In the mid-1940’s, the Keosauqua Commercial Club began to work toward the goal of establishing a hospital in Van Buren County. Through a community fund drive, the community leaders raised $75,000. An additional $92,000 was obtained through the federally funded Hill-Burton program. The hospital was among the first in the state to receive Hill-Burton funds.
In 1946, 70% of the county voters elected to establish the new hospital. The hospital opened in 1951, equipped for 20 acute care patients and seven newborns. In 1962, voters approved, by a 75.49% margin, a $300,000 bond issue. An additional $170,000 in federal funds was received to build additions, expanding the hospital capacity to 40 beds.
In 1984, the hospital board contracted with Sisters of Mary of the Presentation Health Corporation of Fargo, North Dakota to manage the facility. During the mid-to-late 80’s, the hospital was redecorated and modernized.
The 1990’s brought significant changes to the hospital. The hospital established an affiliation with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Through this affiliation and other arrangements with area hospitals, over 20 specialty clinics were established.
The hospital opened the county’s only state licensed child care center in 1990 and a regional Ag Health and Safety Center in 1991. In 1992, Van Buren County Hospital opened the county’s only Job Opportunities Center, helping residents find employment. And, also in 1992, a regional wholesale bakery was opened through the hospital’s kitchen. In 1993, four rural health clinics were established in Douds, Stockport, Cantril and Birmingham Iowa.
In 1994, the hospital was one of four hospitals in the state to participate in a $7.2 million National Library of Medicine grant. The grant funded the establishment of a telemedicine network which enabled VBCH to have immediate two-way audio and visual communications with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Ottumwa Regional Medical Center, and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
In 1997, the hospital completed a major expansion project. A generous donation from the late Hollis and Kathleen Arnold estate was followed by a capital campaign through which businesses and residents in or associated with Van Buren County raised $1.1 million toward this new expansion.
The $4.4 million expansion included space for our active medical staff; visiting specialists, emergency room, physical therapy, cardio pulmonary rehabilitation, respiratory therapy, laboratory services, radiology, and occupational therapy departments.
On May 1, 2002, the hospital began operating as a Critical Access Hospital.
In 2003, Van Buren County Hospital doubled the size of its physical therapy department to accommodate the expanded number of physical therapy patients the hospital serves.
In 2004, the hospital opened Village Terrace, a 10-unit apartment complex for senior assisted living, attached to the hospital. That same year, the hospital opened a new operating room/ recovery suite and a new acute care wing with all private beds.
In 2005, the hospital board voted to begin a multi-year, multisite project to replace or remodel its existing rural clinics. In 2005, the hospital, in conjunction with the Douds Masonic Lodge, remodeled the downstairs of the Masonic Lodge into the new Vickie Butler/ Douds Medical Clinic. The clinic is utilized by patients from a three-county area and is a nice addition to the main street of Douds, Iowa.
In 2006, the hospital remodeled the Farmington Medical Clinic, replacing the flooring, interior walls, carpeting, ceiling tile, desk, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. This “gut-remodeling” project provided the residents of Farmington and the surrounding area with an essentially new clinic, with larger rooms and enhanced privacy.
In 2006, the hospital also opened its new Birmingham Clinic, a $240,000 project which provided the residents in the northern half of Van Buren County and southern Jefferson County a new medical clinic, located right on Highway 1. The clinic features enhanced patient privacy, large rooms, extended clinic evening hours, and a soothing prairie view.
In 2007, the hospital purchased a building on Bonaparte's Main Street and remodeled it into a new, with an historic flair, medical clinic.
In 2007, the hospital purchased land for the construction of its new Fox River Clinic, located on Highway 2, convenient for the residents of Cantril, Milton, and Davis County. The clinic opened in late 2007.