On March 1, 2022, CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta celebrated half a century of dedicated service to the health care needs of the Atlanta, Cass County and the surrounding region. During this special time, the community looks back on 50 years of growth, expertise and compassionate care – and to the road ahead.
CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta began humbly but with the same clear and caring purpose that fill its halls today. While meeting the needs of the Atlanta community through the Depression, by 1935, Dr. Joe D. Nichols knew the growing population of Cass County required more health care than a home visit or pharmacy counter could provide. Along with friend and fellow physician, Dr. Ernest W. Grumbles, and a donation of land from John J. Ellington, Dr. Nichols opened Ellington Memorial Hospital on June 12, 1936. Those 11 beds comprised the first and only hospital in Cass County and was just what the community needed at the time.
By the 1960s with continued population growth from the oil industry and the newly constructed International Paper mill just north of town, Atlanta once again needed an answer to the looming health care demands. Led by Dr. T.K. Nichols and the Atlanta Area Chamber of Commerce, a city-wide initiative was put in place to provide a new, modern hospital. Through a public vote, the Atlanta Hospital Authority was created via city ordinance on March 4, 1968. This meant Atlanta would have a new public hospital built using federal dollars through the Hill-Burton Act, bond sale proceeds and matched funds donated – rather than taxed – by the community. A $300,000 fundraising campaign was shortly underway, spearheaded by local activist, Brigadier General Kelley Arnold, Texas National Guard. Local legend indicates General Arnold locked the members of the Atlanta Hospital Authority in a room and demanded each one commit a substantial donation to the hospital project before being allowed to leave. On March 1, 1972, patients from Ellington Memorial Hospital were transferred to the new, state-of-the-art Atlanta Memorial Hospital.
In early 2012, the leadership of Atlanta Memorial Hospital recognized the changing climate of health care reimbursement, growing community needs, increased cost of capital improvements, and need to move to the next generation of technology. Acknowledging these new challenges, the Atlanta Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees sought out a new ally to ensure the continued success and service of the hospital, partnering with CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System. CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta opened on Jan. 2, 2013.
Over the course of the last 10 years, CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta has grown to meet the needs of the communities it serves, expanding access to high quality, faith-based health care services in Northeast Texas. In this short period, CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta has expanded the Emergency Department, opened a new Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, and added Outpatient Wound Care Services and Outpatient IV Therapy Services, along with a Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program. The services provided have also expanded to include upgraded cardiac monitoring, a digital X-ray suite with upgraded CT scanner, Teleneurology and TPA for treatment of strokes, and support for Level III Stroke Care. Additionally, the providers at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta have been recognized for their care with Chest Pain Accreditation and Advanced Nursing Certifications in Stroke, Emergency and Trauma, and the hospital has been designated as a Level IV Trauma Center.
In December of 2021, CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta reaffirmed their commitment to the health of the Northeast Texas communities they serve with the renewal of their 10-year agreement with the Atlanta Hospital Authority to operate the hospital and facilities through December 2032.