Doylestown Hospital celebrates 90th anniversary
Bucks County Herald
October 24, 2013
Doylestown Hospital is celebrating 90 years of providing compassionate and high-quality care to the community, devoted to the legacy of the hospital’s founders while looking ahead to ensure vitality in the future.
Today, the Village Improvement Association Health System includes Doylestown Hospital, along with The Doylestown Hospital Surgery Center at the Health and Wellness Center in Warrington; Pine Run Community and Health Center; Lakeview by Pine Run, Visiting Nurse/Home Health and VIA Affiliates (physician practices). But it all started with an eightbed hospital in the borough of Doylestown.
The VIA of Doylestown was the guiding force behind the founding of the Doylestown Emergency Hospital in 1923, and still owns and oversees the operation of the hospital today. Founded in 1895 by a small, but inspired group of women from Doylestown, the VIA is nationally recognized as the only women’s club to own and oversee a community hospital. The first meeting was held April 26, 1895 with 14 women present. Since that time, the VIA has grown in size and scope to its present membership of more than 400 members.
The VIA recognized the need for public health initiatives and community healthcare services, and began with the employment of a Visiting Nurse in 1916. The 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic galvanized the need for formalized community based health care. The VIA, together with local medical professionals and the Doylestown community, opened the Doylestown Emergency Hospital at Pine Street and Oakland Avenue in the heart of the borough in 1923.
The hospital was officially dedicated on Oct. 9, 1923.
As demand for hospital services increased, Doylestown Emergency Hospital moved to a new location at Belmont Avenue and Spruce Street in Doylestown in 1939. Originally a 21-bed facility, this hospital expanded to accommodate 54 beds in 1951. As the community grew, a larger facility was needed. Ground was broken in former cow pastures for the new hospital on West State Street in September 1973. The third Doylestown Hospital was dedicated as $12.6 million, 200,000-square-foot, 165-bed hospital in November 1975.
In 1992, the VIA acquired the Pine Run Community and Health Center and in 1998 added a separate assisted living complex known as Pine Run Lakeview.
In May 2000, the hospital opened the Heart Center to offer state-of-the art care to the community. The Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital opened in 2007 and has consistently earned superb marks from healthcare quality ratings organizations. Currently known as The Richard A. Reif Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital, the new name pays homage to Rich Reif, who served as CEO for more than 20 years before retiring in January 2013.
The Emergency Department expansion project (opened April 2010) added a 39-bed ER and another 40 beds on a second floor medical-surgical unit. The hospital is currently licensed for 238 beds.
Today, new and exciting challenges are emerging across the spectrum of health care.
“Health care reform is requiring that hospitals, doctors and healthy systems re-examine their role,” said President and CEO Jim Brexler. “Are they adequately focused on “health” care or “illness” care? It is a challenge to design a system of services that is both proactive in promoting health and yet is still responsive to patient needs when illness and disease are present. At Doylestown Hospital, we’re working to design and operate a healthcare system that addresses the needs of our patients and their families. Our goal is to be a health system that is both relevant and indispensible to the communities we serve.”
Doylestown Hospital’s medical staff includes more than 420 physicians in more than 50 specialty areas. Areas of clinical emphasis include cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, oncology, orthopedics, emergency medicine, maternal-child health, interventional radiology, gastroenterology, urology, general surgery and robotic surgery.
While facilities and technology have changed dramatically over the years, the hospital and its medical staff, associates and volunteers remain committed to the mission to “provide a responsive, healing environment to our patients and their families, and to improve the quality of life for all members of our community.”