Lost Hospital — Douglas Community Medical Center0

Douglas Community Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon, was built in the early 1950s. Community leaders in both areas wanted a secular alternative to long-established Catholic hospitals within their borders.

Led by Roseburg Forest Products owner Kenneth Ford, the hospital provided a secular alternative to Catholic hospitals in Oregon. Even as the ownership structure of the hospital changed after 1985, the facility still maintained its community status: patients went there to be treated by friends and neighbors. The corporate changes, however, ultimately proved to be too much for Douglas Community.

In 1996, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation (the owner at the time) announced its planned $20 million remodel, including the addition of a three-story building and medical office space in excess of 45,000 square feet. In 1999 after Columbia/HCA disbanded, the new owners (Triad) announced its intent to continue with the expansion project. Unfortunately, the federal investigation into Columbia/HCA cast a dark shadow over its former facility, even after it was sold.

In a two year period, Douglas Community had three new CEOs over two years. This resulted in a change of loyalty among the local doctors, leaving Douglas Community for a nearby competitor. Triad was forced to file a lawsuit against the other hospital, alleging unfair business practices which resulted in $40 million in damages.

While Douglas Community argued unfair competition, the other hospital charged Douglas Community with bad management. Ultimately, concern about the age of the Douglas Community, its stability of medical staff and continuity of care led to a dramatic decrease in the hospital’s census.  Not only did Douglas Community lose its lawsuit, but it closed in February 2000, giving its employees two weeks’ notice before ceasing operations permanently. To add insult to injury, in 2006 Triad lost its case at the appellate level.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.