The Early Years
After receiving a bequest from Kenneth H. McKenzie, a local banker and merchant, in 1959 the community of Sandusky began the planning for the construction of their own local hospital. Although the amount donated was not enough to finance the cost of the much-needed medical facility, the donation set in motion resources for the facility to be developed.
In October of 1964, after extensive planning, the hospital association purchased property to allow construction of the hospital to begin. Over the next 18 months, the community pulled together and the effort applied allowed them to place the first shovel in the ground in April of 1966. This effort and the time within which the whole project was accomplished, are quite remarkable by any standard. In June of 1967 McKenzie Memorial Hospital held their ribbon cutting ceremony in Sandusky, Michigan.
In May of 1973 a new wing was added, which included semi-private rooms and an intensive care unit. In 1980 an out-patient clinic with four suites was built to house specialty physicians visiting Sandusky. In 1998 another addition was added that included a new radiology center, a dining room addition, remodeling in the inpatient area, air-conditioning, energy efficient windows and a new medical office building housing Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation.
As healthcare financing became increasingly difficult to manage, a new designation was sought and approved in October of 2002, called Critical Access Hospital (CAH) certification. In 2003 some of the beds were approved for short-term rehabilitation services known as Swing Beds. Both the CAH status and the Swing Bed program have helped McKenzie deal with declining healthcare payments.
Once again there was a need for additional space to house Physical Therapy and associated rehabilitation services, and this resulted in the McKenzie Health and Wellness Center being built in July of 2005. Due to declining financial support for Obstetrical services, the service was closed in November of 2007.
A New Name and Focus for a New Millennium
Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act in March of 2010, McKenzie changed its name to better reflect the broader range of services offered to the community: McKenzie Health System.
In 2014, McKenzie Health System became a founding member of a newly formed group called the National Rural Accountable Care Organization, which is a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved by Accountable Care Organization. This program, along with our Patient Centered Medical Home certifications, provided for the change in how we deliver care. The change in delivery of care is one whereby McKenzie is transitioning away from sickness and volume to wellness and value. McKenzie was the only critical access hospital in Michigan that began pursuing this transformation in 2014, and still is considered a leader in changing how to deliver care.
What has become clear at McKenzie Health System is that we are progressive and embrace the necessary changes required to manage local community populations. We are proud of the leadership role we are playing in the healthcare community within Michigan and nationally, we hope you are equally proud in what your local hospital is accomplishing as well.