-bed Seguin Hospital on Weinert Street in Seguin, TX opened as a gutsy venture by two World War II veteran Army nurses – Sarah Hazard and Dorothea Siepmann – who took out a $26,000 federal government loan to purchase and renovate the county’s only hospital.

The young innovators introduced a number of post-war medical advances, including the use of penicillin, sulfa drugs, blood transfusions, and X-rays. The advances that the hospital implemented in this era attracted new physicians from across the country, a trend that continues at GRMC today.

By 1959, Seguin’s physicians launched a campaign to begin a new era of growth for the hospital – but a bond package to fund the expansion failed at the polls. Reported the Seguin Enterprise: “In this age of industrialization, Seguin must provide better hospital facilities if it is to continue to lead the area in drawing industry.”

From Guadalupe Valley Hospital to GRMC

Guadalupe County commissioners voted to purchase the Seguin Hospital in 1961 as an interim emergency measure. Renamed Guadalupe Valley Hospital (GVH), the facility’s small staff of less than 40 was assisted by the volunteers from the newly formed Hospital Auxiliary, who charged themselves with nurturing the hospital’s “…spiritual conscience – the vital elements of warmth and friendliness so essential to the patient’s recovery and rehabilitation.”

The following year, voters overwhelmingly approved an ambitious bond package of $450,000, spearheaded by a citizens’ committee, to support the hospital’s continued expansion. Additionally, the City of Seguin and Guadalupe County pledged to split annual payments to the hospital, marking the birth of the unique city-county ownership collaboration that still exists today. A dedication for the stylish, ultra-contemporary 64-bed hospital was held in August of 1965. In 2005, the facility was renamed Guadalupe Regional Medical Center.

Changes, Growth, and a Trio of Leadership

Between 1965 and 2015, the hospital grew from a staff of less than 40 to more than 700, a volunteer base of 64 to 160-plus, annual admissions of 1,750 to nearly 5,000, and implemented innumerable changes in the way that patients receive care.

However, our hospital has only had three chief executives during that time – another unusual aspect of our history given the turnover that typically characterizes most hospital executive posts in the healthcare industry:

Luella Huffman Brown (1961-1977) Known as the “First Lady of Guadalupe Valley Hospital” and an efficient and strategic trailblazer who pushed for a hospital with the capability to grow with the community.

Don L. Richey (1977-2003): Noted for his vision for expansion of the ICU and other specialty departments, development of collaborative partnerships, and capital improvements and land acquisition that led to the hospital facility we know today.

Robert G. Haynes (2003-Today): A gifted administrator with a passion for developing talent, building relationships, and the continued delivery of advanced medical care that never loses the human touch.

The Next 50 Years:

Over the last decade, GRMC has grown into a strong, diversified team with specialized training in dozens of healthcare disciplines, invested $100 million in building transformations that doubled the facility’s size, opened up a state-of-the-art Wellness Center, and introduced new technology and service lines that have significantly expanded the community’s access to advanced healthcare.

But there’s one aspect of GRMC that’s remained unchanged: A passion for making a positive difference in the lives of our patients.

“This I know : Take care of patients first and foremost, and the rest will follow,” says GRMC CEO Robert Haynes.  “Our roots and our focus will always be grounded in community pride, an expectation for top-quality care, and the recognition that it is our privilege to care for Seguin and the surrounding communities.”

“It’s my honor to be the third administrator for this hospital and to follow in the visionary footsteps of Mrs. Huffman Brown and Mr. Richey,” adds Mr. Haynes. The best is yet to come!”