History of the Health System

Here is a timeline of our history that marks major events from the roots of our hospitals in the early 1900s until present day:

1908 William Henry Prescott of Rockville donates $50,000 to establish the William Henry Prescott Fund, designed to begin the financing for a Rockville City Hospital.

1918 Spanish influenza strikes across the United States, affecting about one in four of the entire population. Many communities, including Manchester and Rockville, respond by establishing temporary emergency hospitals, at Cheney Hall in Manchester and at the high school in the city of Rockville.

1919 C. Elmore Watkins heads a community campaign that raises over $165,000 in less than a week for the construction of a hospital in Manchester.

1920 Manchester Memorial Hospital opens on Haynes Street and is dedicated to the 45 Manchester men who lost their lives in World War I.

1921 Rockville City Hospital opens on Prospect Street. Patients were charged $2 a day.

1923 The Women's Auxiliary, later to become the Auxiliary of Manchester Memorial Hospital, is formed.

1943 The Women's Auxiliary, later to become the Rockville General Hospital Auxiliary, is formed.

1945 Rockville City Hospital moves to the Maxwell mansion on Union Street, where it remains today.

1961-1962 Visitors from 20 states and 16 foreign countries visit MMH to observe its "Progressive Patient Care" plan, which introduced the concept of an intensive care unit and step-down care to the hospital world.

1963 The first physical therapy service in the Rockville region is offered at Rockville City Hospital.

1964 The name of Rockville City Hospital is changed to Rockville General Hospital.

1969 MMH opens some of the first birthing rooms in a community hospital setting and is one of the first U.S. hospitals to offer the Lamaze method of childbirth.

1974 The RGH Maternity Care Center is established to provide pregnancy-related medical and social services to pregnant women and teens, with fees charged on a sliding scale based on ability to pay.

1978 The film "Promises in the Dark," starring Marsha Mason, is filmed partly on location at MMH.

1978 The WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program begins at RGH. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program provides nutritious food and nutrition education to area residents in difficult financial circumstances.

1983 MMH participates in the creation of a town-wide emergency medical system for the town of Manchester, leading to the establishment of a paramedic service.

1987 RGH becomes the first hospital in eastern Connecticut to introduce bone densitometry equipment designed to detect osteoporosis at its earliest stages.

1987 MMH establishes the CorpCare Occupational Medicine Service.

1993 Maternity Department at RGH renovated to align with the LDRP concept of care, providing women with labor, delivery, and recovery in the same suite.

1993 The MMH Family Support and Resource Center begins operations. The center is a fully funded grant program offering parent education programs and family support services.

1993 Woodlake at Tolland nursing home opens on Shenipsit Lake Road in Tolland.

1993 The Women's Center for Wellness opens.

1994 MMH opens the first of three School-Based Health Centers in East Hartford.

1994 Discussions begin on affiliating MMH and RGH.

1995 Incorporators of MMH and Corporators of RGH (several hundred community residents) vote to merge the corporate parents of the two hospitals to form Eastern Connecticut Health Network; these individuals become ECHN "members" and later "corporators."

1995 The state Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) agrees to the merger of the hospitals' corporate parents; this is the first case in Connecticut of two financially sound institutions taking this step (other mergers in the state occurred because one of the partners was in financial distress).

1997 A regional radiation therapy service for cancer treatment is approved by state regulators; it will be a joint venture between MMH, RGH, Hartford Hospital and Johnson Memorial Hospital.

1997 The Glastonbury Wellness Center opens, offering a Healthtrax fitness center, doctor office practices, and ECHN services, including CorpCare occupational health, behavioral health, and a variety of diagnostic tests.

1997 PromptCare at RGH opens.

1997 The medical staffs of MMH and RGH combine to create a single ECHN medical staff.

1998 ECHN introduces Medical Matters, a free 24-hour doctor referral line and program registration service.

1999 The John A. DeQuattro Community Cancer Center opens on the campus of MMH.

2000 The ECHN Sleep Disorders Laboratory at MMH is granted accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and later expands from two beds to six.

2000 ECHN signs an affiliation agreement with Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford to build upon the ECHN pediatricians' long-standing relationship with the specialists at CCMC.

2000 A new hospitalist program is introduced at MMH and is expanded several months later to RGH.

2001 ECHN's comprehensive cancer services based at Manchester Memorial Hospital are granted approval by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, a designation given only to those facilities that have committed to providing the best in diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

2001 ECHN introduces PET scanning services through a mobile unit that is at MMH every Monday; PET (positron imaging tomography) is a revolutionary imaging technique used for early detection of cancer, heart disease, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and is particularly effective for the diagnosis of lung cancer.

2001 Woodlake at Tolland becomes the new home to the Adult Day Center operated by Visiting Nurse & Health Services of Connecticut, Inc.

2002 The ECHN Board of Trustees votes to approve proceeding with a capital campaign with a goal of between $6 million and $11.7 million on behalf of three capital expansion projects in the system: the MMH Maternity Project, the RGH Facility Upgrade, and the Woodlake expansion.

2002 The first cardiac catheterization procedure is performed in the new RGH Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

2002 The new Centralized Sterile Processing facility located at 460 Hartford Turnpike becomes operational in late October, initially serving MMH and subsequently serving RGH. This facility is equipped with some of most modern sterilization technology available, becoming one of the top three such facilities on the Eastern seaboard.

2003 ECHN and Community CancerCare begin virtual simulation services for cancer patients at The John A. DeQuattro Community Cancer Center.

2003 High-tech digital mammography services are introduced at the Women's Center for Wellness. This revolutionary equipment provides more-detailed images than with standard mammograms and reduces the need for women to return for additional views.

2004 Phase One of the plans to expand and improve inpatient and outpatient services at Rockville General is completed. The goal of this ambitious project is to create a larger and more comprehensive emergency department and clinical observation unit, a special preparation and recovery area for outpatient services, a step-down unit for patients who move from intensive care, and much more.

2004 The SBM Charitable Foundation Family Birthing Center at Manchester Memorial Hospital is opened, offering state-of-the-art LDRP rooms and an enhanced level of services.

2005 ECHN introduces neonatology services to the community, to provide another dimension of care for babies born with special health challenges.

2005 The Wound Healing Center at ECHN is established within MMH for patients whose wounds have had trouble healing.

2006 ECHN opens buildings in Tolland and Coventry that house various medical services and doctor offices.

2006 The ECHN medical building at Evergreen Walk opens, featuring state-of-the-art medical imaging services, a wide range of rehabilitation services including a special aquatic therapy pool, and doctor offices; the Women's Center for Wellness also moves to this new building.

2007 ECHN opens medical offices in Ellington, Tolland and Manchester.

2007 The Sleep Disorders Laboratory is expanded.

2007 ECHN implements an electronic health record system at the MMH and RGH Emergency Departments, improving efficiency and information flow within the ED and throughout the organization.

2008 ECHN purchases the daVinci Surgical Robot System to bring robotic surgery to the community.

2008 Manchester Memorial Hospital is among the nation's top five percent of hospitals, according to an independent study of mortality and complication rates for nearly 5,000 hospitals released by HealthGrades, the nation's leading health care ratings company. In addition, both MMH and RGH were recipients of the HealthGrades' Pulmonary Care Excellence Award.

2008 A new fixed-site MRI unit arrives at Rockville General Hospital.

2008 ECHN's Diabetes Self-Management Program is awarded the American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Certificate.

2008 The Verispan Integrated Health Network lists ECHN on the "Best of the Rest" list for the top 100 Integrated Health Networks in the nation.

2010 ECHN celebrates the opening of the new John A. DeQuattro Cancer Center, home of the Eastern Connecticut Cancer Institute, on the Manchester Memorial Hospital campus, 100 Haynes Street.

2011 ECHN becomes the first medical teaching site east of the river when 16 third-year medical students from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) arrived at ECHN for a year of academic and clinical training.

2012 ECHN cuts the ribbon to its new Women's Center for Wellness on the outpatient camput at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, providing a full-array of women's health services under one roof.

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