Economic Development, Health Care, and Lakeshore

Holland Hospital celebrates centennial

New website honoring anniversary features a number of videos detailing the history of the hospital and a mini-documentary.

August 18, 2017
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Holland Hospital
In 1927, Holland Hospital moved into a new building that would become its permanent location. Courtesy Holland Hospital

In 1917, in the former home of the late Dr. Henry Kremers at the corner of E. 12th Street and Central Avenue, Holland Hospital was born.

For those first few years, the first floor of the two-story Elizabethan-style home served as Holland Hospital’s OB unit and nursery, while surgery was performed on the second floor. In the cold winters, infants were moved into the kitchen, where the ovens were turned on and left open to keep them warm.

It didn’t take long for Holland Community Hospital to outgrow its converted space and, in 1928, moved to the brand new, four-story building where the hospital still operates today. The original home of Holland Hospital still stands, operating as the Centennial Inn, a historic bed and breakfast.

In June, Holland Hospital employees and patients returned to the hospital’s first home for a community picnic, the anchor event of the hospital’s yearlong centennial celebration. Marketing and Communications Director Martha Slager, who helped create a comprehensive historical retrospective and coordinate the event, said the picnic even brought some people who were born in the original building.

She said the picnic was a celebration not just of the organization itself, but of everyone who has helped make it great over the past 100 years.

“The history of Holland Hospital is really about the people — and we have some really great pioneers, from the physicians to the nurses to the rest of the administration and leadership, that’s just been amazing,” Slager said. “Through the West Michigan culture of hard work and compassion, you can see how they’ve grown into this amazing organization a hundred years later by keeping with the sustained values those first leaders had.”

Slager said the marketing department conducted more than 40 interviews and logged hundreds of hours of research to put together the centennial celebration website, 100.hollandhospital.org, which features a number of videos detailing the history of the hospital and a mini-documentary that received platinum honors from the dotCOMM Awards.

“We did a majority of the work in-house, and it was so easy to get caught up in the passion of the stories and the people who came through these doors,” Slager said. “It was a lot of work, but well worth it, and we’ll finish out the year by continuing to share more stories throughout.”

As Holland Hospital celebrates surpassing the centennial mark, it also allows the opportunity for hospital leaders to reflect on how it has grown in that time and become a fully integrated part of the Holland community.

“The organization is really here because of the commitment and support of a community that has backed it through decades of challenges and opportunities,” said Mark Pawlak, senior vice president of hospital operations. “We come through very humble beginnings, and we had continuous community support to help us rise to a place where we’re one of the nation’s leading hospitals by many measures.

“We have prided ourselves on honing our services and making choices in what we do and who we partner with to best meet the needs of this community.”

One of the primary tenets of the organization’s culture Pawlak pointed to as a catalyst for the hospital’s success was an organization-wide sense of personal accountability.

Pawlak cited the ongoing changes in health care costs and value, specifically the shift in patients becoming more interested in paying for value, not just volume. He said federal initiatives like the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program, where hospitals are rewarded with incentive payments for the quality of care provided to Medicare patients, play to the strengths of Holland Hospital and will help foster its continued growth.

As the hospital looks ahead to the next 100 years, Pawlak said leadership will continue with a focus on community development and moving in the direction of “high quality, low cost and high coordination of care providers.”

“We’re an organization with sufficient size to offer state-of-the-art functionalities and capabilities, but we’re also smart enough to be quick and lean so that we make adjustments as the industry, technologies and patient needs change,” he said. “We’re constantly looking for opportunities to enhance those services and bring the type of care patients may have originally thought they needed to travel to obtain. Instead, they’ll find they can attain that same level of care here locally.”

Holland Hospital            1917       2017

Population served           12,000    250,000

Area physicians               10           375

Hospital employees         5             2,000

Hospital inpatients           100         8,100

Outpatient visits               0             421,000

Newborns per year          12           1,800

Hospital size (sq. ft.)        3,600      502,000

Source: Holland Hospital

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