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.
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.
Boyd Hospital merged with another practice in town (Dr. Hensel’s) and was renamed St. Luke’s Hospital.
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.
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.
After a fire destroyed part of St. Luke’s, the hospital was remodeled and expanded to 22 beds—almost four times its former capacity.
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.
As the Alexandria area continued to grow, a new 40-bed wing was added to Our Lady of Mercy.
In later years, this building was renamed Tanquist Memorial Home and the new wing was used for boarding care.
To meet the expanding needs of the surrounding community, the citizens of Douglas County built a new, state-of-the-art 50-bed hospital and named it Douglas County Hospital (DCH). Shortly after, St. Luke’s Hospital transferred its patients to the new DCH and became St. Luke’s Rest Home.
Before DCH, the Board of County Commissioners would send county patients to University Hospital in Minneapolis at a cost of $3.25 per day, which was divided between county and state. Once Douglas County Hospital opened its doors, county patients were treated locally at almost half the cost—just $1.63 per day, including medical services and room.
From 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.
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.
Douglas County voters approved a $6 million bond for 29 additional hospital beds and the expansion of x-ray, surgery, and outpatient facilities.
A new 24-hour emergency service was added to the main entrance of the hospital, establishing DCH as a regional emergency/trauma center.
A state-of-the-art oncology unit brought much-needed cancer care to Alexandria, in partnership with CentraCare Systems and St. Cloud Hospital.
Douglas County Hospital was named one of the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals by Thomson Reuters.
A new surgery Center was built, featuring seven operating rooms, as well as recovery rooms, facilities for outpatient procedures, and outreach clinics.
The medical oncology unit was added to the main floor of the hospital.
Douglas County Hospital achieved Level III Trauma Designation for the first time.
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.
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.
Through its outstanding care and quality, Douglas County Hospital has continued to capture more and more attention nationwide.
Named Top 100 in the Nation for Joint Replacement Patient Safety by CareChex.
Rated one of the Top 14 Hospitals in Minnesota for Safe Surgery by Consumer Reports.
Named a Top Performing Rural Hospital by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.
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.
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
For a hospital that now serves over 150 zip codes throughout central Minnesota, the name Douglas County Hospital no longer conveys who we really are. We are committed to serving all the people of this region—with industry-leading skill and care. And, 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 has come to bring our team together under one unifying brand.
The name Alomere represents an exciting new chapter for healthcare in central Minnesota.
Nothing has changed with our mission and vision. Nothing has changed with our ownership. But everything has changed with our potential. With our new name and brand, we have the focus 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.