Our History

In 1976, Bolivar had a population of about 5,500 and nearly 19,000 in the county. There were only three full-time medical doctors in entire the community, and the nearest hospital was at least an hour away and as much as twice as far for many other communities in the area. The prospect for additional physicians hinged on having a hospital facility.

Up to this time many Polk county residents never thought building a regional hospital would become a reality. Many thought the best that could be hoped for was an expanded version of a physician's office.

In 1978 the community approved and organized the public hospital district, including the formation of the district's board of directors. Representing the district, the six board members represented diverse backgrounds and management skills and joined together as the strength and backbone of the monumental project.

Construction began and in 1982, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, the product of vision, hard work and exceptional spirit of a community was born.

Beginning with only three physicians and a staff of 90, CMH included 48 medical/surgical beds, four intensive care beds, four post-partum beds, six obstetric beds, emergency room, operation room, respiratory therapy, radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, physical therapy and an auxiliary.

As a not-for-profit, public district hospital, the vision of the board of directors was to continue growing without asking the community for additional tax dollars to expand the hospital.

Two years into operation, the hospital suspended its original tax levy in 1984. The not-for-profit organization was already self-sustaining.

The Citizens Memorial Healthcare Foundation was established in 1986 and was organized to assist the hospital in the community health system. The Foundation was a necessary part in the planned growth of the hospital and included nine board members.

With the dedication and support of its growing community, the entire CMH organization has continued to experience an unprecedented rate of growth.

CMH's annual budget has grown from $3.6 million in 1982, to a current budget of more than $188 million.

Doubling in original size every two years, CMH's facilities, which started at 45,000 square feet, now total nearly 1 million square feet.

CMH has also grown to a medical staff of nearly 120, and nearly 1,600 employees servicing nine counties.

In fact, CMH is Bolivar's largest employer, contributing more than $50 million in salaries to the local economy.

In addition to hospital services, CMH consists of 29 primary care and specialty physician clinics, five long-term care facilities, one residential care facility, five independent living communities, home health, hospice, homemaker plus, heath transit services, home medical equipment and rehabilitation services.

CMH now provides an array of medical specialties including anesthesiology and pain management, audiology, cardiology, dentistry, emergency medicine, endocrinology, family practice, general practice, general surgery, hematology, hospitalist, nephrology, neurology, neuropsychological, neurosurgery, obstetrics and gynecology, occupational health, oncology, ophthalmology, optometry, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, pathology, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical, speech and occupational therapy, plastic/reconstructive surgery, podiatry, psychiatry/counseling, pulmonology, radiology, sleep medicine, sports and occupational medicine, urology and vascular surgery.

CMH is a nationally recognized network that began with a vision to be the national model for rural healthcare delivery. Today, this regional healthcare system stands as a shining example of how efficiently, aggressively and progressively healthcare can be delivered.

In 1993, CMH was named one of the top 10 rural hospitals in America. This was primarily a result of CMH's exceptional ability to respond to the needs of the communities it serves.

CMH believes that rural hospitals are better positioned for development and integration by virtue of the fact that their communities have a pattern of communicating needs and asking their requests be met locally whenever possible.

A good example of ways that CMH has responded to the area's needs is with the construction of a surgical center and cancer center. Located across the street from the hospital, the new state-of-the-art CMH Ambulatory Surgical Center is open and is home to outpatient surgeries including those for general surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, podiatry, otolaryngology, and more. The surgical center is complete with leading edge technology. Housed in the Ambulatory Surgical Center will be several medical offices for specialty physicians and the outpatient physical rehabilitation clinic. Also under construction is the new Central Care Cancer Center at CMH. Once completed, the new facility will be able to offer complete cancer care in Bolivar, with the addition of radiation therapy.

Another credit to CMH is their use of cutting-edge technology. In 2003, CMH implemented the electronic medical record (EMR) system. Unlike most healthcare systems, where medical records are kept on paper, CMH's patient's medical records are now electronic.

This allows the physician to have the patient's information they need, when they need it and where they need to provide patients with the best possible care.

Because of this, CMH was awarded the prestigious Davies Award of Excellence, a national award recognizing achievement in medical record technology. CMH is the first rural and first non-academic hospital to win the award.

Also named a Most Wired and Most Wireless Hospital, CMH recently received a $467,000 grant to update the EMR system. The two-year grant will also help create a national model program to track and measure quality health standards.

Another area that CMH has led the way is in safety for patients and employees, which is an ongoing priority for CMH. The CMH residential care facility and all its long-term care are OSHA VPP participants.

Citizens Memorial Healthcare Facility and Butterfield Residential Care Centers were the first two facilities in the nation to receive OSHA's VPP Star Status. CMH's long-term care facilities also have been recognized for quality of care. Parkivew Healthcare Facility received the prestigious Primaris Nursing Home Quality Award in recognition of care quality and innovative efforts to promote and advance continual improvement.

Ash Grove Healthcare Facility will receive the American Health Care Association (AHCA)/National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) Step I Quality Award. Of more than 16,000 long-term care facilities in the United States, only three in Missouri will receive the award this year.

CMH continues to connect with the community through a wide variety of health and outreach programs, such as the Community Health Assistance Resource Team or CHART, which identifies local needs and partners with local agencies and civic groups, or through CMH's award winning linkage with the Bolivar High School for the Health Occupations Class. CMH is partnering with Bolivar Technical College to help ensure a well-trained and qualified staff for CMH.

Another important community project is the Medical Excellence Scholarship Fund. Through the fund, CMH provides financial assistance to local students who are working toward careers in healthcare and who will then return to the CMH rural area to practice their professions. To date, the fund has provided more than $1 million in assistance to approximately 250 students.

Other notable CMH community programs include Hey Lady Have a Heart, Polk County Community Connections, Dallas County Resource Group, Dade County Community Connections, School Health Expos, Alzheimer's Memory Walk, and CMH School Nurse Coalition, just to name a few.

CMH clinics are very active in providing programs for immunizations, flu shots, comprehensive wellness programs, mental health services and preventive care for communities. Average monthly patient attendance at our rural and specialty clinics are more than 11,000 visits, and is increasing each year.

CMH's award-winning Auxiliary program has maintained approximately 250 members with more than 100 of those actively volunteering within the organization. The CMH Auxiliary has twice received a first place plaque as a number one small-hospital auxiliary in the state of Missouri.

And each year, CMH supports local projects and community events with more than $50,000 in sponsorships including Relay for Life, Alzheimer's Association and youth athletics.

Although CMH has grown significantly over the past 25 years, one thing has remained constant. Since 1981, Donald Babb has led Citizens Memorial Hospital as its one and only chief executive officer. He also serves as executive director of the Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation and Riverside Management and Rehabilitation.

In recognition of his leadership and service, Mr. Babb has been presented with four major awards.

In 1993, he was given the Missouri State Association of Health Occupations Educators Distinguished Service Award for Community Involvement, and in 1994, he was given the Missouri Hospital Association Distinguished Service Award.

In 1997, Mr. Babb was given the Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Development Award by the American Hospital Association's Section for Small or Rural Hospitals and the Hospital Research and Educational Trust. The award spotlights leaders in small or rural hospital executive management positions, who, through innovative and progressive steps, have improved and enhanced health care delivery in their communities. Today's healthcare leaders recognize their responsibilities extend beyond the patients in their hospitals to the health of the community as a whole. Mr. Babb was presented the Visionary Leadership Award in 1999 from the Missouri Hospital Association, which recognizes healthcare executives whose innovative and exemplary initiatives improve the health of people in their communities.

CMH still upholds one basic principal: all patients, regardless of their physical or mental condition, will be treated with both dignity and respect.

CMH's family has continued to grow and strengthen. Thirty-seven original employees, board members and auxilians are still working at CMH and many share their commitment and dedication.

To learn more about our progression, visit our highlights of growth.

Missouri Quality AwardStage 7 Award RecipientSBJ Dynamic Dozen Award Recipient SBJ Economic Impact Award Recipient Most Wired Award RecipientHospital 417-326-6000
Infocenter 417-328-6010 or 1-888-328-6010
1500 N. Oakland, Bolivar, Missouri 65613