At the close of World War II, the men and women of Tulare began working diligently to raise the funds to build their own hospital.
The hospital had been discussed in the community since 1937. Several attempts to pass bond measures failed. Then in January 1946, Tulareans passed two consecutive bond issues and with Federal government aid the Tulare Local Hospital District was formed. The first hospital board was appointed by the County Board of Supervisors.
The construction of the new $1.1 million, 86-bed hospital began on May 23, 1949 with the groundbreaking ceremony. Less than two years later, on February 18, 1951, the dedication ceremony for the long-awaited Tulare District Hospital took place.
In the spring of 1958, a group of 21 Tulare women met to form the Tulare District Hospital Auxiliary whose purpose was to promote the welfare of TDH’s patients and visitors. Members were referred to as “Pink Ladies.” The Auxiliary operated as a service organization until 1966 when the hospital’s board authorized the Auxiliary to operate a gift shop in the hospital lobby. The Auxiliary has continued to grow and expand its duties. Now volunteers can be found in the Gift Shop and at Information Desks throughout the hospital. In addition to their time, Auxiliary members donate $20,000 to $30,000 a year to the hospital for the purchase of patient care equipment
The Tulare Hospital Foundation was established in 1987. Organized by civic minded men and women, the Foundation is dedicated to educate the community about the excellent programs and services at TDH and to raise funds for hospital projects. The Foundation has succeeded in raising nearly $2 million, enabling the hospital to attain its goals of expansion and addition of services.
In December of 1989 the hospital broke ground on the front expansion and renovation project. This project was completed in 1993 which included remodeled patient rooms, lobby, expanded ICU and new pediatric unit added for a total of $12 million.
Health care needs were changing and in 1995 the Tulare Community Health Clinic opened, and Tulare Home Care began visiting patients in their homes.
Then in 1998 TDH purchased Family X-ray center to expand medical imaging services and in 1999 the VA Clinic opened at Tulare District Hospital to provide medical services to area veterans.
Today, as a health care district, Tulare District Hospital is responsive to the community of Tulare and the surrounding southern areas of Tulare County, with a population of over 95,000. Licensed for 112 inpatient beds, the acute care facility (Tulare District Hospital), and the associated programs are governed by a five-member board of directors who are elected at large by the voters of the health care district. Tulare District Hospital is accredited with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
On the horizon is a $100 million project to expand the hospital and position it for the next 50 years. In September of 2005 voters of the hospital district overwhelmingly approved an $85 million bond measure that will pay for a 100,000 square foot expansion. Included in that expansion will be a new and larger emergency department; new operating rooms; and a new and expanded Birthplace.
What began over 50 years ago as a simple, single building on a vacant lot in the country has changed the skyline and lives of many people in Tulare. Our great accomplishments of the past are only an introduction to the greater things in our future.
As we look to the future, we will continue to provide quality health care and develop new programs and services for our community. The high standard was set in 1951 . . . the healing tradition will continue.