Ozarks Medical Center

Ozarks Medical Center Main Entrance
OMC main entrance today.

OMC today is a far cry from the original 42-bed facility serving 40,000 people with 60 employees. With 114-beds, OMC serves an 11-county area, employees 1,200 people and utilizes the services of more than 100 physicians, including a strong core of primary care physicians and numerous specialists.

OMC Historical Perspective


A meeting is called to discuss the feasibility of building a 50-bed, modern hospital for West Plains and the surrounding area. A temporary board of directors is elected and funding is sought from the federal government and the private sector.


Specifications for a 42-bed facility are furnished to contractors and bids are sought. D.C. Bass of Enid, Okla., is awarded the bid. Ground is broken March 24 and construction begins March 25. A time capsule is planted near the main entrance on Sept. 29.


In September, Charles E. Hall is named as the hospital’s first administrator.


By Feb. 2, construction is complete and equipment is in place. On April 30, West Plains Memorial Hospital is dedicated with more than 3,000 touring the new facility.


The board meets with architects to discuss an expansion that would add 24 additional beds, including a four-bed intensive care unit, a treatment room and a family room.


The expansion is completed, giving the hospital a total occupancy of 66 beds.


A second expansion is proposed to fill the need for cafeteria space, office space and a waiting room.


The expansion project is complete. Later this year, the hospital begins seeking state approval for an expansion that will add 38 beds, a new laboratory, X-ray department, physical therapy department, respiratory care, classroom, outpatient and emergency room services, surgical suite and recovery room.


The expansion is approved, and construction begins on Dec. 15.


The new wing is available for occupancy on May 22, giving the hospital a capacity of 108 beds.


The hospital diversifies into home health and acquires Heart of the Ozarks Medical Equipment (H.O.M.E.) as a for-profit subsidiary.


In anticipation of the hospital eventually becoming a regional medical referral center, the board of trustees changes the hospital’s name from West Plains Memorial Hospital to Ozarks Medical Center.Radiology expanded, the Extended Care Unit opened and ground was broken for a new medical office building to be known as Doctors’ Pavillion.


The Doctors’ Pavillion opens, including space for OMC’s growing cancer treatment services. OMC assumes operation of Mammoth Spring Medical Clinic and management of Oregon County Ambulance.


OMC opens it own blood bank. In December, ground is broken for an addition to house an 11-bed Stress Unit.


On July 26, a dedication and open house marks the opening of the completed Stress Unit.


The Heart Care Center, including a cardiac diagnostic lab and cardiac catheterization lab, opens. OMC Home Health merges with Riverways Home Health to become Riverways of Ozarks Medical Center. OMC assumes management of Willow Springs Ambulance.


Clinics in Winona and West Plains in Missouri and Salem, Ark., become part of OMC’s clinic system. OMC assumes management of Ozark County Ambulance. The centralized dispatching center opens, becoming one of the first dispatching centers in the area staffed by medical technicians.


The OMC Neurosciences Center is opened to provide comprehensive care for patients with nervous system disease. Clinics in Gainesville, Mo., and Highland, Ark., became part of OMC’s clinic system.


OMC opens its Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center (Cardiac Rehab). On March 15, groundbreaking is held for 47,000-square-foot expansion/renovation project, providing new space for the medical/surgical floor, ICU, medical records, admissions and the emergency department, as well as a mammography suite, gift shop and a waiting room. The obstetrics department will move into space occupied by the medical surgical floor.


On May 2, a dedication and open house celebrate the opening of the new expansion and renovation project.


The outpatient services department is relocated and enlarged to accommodate the increase in outpatient diagnostic and surgical procedures. To address managed care issues, OMC joins with its medical staff to form the Ozarks Physician/Hospital Organization (OPHO). The Thayer Medical Clinic becomes a part of OMC’s clinic system.


Groundbreaking for the expansion of the Burton Creek Medical Clinic, which will include space for the OMC Urgent Care Clinic.


A March 2 dedication and open house marks the opening of the OMC Urgent Care Clinic, in conjunction with the opening of the expanded Burton Creek Medical Clinic. Groundbreaking is May 10 for construction of a new building for the Shannon County Medical Clinic in Winona.


OMC receives accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The board of directors approves development of plans for a new ambulatory services building. An open house is held at the new Shannon County Medical Clinic on March 9. Groundbreaking is held for construction of a new building for the Gainesville Medical Clinic on June 16.

OMC is awarded the Missouri Department of Mental Health contract to provide mental health services for a seven-county region and mental health services move into the renovated West Vue Nursing Home as OMC Behavioral Healthcare.

On Aug. 25, the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee grants a certificate of need for the new ambulatory services building. Ground is broken and construction begins. On Oct. 15, Ozark Doctors Clinic in Alton becomes part of the OMC network of primary care clinics.


On July 26, an open house is held at the new Gainesville Medical Clinic facility. In November, OMC receives approval for construction of a new surgery facility to include both inpatient and outpatient surgery.On Dec. 13, an open house is held at the Shaw Medical Building, which houses the Cancer Treatment Center, with its upgrade to a linear accelerator; Outpatient Imaging Services, including MRI; and Rehabilitation Services, including physical and occupational therapy and speech pathology.


OMC hosts its 40th Anniversary Health Fair at the West Plains Civic Center. More than 1,700 people attend. Ozarks Medical Center breaks ground to begin construction of an $8 million, 20,000 square-foot surgery center.

OMC received notification from the Missouri Bureau of Emergency medical Services that it was certified as a Level III trauma Center.


On March 12, Salem 1st Care, formerly the Ozarks Medical Clinic of Salem, held an open house to celebrate expanded services and hours.


Surgeries began in OMC’s new Surgical Services facility. It houses six surgical suites for inpatient and outpatient surgeries and $2 million worth of state-of-the-art surgical equipment.OMC doubled the size of its clinical lab consolidated several separate anatomical/pathology labs.

Behavioral Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services began offering services at the Mountain Grove Medical Complex in Mountain Grove, Mo.

OMC implements an automatic medication dispensing system to streamline its drug distribution process, giving nurses and pharmacy staff more time to attend to patient care issues.


Riverways Home Care of OMC assumes management of the West Plains Senior Daycare Center. Heart Care Services opens and includes a cardiology clinic, state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostic rehabilitation center and a newly renovated catheterization laboratory.


Open-heart surgeries begin at Ozarks Medical Center. OMC is among the top 3 percent of hospitals nationwide for patient satisfaction. Highest rank the health care system has ever achieved.

Ozark Works, occupational medicine and employee health clinic, moves to a free-standing building in Independence Square in West Plains.

Construction begins to move Eighth Street to allow for Emergency Room expansion.

OMC Cardiac Cath Lab is one of only two health care systems in Missouri to use a revolutionary new imaging technology that allows medical providers to classify different types of tissue in coronary arteries (IVUS).

Mountain Grove Medical Complex expands.

PET/CT scan debuts at OMC.


OMC installs a new, state-of-the-art, 32-slice CT imaging system from GE Healthcare, a new MRI and transitions from film to digital images. Alton Medical Clinic moves into new facility. The 8,000 square-foot facility includes nine exam rooms, a procedure room for urgent care needs, a rehabilitation gym for physical and occupational therapy, expanded laboratory, radiology area and helipad.

OMC Eye Center of the Ozarks clinic opens in West Plains, Mo.

OMC completes a second cath lab.


OMC Urgent Care Clinic moves to Highland Park complex, 181 Kentucky Ave. McVicker Family Healthcare opens in Mountain View, Mo. The 3,000 square-foot facility is a cedar log construction and features six exam rooms, a lab/nurses’ station, X-ray and two offices for medical providers.

OMC closes Extended Care Unit and Transport Services.


OMC is among the top 2 percent of hospitals nationwide for patient satisfaction. Nursing and OB are in the top 1 percent. Medical Center’s Heart Care Services recently partnered with St. John’s Clinic-Cardiology of Springfield to help provide interventional cardiology to OMC patients.

Ozark Works and the Shaw Medical Building celebrate 10-year anniversaries.

NeuroPsych Unit is expanded by creating eight new private rooms, creating a total of 22 inpatient rooms in the unit.

Three new state-of-the-art, private rooms are opened in the Emergency Department. The renovation that added the new area to the Emergency Department gives the department a total of 12 patient beds.


OMC celebrates 50th anniversary. 300 people attend rededication ribbon cutting. 1,000+ attend community celebration. OMC hosts the first-ever Blue Jean Ball.

Riverways named Top 500 in the country by Home Care Elite.

Expansion of orthopaedic surgery coverage to 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.


Opened a new state-of-the-art 16-bed Emergency Department. OMC began offering interventional cardiac 24 hours a day, seven days a week. OMC also opened a specialized Cardiac Step-Down Unit.

OMC was named 2010 Business of the Year at the West Plains Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet.

OMC opened a new Surgical Specialists Clinic.


$3 million in improvements made to the Cancer Treatment Center including a new linear accelerator. Riverways named in the Top 100 in the country by Home Care Elite.

OMC opens new Rheumatology and Women’s Health Care clinics.


OMC breaks ground on new 13,000-square-foot home for the Mountain Grove Medical Complex. OMC purchases and begins renovation on Parkway Shopping Center.

OMC begins pilot health care home program with Behavioral Healthcare patients.

OMC opens Wound Care Services and adds the OMC Urology Clinic to its service line.

OMC signs management agreement to oversee operations at Fulton County Hospital in Salem, Arkansas.

OMC completes the attestation of Stage One Meaningful Use for Electronic Medical Records.


OMC completed remodels of the Parkway Center creating new spaces for Sleep Lab, Behavioral Healthcare, the Foundation and Education.

OMC completed a new $2 million, 13,000 square-foot clinic in Mountain Grove.

OMC refinanced $21.4 million of bond debt using local lending partner.

Ozarks Medical Center History:

View OMC’s Original List of Donors

When West Plains Memorial opened in 1959, it was the result of almost a decade of work, five years of campaigning and the efforts of thousands of people.

“For many years it has been the dream of some of the progressive people of this area to have a modern, well-equipped hospital in West Plains,” said original board member Catherine Castner in 1955. “However, to many persons, it was only a dream, thinking that only a miracle would make it come true.”

The miracle to make the hospital come true was the hard work of determined local residents who through their bake sales, pie suppers and donations of their hard-earned paychecks made the dream of the hospital a reality.

Talk of a hospital began in 1951 when a Howell County Steering Committee was organized to research the possibility of a hospital. But, the steering committee was met with defeat. In 1951 and again in 1952, voters turned down a proposition to issue bonds for the purpose of a hospital.

But the vote did not discourage those who were determined to see a hospital in Howell County. Defeat simply meant more meetings, speeches, letters and campaigning.

On June 16, 1954, local businessman Lawrence E. Champieux called a public meeting to once again discuss the idea of a local hospital. A five-member hospital steering committee was appointed including Champieux, Hugh K. Thompson, George Roehrman, Dr. M.D. Amyx and Mrs. Dean W. Davis.

Adding to the planning group was the original Board of Trustees, who served from 1955 to 1960. This group included Thompson, president; Harry Boyer, vice president; Mrs. Davis, secretary; Pearl Butler, treasurer; Catherine Castner; Howard Fuller; J.E. Hard; Williard Hunter; O.H. Sears; Glen Roe; John Stein; J. Robert Barton; and H.T. Harlin. Honorary members were Lawrence Champieux, Clyde Williams and Charles Wood.

The new directors set about finding the funding that would make the hospital dream a reality. The most logical option was matching federal funds available under the Hill-Burton Act. The government, however, required applicants for the funds to show they were serious about building by putting up a $10,000 deposit.

The determined board was serious enough to dig into their own pockets and contribute $100 each. They then turned to area merchants, and found 90 who would also give $100. To put that in perspective, in 1959, a gallon of gas cost 25 cents, a loaf of bread 20 cents and a movie ticket $1.

The first $10,000 had been raised, but there was still a long way to go. A 42-bed equipped hospital would cost more than $700,000. The community would need to raise $350,000.

In 1955, Campaign Chairman Charles Wood asked the people to get behind the project.

“As far as this community is concerned, we have increased employment, converted pastures into homes and begun improvements to the school system,” he is quoted as saying. “But the one thing we have not done is provide hospital facilities to meet our needs. A hospital is the one thing we must have.”

Support from the community began to come in. Clyde Williams, a retired shoe merchant, pledged to give up to 10 acres of land for the hospital site on a piece of desirable property located just off Highway 63. One contributor funded a private patient room; three smaller rooms off the central corridor were pledged by another. Area churches held “hospital Sundays.” More than 1,200 area residents pledged to give at least $120 to the project, or $10 each month for a year.

In 1957 they broke ground and in 1959, 56 months after that first public meeting, the community saw the result of their efforts as West Plains Memorial Hospital opened its 42-beds to serve the 40,000 residents of south-central Missouri. The hospital opened in March 1959 and on April 30 of that year, more than 3,000 people attended an open house and ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening.

Looking back over the beginning of the hospital and the campaign to build it, Charles Hall, the hospital’s first administrator, said this in its first annual report “The conception of the idea, the development and the growth of the project is a rewarding experience. Such good things seem to be generated in the minds of people with faith and purpose. Faith of this kind is contagious.”

– Growing through the years –

Throughout its half-century of operation OMC has grown from a 42-bed hospital to a 114-bed complete health care system, which programs include heart care, cancer treatment, behavioral health care and rehabilitation services.

As the community grew, so did the hospital. In 1970, 24 beds, an intensive care unit, treatment room and family room were added to the original building. A second expansion was completed in 1974 that fulfilled the need for cafeteria space, office space and a waiting area. A third expansion project was completed in 1978. This time adding to the hospital 38 beds to the hospital, a new laboratory, X-ray department, physical therapy department, surgical suite, respiratory care and emergency room services.

In the 1980s the hospital acquired Heart of the Ozarks Medical Equipment (H.O.M.E.) as a for-profit subsidiary, built the Doctor’s Pavillion and opened a stress unit.

Recognizing that the hospital was serving much more than the West Plains area, in 1985 the board of trustees changed the hospital’s name to Ozarks Medical Center positioning the organization to become a regional medical referral center.

In 1989, OMC fulfilled another large need in the community by opening the Heart Care Center, including a cardiac diagnostic lab and cardiac catheterization lab. According to the then administration, the catheterization lab was opened to treat an estimated 500 patients each year who previously drove several hours to receive cardiac diagnostic procedures.

In the 1990s, OMC underwent major growth, reaching out to outlying areas and expanding services. Several area clinics became part of the OMC system, including facilities in Winona, West Plains, Thayer, Gainesville and Salem, Ark. In addition, OMC now has clinics in Mountain Grove, Mountain View, Alton and Mammoth Spring, Ark. Also in the 1990s, the OMC Neurosciences Center opened, Riverways Hospice services began and OMC received accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

The external appearance of the hospital changed drastically in 1993 when a 47,000-square-foot expansion/renovation project was completed, providing new space for the medical/surgical floor, ICU, medical records, admissions, emergency department, mammography suite, gift shop and waiting room.

In 1997, OMC was awarded a state contract to provide mental health services for a seven-county region and OMC Behavioral Healthcare opened in the former West Vue Nursing Home.

The Shaw Medical Building opened in October of 1998 as home to the OMC Cancer Treatment Center, Rehabilitation Services and Imaging. It was named after Arch W. Shaw, a business leader, publisher and advisor to presidents, whose descendants have been instrumental in the progress of this area for more than a half a century. This includes supporting the development and growth of OMC, serving on its board of directors and contributing to the expansion of quality medical care. The two-story Shaw Medical Building encompasses approximately 30,000 square feet and was constructed at a cost of more than $7 million.

The next big expansion for OMC was in 2001 when the OMC Surgical Services facility opened. The facility houses more than $2 million worth of state-of-the-art surgical equipment.

In 2005, a major milestone was reached when open-heart surgeries began at OMC. Today, OMC Heart Care Services sees approximately 1,200 patients each month, including Cardiac Rehabilitation patients.

Did you know?

  • In 1959, the original 42-bed hospital facility was built for a total of $700,000. In comparison, a gallon of gas cost 25 cents.
  • Before OMC was built, area churches held “hospital Sundays.” More than 1,200 area residents pledged to give at least $120 to the project, or $10 each month for a year?

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