As Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) celebrates its 70th anniversary this month amidst a national pandemic, the small community hospital originally established in 1950 continues to evolve to meet the needs of the community to which it is dedicated. From its start as a community hospital serving Garrett County, GRMC has grown into a true regional medical center serving a population of 46,000 people living in eight counties across three states. It has also become one of Garrett County’s largest employers with more than 500 team members.
The history of the hospital dates back to 1946, when George W. Loar, a resident of Oakland, left the town $135,000 in his will to be used for the construction of a county hospital. On May 15, 1950, Garrett County Memorial Hospital officially opened its doors. Today, GRMC has grown into an award winning, progressive, Joint Commission accredited acute care facility with 55 inpatient beds and a plethora of outpatient services.
“From our modest beginning as a small county hospital, our commitment to patient care and the community has never changed,” said GRMC President and CEO Mark Boucot. “We’ve worked to create a hospital able to provide the services people need, and the services we’ve provided over the years have reflected the changes and growth in the health care industry. That is certainly the case today. One of the best things that I was able to do when I came to GRMC was to develop the History Hall. Through creating the memorial to the hospital’s history, I learned about the hospital and the people who formed it. I’m grateful to be here and to cherish the unique history we have and the hospital it’s become.”
In 2015, the hospital became clinically affiliated with West Virginia University Medicine, and Garrett County Memorial Hospital officially became Garrett Regional Medical Center. The new affiliation allowed GRMC to greatly expand services, which now include cardiopulmonary, heart and vascular, cancer care, infusion therapy, nephrology, orthopedics, wound care, behavioral health, dermatology, and a host of other outpatient services not typically found in a rural hospital setting.
GRMC has received numerous national recognitions for quality of care, patient outcomes, and patient safety. This year the hospital was awarded a coveted 5-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, named a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital by the Chartis Group, and received an ‘A’ grade by the Leapfrog Group for their achievements in providing safe, high quality health care.
“As GRMC reaches the significant milestone of its 70th anniversary, I want to recognize our incredible physicians, providers, and staff for their dedication to our mission to treat every patient like family,” said Boucot. “They live that mission, every day. It’s so humbling to think of all the talented and dedicated people that worked here over the years and those who work here today. I’m honored to be in a leadership role here.”
GRMC is the top-rated hospital in the state of Maryland for reducing hospital-acquired conditions, and has had the lowest readmission rate in the state for the past five years. GRMC’s surgical site infection rate of 0.08% is far below the national average of 1.9%. It is ranked among the top 50 hospitals in the United States for its low readmission rates for both COPD patients and for patients diagnosed with sepsis.
This year the hospital has faced unique challenges as healthcare facilities across the country adapt to a global pandemic.
“We are experiencing a watershed moment in healthcare,” said Boucot. “As we face new challenges, the efforts of our staff will be remembered as an important part of our history for years to come. I am very grateful for those who make our hospital a special place. What we have accomplished over the years, even during these challenging times, is truly amazing.”