Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, Dr. John Gifford, a popular local physician and the son of an East Randolph farmer, took up as a personal cause the creation of a hospital in his home town.
In 1903, he purchased the Seldon Holman house on South Main Street – at the site of today’s Gifford Medical Center – and with two nurses established a private hospital. Two years later, discouraged by the high expenses and demands that came with running a small hospital alone, Dr. Gifford made plans to close his hospital.
It was then that several local leaders, realizing the value of the hospital, stepped forward to create a corporation that would purchase the hospital and keep it open. Offering shares of capital stock to the community at $25 a piece, they easily raised the $7,500 that was needed to keep the doors open. The hospital became the Randolph Sanatorium, with Dr. Gifford as its medical director. Student nurses were a part of the hospital from the very beginning and in 1905 a two-year nursing program was established.
In 1906, Dr. Gifford hired registered nurse Eliza Folsom from Mary Fletcher Hospital in Burlington to be the superintendent of nurses and the Sanatorium graduated its first class in 1908. After her marriage to Dr. Gifford in 1909, Miss Folsom resigned as superintendent. The last class of nurses to graduate from Gifford was in 1955.
In 1909, the corporation acknowledged its first two gifts from non-shareholders, $100 each. These gifts were used to start the Hospital Endowment Fund. In 1924, with the Sanatorium firmly established in town, the corporation reorganized itself into a non-profit corporation, still dependent on the community for support.
In 1933, Dr. John Gifford nicked his finger while performing surgery on a patient with a streptococcus infection. He contracted the then-deadly infection and died several weeks later despite treatment from the best specialists and staff at Deaconess Hospital in Boston.
After his death, the shareholders unanimously voted to change the Sanatorium’s name to Gifford Memorial Hospital to honor the memory of the doctor whose vision laid Gifford’s foundation.
1924 – A new annex is built, enlarging the Sanatorium for additional patient space.
1929 – A fire destroys the older part of the hospital. Homemade fire doors save the the new wing.
1931 – New structure is erected on the old site.
1947 – Fundraising is launched for the construction of a new wing.
1952 – Ground is broken for the new north wing. The fund drive begun in 1947 brought in $400,000 in community donations that made the new construction possible.
1959 – The Gifford School of Nursing is closed, having graduated some 200 professional nurses since its creation in 1905.
1977 – Gifford opens New England’s first hospital-based Birthing Room, later renamed the Birthing Center.
1989-94 – One of the nation’s first hospitals to support primary-care practices in rural areas, Gifford opens or acquires community health centers in Rochester (1989), Bethel (1990), Chelsea (1992) and South Royalton (1994).
1991 – Embracing the role as a complete health care resource for all 18 towns of The White River Valley, Gifford Memorial Hospital becomes Gifford Medical Center. Gifford opens a completely renovated outpatient department, along with a new emergency room and medical office building.
1992 – The medical center acquires the former Tranquility Nursing Home in Randolph, reopening it as Gifford Elder Care.
1993 – To allow for integrated delivery of health services, the medical center becomes the direct employer of all primary-care physicians on its medical staff. Since the late 1970s, the Medical Staff has grown from eight Physicians to almost 50, along with certified nurse-midwives, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
1973-1994 – Philip D. Levesque serves as chief executive officer until his death from cancer. He leaves a lasting impression on the hospital, including the medical building and community award named in his memory. The Garden Room is also created in his honor.
1999 – Major renovations bring the opening of the new Menig Extended Care Facility, a modernized Howell Pavilion for inpatient care, a new Courtyard Garden and a new, larger Birthing Center.
1999 – Gifford begins an adult day care program at the Menig Extended Care Facility.
2000 – Area clergy and volunteers help Gifford create a chaplaincy program.
2001 – Gifford becomes the second hospital in the state to be named a Critical Access Hospital, a national designation offering increased federal support through higher Medicare reimbursements for rural hospitals with 25 beds.
2001 – The Rochester Health Center celebrates 25 years.
2001 – Gifford begins offering MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) services through a mobile unit that visits the hospital.
2001 – The prestigious Compass Award from patient satisfaction surveying company Press Ganey recognizes Gifford’s positive patient satisfaction.
2002 – An expanded ambulatory care center, an integrated facility with space for still-expanding outpatient services opens. It is named in memory of Dr. Gifford’s nephew, John Pearl Gifford.
2002 – A new Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center opens. The Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary Thrift Shop moves into the day care’s former space.
2002 – Working collaboratively with the Clara Martin Center, mental health services come to the Chelsea Health Center.
2002 – Hospital billing returns to Gifford, creating jobs.
2003 – Gifford Medical Center begins its three-year centennial celebration.
2003 – The hospital hires its first chaplain, who works with Gifford’s team of chaplaincy volunteers.
2003 – Sports medicine becomes a new focus for the hospital and its podiatric surgeons.
2003 – The Chelsea Health Center celebrates 50 years.
2004 – Implementation of a fully integrated information system is co mpleted, allowing increased electronic documentation and access to inpatient records.
2005 – Radiology, Emergency and Food Services Departments are expanded in a construction project dubbed the “Infill Project.”
2005 – The Sharon Health Center and Sports Medicine Clinic is built on Route 14 in Sharon.
2005 – Ground is broken on a much-needed 10-bed expansion to the Menig Extended Care Facility.
2005 – The growing Gifford Adult Day Program moves to a newly renovated space below the Bethel Health Center.
2005 – The Menig Extended Care Facility earns the prestigious Gold Star and Nursing Home Quality awards from the state. The awards recognize the nursing home for its excellence in resident care and as a good place to work.
2005 – Birthing Center nurses receive the Distinguished Health Professional Award for Advances in Clinical Practice from the March of Dimes.
2005 – Brooks Chapin, then of the Menig Extended Care Facility, is named Nursing Director of the Year by the Vermont Health Care Association.
2006 – The 100th Annual Corporators’ Meeting is held at Chandler Music Hall.
2006 – Under the leadership of Chef Ed Striebe, Gifford begins buying local produce from area farmers.
2006 – The Gifford Auxiliary celebrates its centennial with a legislative resolution recognizing its work.
2006 – Menig Extended Care Facility charge nurse Judy Libby is named Registered Nurse of the Year. The nursing home also collects the Gold Star and Nursing Home Quality awards for the second year.
2006 – A 40-slice CT scanner, new bone density machine and a filmless radiology system are added. The new machines greatly improve the technology Gifford can offer patients.
2006 – Gifford welcomes its first hospitalist.
2006 – Construction on the Menig expansion and a new southern entryway for visitors are complete. Significant gains are also made on filling the large ravine near the hospital.
2006 – The Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center holds its first annual graduation for preschoolers moving on to kindergarten.
2006 – Gifford hosts the first annual Last Mile motorcycle ride attracting 74 riders and raising $7,000 for end-of-life care.
2007 – The hospital transitions to meal “room service” for all inpatients.
2007 – The Gifford Health Center at Berlin opens off from the Airport Road. Included in the new Berlin health center are midwifery, orthopedics, podiatry and later family medicine.
2007 – The Kingwood Health Center opens on Route 66.
2007 – Ground is broken on an expansion to the Sharon Health Center that will include 2,200 square feet of new space, X-ray technology and new services and staff.
2008 – The Sharon Health Center expansion opens to patients and the Sports Medicine Clinic team expands.
2008 – Gifford purchases the LaFrance property in Randolph Center.
2008 – A state-of-the-art digital mammography system replaces an analogue machine and film processor.
2008 – The hospitalist program expands to 24-hour coverage with new providers joining the now much-expanded team of physicians and “mid-level” providers.
2008 – Adult outpatient physical therapy moves to the newly renovated Kingwood Health Center.
2009 – A new Family Center space is created for birthing classes and more.
2009 – Gifford joins Porter and Copley hospitals in forming the Vermont Hospital Shared Service Network.
2009 – Advance Physical Therapy opens in Wilder.
2009 – A third operating room is constructed and the post anesthesia care unit moved to a new location in the Ambulatory Care Center.
2009 – The ravine is completely filled, allowing for significantly more parking.
2009 – The main lobby is renovated and Central Registration begins.
2009 – The new Chelsea Health Center opens thanks to the work of Chelsea Health Center Board and a gift from the late Kathryn Avery.
2009 – Pulmonary rehabilitation begins.
2009 – The Emergency Department now features Gifford employed providers.
2010 – Gifford purchases Twin River Urology in White River Junction, renaming it the Twin River Health Center.
2010 – Gifford is named one of the nation’s “100 Best Places to Work in Health Care” by Becker’s ASC Review and Becker’s Hospital Review.
2011 – Gifford is named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the nation.
2011– Gifford’s community health centers in Berlin, Bethel, Chelsea, Randolph and Rochester are recognized as Patient-Centered Medical Homes by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
2012 – Gifford is honored with a legislative resolution from the Vermont House of Representatives for its “outstanding health care services” and many awards.
2012 – The ravine project is complete and a new park opens to the community.
2012 – Pediatrics and adolescent medicine moves from the main hospital building into a neighboring, Gifford-owned Victorian at the corner of Maple Street and South Main Street.
2012 – Menig is named one of the nation’s best 39 nursing homes by U.S. News and World Report.
2012 – Gifford proposes a senior living community on the LaFrance property in Randolph Center to meet the housing and medical needs of the area’s retirees and elderly.
2012 – Pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola is named “CDC Childhood Immunization Champion” for the state of Vermont.
2012 – The March of Dimes recognizes Gifford with a Leadership Legacy award for its commitment to prenatal, birth and newborn care.
2012 – The former Valley Rescue Squad Inc. and Gifford collaborate to form a new non-profit called Supporting Ambulances for Vermont Emergencies (SAVE).
2012 – Gifford is awarded a Hospital of Choice Award from The American Alliance of Healthcare Providers for customer friendliness.
2012 – The CT scanner is upgraded from a 40-slice model to a 64-slice model providing patients faster, clearer imaging with less radiation.
2012 – A new fluoroscopy room is created in the Radiology Department and sees its first interventional radiology.
2012 – A new CAREpoint Workstation that transmits EKGs from ambulances in the field to the Gifford Emergency Department is brought online.
2012 – All Gifford grounds go smoke-free.
2012 – Efficiency Vermont benchmarks Gifford as the most energy efficient hospital in the state.
2013 – Gifford joins all Vermont hospitals, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and several rural health centers as part of OneCare Vermont – an accountable care organization.
2013 – Gifford opens a wound care clinic at all locations.
2013 – Gifford’s proposed Senior Living Community earns all necessary permits, including local development review, Act 250 and Certificate of Need approvals.
2013 – Gifford Vice President of Surgery earns a Patriot Award through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
2013 – Volunteer Major Melvin McLaughlin is named Vermont and the nation’s Salute to Senior Contest winner.
2013 – Gifford purchases and renovates a 7 Maple Street home for use as office space.
2013 – Housekeeping Manager Ruthie Adams is named Upper Valley Services’ Employer of the Year.
2013 – A 9,600-square-foot addition is constructed on the Kingwood Health Center on Route 66 in Randolph.
2013 – Pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola by the Vermont Medical Society with the Physician Award for Community Service.
2013 – Gifford’s primary care locations are named Federally Qualified Health Centers by the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.
2013 – After Senator Bernie Sanders confirms Gifford’s designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Gifford creates a new parent corporation – Gifford Health Care.
2014 – Gifford is once again named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the nation.
2014 – Gifford’s first physician assistant, Starr Strong, retires after 21 years at the Chelsea Health Center
2014 – Ground is broken on the first phase of the Senior Living Community – a new 30-bed nursing home – in Randolph Center. More than 100 people are on hand to witness the much-anticipated event.
2014 – A 2,600-square-foot addition to the Sharon Health Center opens.
2014 – Gifford merges with another non-profit, Project Independence in Barre, for the first time in its history. Project Independence provides adult day care.
2014 – Gifford’s third floor specialty clinic space is entirely remodeled to be more efficient and cost-effective.
2015 – Podiatrist Dr. Rob Rinaldi retires after 12 years of service to an expanding community of athletes, and to wish him well as he transitions to new roles in the organization.
2015 – Residents move into the new Menig Nursing Home in Randolph Center, becoming the anchor for the Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community.
2015 – State dignitaries and distinguished guests attend the ribbon cutting celebration to officially open the new Menig Nursing Home.
2015 – Renovations begin to convert the wing of the hospital that formally housed the Menig Nursing Home into private patient rooms.
2015 – Gifford earns EPA ENERGY STAR Certification, joining a list of top 25 percent of energy-efficient hospitals nationwide.
2015 – Gifford announces it has met its state approved operating margin for the 16th consecutive year.
2015 – Wiemann Lamphere Architects are selected to design the independent living apartments at the new Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community in Randolph Center, Vermont. The Colchester, Vermont design firm will build on Gifford’s original design concept to create a vibrant neighborhood for the 25-acre campus, which includes the new Menig Nursing Home and planned future assisted living.
2015 – Renovation of the old Menig space is completed, creating 25 private patient rooms and marking the completion of the second phase of the Vision for the Future campaign.
2015 – Barbara E. Quealy joins Gifford as Chief Operating Officer. She will lead Gifford’s hospital-based operations and report directly to Administrator Joe Woodin.
2015 – Gifford chooses to work with accountable care organization Community Health Accountable Care (CHAC), which is comprised of nine Federally Qualified Health Centers and a Primary Care Association.