Medical Center Hospital has provided care to the Permian Basin for 68 years. Opening December 5, 1949 as an 85-bed community hospital, MCH met an important need for Odessa. Over the years, MCH has expanded and added services and technology to meet the growing needs of the community. Today, MCH has grown into a 402-bed Level II Trauma Center with over 2,500 employees and 350 physicians.
A Hospital is Born
In 1948, there were three hospitals in Odessa. Dr. Elbert Thorton owned a six-bed hospital, Dr. Emmett Headlee owned the Headlee Hospital, which is now the Ector County Library and Dr. J.K. Wood owned a 34-bed facility called Wood Hospital.
Due to the need for more healthcare services, a group of citizens, spearheaded by Dr. Wood, met with the Ector County Commissioners to propose a new hospital for Odessa. The commissioners recognized the need and C.C. Gibson was soon hired as the hospital administrator.
After nearly two years of construction, the Ector County Hospital was dedicated on November 27, 1949. And on December 5, 1949, the doors were opened for patients. This 85-bed community hospital, which cost $838,946 to build, would later be called Medical Center Hospital.
The hospital served about 6,000 patients a year in the early years. As the number of patients grew, so did the hospital. First a three-story addition was created, then a seven-story tower and then a second seven-story tower. “It was only three floors when it started,” says Betty Johnson, an 84-year-old Auxiliary member. “It’s gone up now and several new buildings have been added on.”
Creation of ECHD
MCH has a history of growth and quality, but it still faced some challenging times. During the ‘80s Medical Center Hospital experienced financial difficulties. After some failed financial recovery attempts by private management companies, Odessa rallied to rescue the hospital and voted to create the Ector County Hospital District in 1989. “It was terrible trying to keep the hospital going,” remembers Dr. Life Barnard, who was Chief of Staff at the time. “You almost had to beg for money for Kleenex. The creation of the board was a great asset to the hospital and the community. It has made it possible for all the expansion.”
Mary Thompson, an Ector County Hospital District board member since its creation, agrees with Dr. Barnard. She says the hospital district and sales tax has had a significant impact on MCH. “Had the hospital district not been created and had the sales tax initiative not been passed, we would not be where we are today,” she says. “It’s been instrumental in providing high quality care to our supportive community.”
From a Hospital to a Health System
Over time, Medical Center Hospital has become more than a 402-bed facility by opening multiple clinics throughout Odessa. These include the Family Health Clinic on Clements and West University, the Clinics at Walmart in both Odessa Walmart locations and the Center for Health & Wellness on Faudree and Highway 191. Because of MCH’s growth outside the four walls of the hospital, Medical Center Health System (MCHS) was introduced in October 2010.
At the same time that Medical Center Health System was introduced, the Center for Health
& Wellness opened its doors at East Highway 191 and Faudree Road. This center includes
Mission Fitness, ProCare Internal Medicine, Laboratory, Diabetes Center and Radiology.
Since 2010, MCHS has continued to open clinics at various locations to make
healthcare more accessible. In 2014, MCHS opened the Center for Primary Care
– JBS Parkway and the Center for Primary Care – West University that include
Urgent Care clinics, pediatric and family medicine services.MCHS now operates four Urgent Care clinics, two Clinics at Walmart and two Family Health Clinic locations.
The future is bright for MCHS with continued expansion, renovation and progress. “The forecast shows even more growth in the Permian Basin over the next decade and we plan to continue to meet the increased healthcare needs in our community in the coming years,” says Bill Webster, CEO of Medical Center Health System. Whenever you need us, wherever you are, Medical Center Health System has your family covered. We’re your one source for health.