Peter Adamo, former CEO of Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol Township, addresses
the audience Thursday at the hospital's 60th anniversary celebration
on September 17, 2015.
By Anthony DiMattia, STAFF WRITER | Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2015 11:45 pm
Bucks County native Stephen Long was back at Lower Bucks Hospital on Thursday,
roughly six decades after becoming the first baby born inside the Bristol
"I was the last of 12 kids and my mother had anticipated going to
the Philadelphia Hospital ... so (my father) said 'let's go to
the new hospital, I don't know if they're open but let's go,'
" Long said. "So my dad bee-lined it here and, sure enough,
they were greeted with welcome arms. I don't think my mom set foot
in the hospital but for a few minutes and I came."
Long was among hundreds of community members to join past and present hospital
officials and staff Thursday to celebrate the hospital's 60th anniversary.
Following a brief ceremony in the parking lot off Bath Road, attendees
funneled inside for a glimpse of some old hospital artifacts before heading
on a tour of the building.
"This is truly a special day," said Linda Grass, who joined the
hospital as its new CEO about a month ago. "Sixty years is a long
time, but more importantly it shows resilience and a sustainability during
some really tough times. Health care has many challenges ... but this
hospital has done a phenomenal job with braving the tides."
In 1950, a group from the Bucks County Rescue Squad approached Otto Haas,
the then president of Rohm and Haas, about a donation to help launch a
new modern local health care facility. Haas pledged $100,000 and a community
fundraising effort was launched with the goal of raising $1.5 million
from the 15 municipalities that the hospital would service. The "kick
off" campaign began May 15, 1951 with a gathering of 100 people at
Bristol High School.
"We built this hospital by payroll deduction," said Delores Brown,
former chairwoman of the Lower Bucks Hospital board of directors. "Everybody
wanted to sign up. They had about 50 cents to a dollar taken out of their
paychecks up to $100 to $200."
Roughly 60 percent of the funds to construct the $3.5-million facility
came through community efforts, with the rest funneled from the federal
government through the Hill-Burton Act.
Construction of the new 150-bed hospital began Nov. 2, 1952, following
a groundbreaking ceremony attended by former Congressman Karl C. King.
On Oct. 30, 1954, the community gathered to formally dedicate the completed
facility before the first patients were admitted five days later.
At that time, the only other major medical facility in the area was the
private Harriman Hospital on Wilson Avenue in Bristol, which later changed
its name to Delaware Valley Medical Center — now Aria Health Bucks
County — before moving in 1981 to Oxford Valley Road in Falls.
Six decades later, the facility's 300-doctor-medical staff will see
almost 5,600 patient admissions and 60,500 outpatient visits this year,
Its future plans include reopening a shuttered ambulatory surgery center
on the hospital campus, increasing cardiovascular services and luring
back doctors who left during Lower Bucks' financial troubles several
Recently, it expanded operations with its new, 18-bed behavioral health
wing at the 36-acre facility. The new unit — the only one in Bucks
County to offer behavioral and medical services — adds to the hospital's
existing cardiology, cancer, surgery, orthopedics and sports medicine programs.
“My promise to you is to continue to partner with the Lower Bucks
community to better understand the health and wellness needs, and to position
this hospital as your destination for care," Grass said. "We
will develop clinical programs that meet your needs, partner with your
doctors, nursing homes and emergency medical squads.
"We will provide an extraordinary patient experience with ease of
access and strive for positive outcomes. We will make you feel welcome
and comfortable in our facilities and on our beautiful campus.”
In October 2012, Prime Healthcare — which also owns Roxborough Memorial
Hospital in Philadelphia and Mercy Suburban Hospital in Montgomery County
— took over the operation of Lower Bucks after it filed for Chapter
11 bankruptcy in 2010. The hospital emerged from bankruptcy in January
2013, thanks, in part, to a $14 million loan from the Bucks County Redevelopment
Authority. The authority took title of the hospital property and then
leased it back to the hospital.
Since its acquisition, Prime Healthcare has invested about $20 million
in Lower Bucks Hospital, making capital improvements such as a new roof
and a renovated main lobby, and adding additional equipment and medical
technologies, hospital officials said.
"If you go into the lobby you'll see a lot of newspapers and headlines,
but one that really catches my eye is from 1964 during the 10th anniversary
of this hospital ... what the headline said was 'the hospital founded
by the people, to serve the people," Grass said. "This hospital
is now positioned in the community to be a market competitor, so if you
go the full span of the 50 years between ... you can see why it has been
so important for Lower Bucks to stay where it's at for its community."
Republished with permission from the Bucks County Courier Times.
Additional photos and video from the day may be found at: