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Our History

We’ve been caring for our community since 1899.

The story of Alomere Health has been long and rich. It stems from the very beginnings of Alexandria healthcare—including several name changes, hundreds of medical providers and many generations of patients. But it has always been focused on one thing: you.

Part One: The beginnings

  • 1899

    Forty years after the first log cabin and hotel were built on Lake Agnes, Boyd Hospital opened its doors at the corner of Ninth and Elm, with enough beds for six patients. It was Alexandria’s first hospital.

  • 1907

    Boyd Hospital merged with another practice in town (Dr. Hensel’s) and was renamed St. Luke’s Hospital.

  • 1917

    A second hospital, Mercy Hospital, was established in a large home once owned by Charles Cowing of Cowing-Robards Hardware. The hospital, located at 415 Seventh Avenue East, had 10 beds, all on the second floor, with the staff’s living quarters on the first floor.

  • 1922

    Dr. Edwin Tanquist moved to Alexandria and set up a thriving practice. Eventually, he began plans for a third hospital in town. By 1927, Dr. Tanquist had constructed Tanquist Hospital overlooking Lake Winona on property once known as the Brown residence which, years earlier, had been gifted to the city for a future hospital site. This hospital would eventually become part of Douglas County Hospital. Today, this former hospital is known as the 700 Cedar Building.

  • 1926

    After a fire destroyed part of St. Luke’s, the hospital was remodeled and expanded to 22 beds—almost four times its former capacity.

  • 1944

    Dr. Tanquist invited the Franciscan Sisters to take over operations of his hospital, and the Tanquist Hospital was renamed Our Lady of Mercy Hospital. In that same year, 950 people were hospitalized and 148 babies were born.

  • 1954

    As the Alexandria area continued to grow, a new 40-bed wing was added to Our Lady of Mercy.

Part Two: Stronger together

In the mid-fifties to late sixties, Our Lady of Mercy and Douglas County Hospitals both served Alexandria independently, offering nearly identical services. In November 1967, a joint committee was formed to explore the possibility of merging the city’s two hospitals. Before long, it became clear that the community could be better served if these two powerful institutions joined forces.

By April 1, 1969, the merger became a reality. Staff and resources for the two hospitals began operating under the name Douglas County Hospital, with one of their facilities called Douglas County North and the other Douglas County South.

Part Three: Becoming world-class

  • 1974

    Within four years, the newly merged hospital had completed its first expansion, adding a 101-bed wing to Douglas County Hospital South. At the same time, the North campus was closed and all operations were consolidated into the current location.

  • 1981

    Douglas County voters approved a $6 million bond for 29 additional hospital beds and the expansion of x-ray, surgery, and outpatient facilities.

  • 1994

    A new 24-hour emergency service was added to the main entrance of the hospital, establishing DCH as a regional emergency/trauma center.

  • 1998

    A state-of-the-art oncology unit brought much-needed cancer care to Alexandria, in partnership with CentraCare Systems and St. Cloud Hospital.

  • 2002

    Douglas County Hospital was named one of the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals by Thomson Reuters.

  • 2003

    A new surgery Center was built, featuring seven operating rooms, as well as recovery rooms, facilities for outpatient procedures, and outreach clinics.

  • 2007

    The medical oncology unit was added to the main floor of the hospital.

  • 2009

    Douglas County Hospital achieved Level III Trauma Designation for the first time.

  • 2010

    In its largest-ever expansion, Douglas County Hospital more than doubled its size, with an 110,000-square-foot, three-story addition, a $32 million project that was paid for through a combination of cash on-hand and tax-exempt revenue bonds. The ground-floor was leased to Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, the second floor provided a new surgical inpatient unit, and the third floor housed DCH’s obstetric and nursery unit, the Birth Place.

Part Four: Joining forces for better care

In 2011, Douglas County Hospital announced plans to merge with Heartland Orthopedic Specialists and, shortly thereafter, also Alexandria Clinic (which also included Osakis Clinic). The merger of all three entities was completed July 1, 2012, instantly increasing the opportunities for outstanding care and service. These three highly respected entities each retained their names, but began operating as a single organization.

Through shared medical records, shared resources, greater efficiencies, and a seamless continuity of care, the hospital and the clinics have all been able to improve results for patients—and for the entire community. Behind the scenes, the partnership has been a powerful draw for recruiting additional highly skilled providers to the team.

Learn more about the history of Alexandria Clinic and Osakis Clinic.

  • 1941

    Dr. Harold Stemsrud and Dr. G.W. Clifford joined together to practice and are joined by Dr. Carlson and Dr. Wasson in the following years. Mr. Clarence (Kelly) Martinson became the clinic Manager in 1946 and was synonymous with the Alexandria Clinic for the next 30 years.

  • 1955

    With the addition of Dr. Peter Geiser, Dr. William Heegaard and Dr. Douglas Perkins, a larger facility was needed and the original Alexandria Clinic was built at 610 Fillmore Street.

  • 1970-

    A period of sustained growth for the Alexandria Clinic with the addition of specialists in the areas of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology. It was also during this period that a satellite office was established in Osakis.

  • 1988

    A major expansion of the clinic facilities at 610 Fillmore was undertaken, with a complete remodeling of the facility.

  • 1995

    The Osakis Clinic is doubled in size, and a long range plan is developed.

  • 1997

    A new 55,000 square foot building in Alexandria is built to accommodate 31 physicians and two mid-level providers.

  • 2004

    An additional 12,000 square feet is added to accommodate for an increase of six additional providers and expanded space in the Cardiac Care program, which is provided in collaboration with the Minneapolis Heart Institute. It also provided for a new chemotherapy area, expanded the radiology and imaging capabilities and developed a new state-of-the-art education and conference room.

    Also in 2004, the clinic embarked on a major project to convert patient records to an electronic, paperless medical record. Electronic records are more accessible and complete, and they improve patient confidentiality. The electronic record also provides for better communications with other providers and referral sources.

  • 2012

    The Alexandria Clinic became a service of Alomere Health (then known as Douglas County Hospital) through an integration of the two organizations. This merger, along with Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, brought three community-based service providers under one umbrella. With over 50 providers and expertise in ten specialties, this merger will make them one of the state’s largest integrated community healthcare providers.

Part Five: Regionally loved, nationally recognized

Through its outstanding care and quality, Douglas County Hospital has continued to capture more and more attention nationwide.

  • 2012

    Named Top 100 in the Nation for Joint Replacement Patient Safety by CareChex.

  • 2013

    Rated one of the Top 14 Hospitals in Minnesota for Safe Surgery by Consumer Reports.

  • 2016

    Named a Top Performing Rural Hospital by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

  • 2017

    Recognized as a High Performing Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, with the highest rating possible for hip replacement surgery.Earned the prestigious 5-Star designation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—one of only eight Minnesota hospitals to do so.

    • 3,500 inpatient hospital admissions
    • 16,000 ER admissions
    • 7,000 surgical procedures
    • 4,500 radiation oncology treatments
    • 665 Births
    • 600 total hip/knees replacements
    • 198,000 clinic visits

Part Six: Building toward the future

In 2017, the hospital completed a $15 million project that transformed over 25,000 square feet of the original 1955 building into a new specialty clinic and a new same-day surgical clinic. Another 7,500 square feet of surgical space was added as well, including four state-of-the-art new operating suites capable of supporting even more complex surgical procedures.

The expansion means more surgeries can be scheduled at earlier start times, to minimize overnight stays and, ultimately, reduce total cost of care. And, being in the heart of our community’s most trusted medical center—with the busiest Level 3 Trauma Center in the State of Minnesota right down the hall–gives patients true peace of mind.

Becoming Alomere Health

By 2018, our hospital was serving over 150 zip codes throughout central Minnesota and the name Douglas County Hospital no longer conveyed who we really were. As an integrated healthcare organization that includes one hospital and three clinics, each operating under different names—Douglas County Hospital, Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, Alexandria Clinic and Osakis Clinic—the time had come to bring our team together under one unifying brand.The name Alomere represented an exciting new chapter for healthcare in central Minnesota.Although we had a new name and brand, nothing changed with our mission and vision. Nothing changed with our ownership. But everything has changed with our potential. Our new name empowered us to become even better on behalf of you—the neighbors, friends, family and community we serve.

We’re incredibly proud of our history, and we look forward to our future together.