The Madelia Community Hospital opened in 1918 when Dr. W.J. McCarthy purchased what was known as the Hoffman residence on East Main Street and converted it into a private hospital with 12 beds. Mrs. Millie Sharper was appointed MCH’s first Head Nurse. The project filled a need and was well received by the community.
The Madelia Times Messenger in 1921 wrote “Dr. McCarthy is due great credit and the thanks of the community for his courage and good judgment in launching an enterprise which has proven to be a blessing to suffering humanity, and which, by the exercise of strict business principles, has become self-supporting. He took the chance and, to his credit be it said, he has erected a memorial which will live and do honor to its founder throughout the years to come.
“The hospital, while unpretentious in size, is one of the best equipped institutions of its kind in southern Minnesota. On the ground floor is a cozy living room for the three nurses who are constantly in attendance, four bedrooms which are used for obstetrical cases, a spacious hall and the kitchens. On the second floor are four more bedrooms and a three-bed ward, which are used for the surgery cases. A large, light, and thoroughly equipped operating room is also located on this floor.”
The Hospital operated continuously on East Main for more than 35 years, offering surgery, convalescent care, emergency services, and obstetrics. In 1941, the Village of Madelia purchased the hospital from Dr. McCarthy and operated it as a municipal hospital until 1954. Eldon Mitchell, C.J. Manahan and Donald Sandberg were appointed to the first hospital board.
In 1950, the city saw the need to build a new hospital. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored public meetings and in June, organized a non-profit corporation called the Madelia Community Hospital. This new non-profit planned to devote its first five years to raising funds through resident contributions. Plans changed, however, and at a meeting in May, 1952, the board decided not to wait any longer to begin new hospital construction. An architect drew plans and specifications for a 22-bed hospital on a site donated by Dr. H. E. Coulter.
Construction started in May, 1953. By July, over $100,000 was raised in cash and pledges from over one thousand donors. Just over a year after construction began, an open house was held to present the new hospital to those donors. On June 15, 1954, patients and equipment were moved from the old hospital to the new.
The first “new” hospital superintendent was John A. Sivertsen, employed on a part-time basis with Ruth Zimmerman, superintendent of nurses. Zimmerman took over both positions and remained administrator of the hospital until June 1968. Emily Kunz, assistant administrator since 1957, was appointed administrator in 1968, initially assisted by Elizabeth Fox and later joined by Ruby Mueller.
The hospital was often overcrowded during the first years following its completion when patients outnumbered beds available. (The closing of the St. James hospital during this period was partly responsible for the overcrowding at the Madelia Hospital.) As a result an eight-bed addition was added to the south end of the hospital along with a full basement in 1962-63. In 1970-71, another remodel was ordered for the facilities, adding a laboratory, x-ray room, dressing rooms, and waiting room. Included in this remodel were a physician’s lounge and mechanical room along with an upgrade of the emergency room and kitchen.
Also in 1970, the Madelia Community Hospital became a member of American Hospital Association. The following year, the Joint Commission of Accreditation first audited the hospital, a voluntary approach to achieve highest quality of care. Full accreditation has been achieved ever since.
The Physical Therapy Department opened in 1978, and in the spring of 1982, a social services director and education director joined the hospital staff. The social services director worked in the areas of social assessment, nursing home placements, financial assistance and discharge planning. The education director coordinated in-services and workshops at the hospital and ordered medical information searches for hospital staff members.
In 1992, Emily Kunz retired and Candace Fenske was named Hospital Administrator/CEO, a title she held for 26 years.
In 1997, a two-story, 18,000-square-foot addition was built on the north side of the hospital to accommodate the Madelia Clinic, a laboratory and ambulance bay on the upper level, and dental, optometry, physical therapy, and home care on the lower level.
A new main entrance was constructed in 1999, offering one-entrance access to the hospital, clinic, optometrist and dentist. In that same year the Madelia Clinic joined Mayo-ISJ.
The Hospital achieved Critical Access Hospital Medicare Status in 2001 and is still recognized as a 25-Bed Critical Access Hospital.
The non-profit Madelia Community Hospital Foundation was formed in 2004 to raise and manage donations of funds and property to the Hospital & Clinic. The Foundation continues to raise funds to purchase state-of-the-art medical equipment.
Two years later, in 2006, ground breaking was held for a major addition and remodel. The new addition houses eight Wellness Designed patient rooms, a new Health Information office, and Physical Therapy and Patient Family waiting room.
MCH was designated as Level 4 Trauma Hospital in 2010.
In 2011, Mayo Clinic Health Systems ended operations on the Madelia Campus. That same year a service agreement with Mankato Clinic was signed. Medicare approved the Provider-Based designation of Madelia Clinic to the main Provider, Madelia Community Hospital & Clinic.
In 2017, Madelia Community Hospital & Clinic was designated as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for preparedness to evaluate, stabilize and provide emergency treatment to patients with acute stroke symptoms.
Hospital Administrator, Candace Fenske, retired in 2018. Jeff J. Mengenhausen was hired to replace her.
Madelia Community Hospital & Clinic expanded service to Lake Crystal with the addition of the Lake Crystal Pharmacy in the summer of 2020. In August of 2020 the Madelia Community Hospital & Clinic took over the Mankato Clinic office in Lake Crystal, establishing the Lake Crystal Clinic.
In April of 2021, Madelia Community Hospital & Clinic legally changed its name to Madelia Health.
The Times Messenger accurately predicted that Dr. McCarthy’s courage and good judgment in launching this project over one hundred years ago would be an honor to his memory, and it is so. Madelia Health continues to provide outstanding healthcare services to Madelia and its surrounding communities.