Ferrell Hospital began in 1925 as a physician's office on the second floor of a downtown office building in Eldorado, Illinois. Three years later, in 1928, a one-story hospital with 12 beds and five staff members was built at the current 1201 Pine Street location. The hospital was named in recognition of its founder, Dr. J.V. Ferrell, and remained a one-physician hospital until 1937 when Dr. Robert V. Ferrell joined his father in practice.
The first addition to the original hospital structure came in 1941 when a second story was added and capacity increased to 23 beds.
Ferrell enjoyed further growth following World War II. In 1948, a north wing was completed, increasing the bed capacity to 40. In 1958, new kitchen and dining facilities were completed as well as a remodeling project that increased the bed count to 49.
In 1967, the physician-owners sold Ferrell Hospital to a group of area businessmen and professionals. Faced with mounting government regulations and the need for a more modern facility, planning began in the late 1960s for construction of a new hospital. Twenty area businessmen and physicians formed a land trust corporation in 1974 to finance construction of a new hospital. Their plan involved building space for 51 hospital beds and a six-suite physician clinic. The new facility opened on February 1, 1976.
Twenty years later, Southern Illinois Healthcare Enterprises, Inc. (SIH) purchased the hospital. SIH upgraded imaging and diagnostic equipment, including MRI, and added an off-site physical therapy facility, Rehab Unlimited, in 2000. Also during this time, the cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation department, emergency department, and surgical suite were completely remodeled. Ferrell Hospital received accreditation as a critical access facility in 2003.
Effective March 1, 2004, SIH entered into an agreement with Ferrell Hospital Board of Directors to return the hospital to local ownership and governance. On April 1, 2005, Ferrell Hospital Community Foundation became an independent critical access hospital.
Ferrell Hospital entered into an agreement with Deaconess Illinois in December 2015 to manage and provide additional support to staff and services at Ferrell. Today, that partnership remains strong and each hospital maintains its independence. With the help of Deaconess Illinois, Ferrell Hospital envisioned a major modernization and expansion plan. Once completed, Ferrell Hospital will offer new patient care areas, private patient rooms, more modern facilities and expanded spaces for new physicians and other providers. Ferrell is a much stronger hospital financially and in the quality of care provided, due to the partnership with Deaconess Illinois.
Health care has certainly changed in the years since Dr. Ferrell began practicing medicine in the second-floor downtown building. What has not changed, however, is the dedication of our medical and hospital staff to provide compassionate care, caring providers and a commitment to the community’s health.