Over the years, Munroe Regional Medical Center's true hallmark has been its commitment to its mission, "to improve the health of our community by delivering compassionate, innovative care through exceptional people doing extraordinary works."
It all started back in 1898, when Mr. Ben Rheinauer owner of a dry goods store, was one of the first people to reach the side of a man who had just been accidentally run down by a horse and wagon as he attempted to cross Exposition Street (now Broadway). Dr. E. Van Hood and Dr. La Foss joined "Mr. Ben" as he rushed into the street to assist the victim whose leg was broken. The man needed immediate medical attention and there was no place to take him except to Dr. Van Hood's office where he was treated. As they removed the victim from the dusty, unpaved street, Mr. Ben said, "This is another example of why Ocala must have a hospital to care for the sick and injured." His remarks, made in a moment of stress, fired the imagination of other community leaders who had been discussing the need for a hospital for years.
Joining Mr. Ben and Dr. Van Hood in planning the hospital were Dr. S. P. Eagleton, Dr. A.L. Izlar, C.H. Campbell and C.L. Bittinger, editor of the Ocala Evening Daily Star. The Rev. J.C. Porter published The Star and owned a three-story building at the corner of Fort King and Osceola. Mr. Bittinger knew the top floor was empty and Rev. Porter agreed to make it available, free of charge, for use as the temporary hospital, which was named Marion General Hospital. It was far from ideal, because of the narrow stairs and limited space, but it was a place to start and grow. The new hospital had no orderlies and only a few nurses. In emergencies, doctors recruited help from The Star editorial and composing room staff located on the second floor.
In April 1901, the hospital moved to a three-story building located at the corner of Adams and Orange Street, now Northwest Second Street and First Avenue. It was an improvement, particularly for access, but remained a makeshift arrangement until 1915 when the third hospital move was made to a new frame building built on top of a hill on South Orange Street. This beautifully located facility had broad cool verandas on both floors where convalescing patients could breathe the fresh air and enjoy the rolling landscape. In an emergency, the new hospital could take care of 50 patients. In 1916, the Superintendent's Report noted that the total hospital expenses for the year ran $6,704, which included the salaries of the superintendent, nurses, cooks, janitor, chamber maid and laundresses. There were 232 patients admitted that year with patients staying an average of 12.9 days.
With banker T.T. Munroe taking the lead, lengthy discussions began to take place in the mid1920s about building a larger facility on the same property. As the result of the passage of a bond issue by City of Ocala voters, a 73-bed hospital was built in 1927, which today serves as administrative offices. The hospital changed its name from Marion General Hospital to Munroe Memorial Hospital in honor of Mr. Munroe's leadership and contributions to the growth of the hospital.
It wasn't too long after the Second World War that the issue of overcrowding and need for growth came to the forefront again. With a population growth of 15,000 in 1956, hospital admissions continued to grow and the decision made to expand in three phases. By the early 1960's the phases had been completed and the hospital had 130 beds. From the 70's to today, there has been continued growth in healthcare developments and services at the hospital, so much so that in 1980, Munroe Memorial Hospital changed its name to Munroe Regional Medical Center (MRMC) to reflect its depth of services and the expanded community that it was now serving. By 1994 the hospital's continued expansion had brought its bed count to 323.
In 2003, Munroe Regional's most recent expansion project was completed. This 200,000 square foot expansion project expanded the medical center's capacity to 421 beds and included 150 new, private patient rooms.
Expansion at Munroe Regional has gone beyond the walls of the hospital and includes other medical services to outlying areas; i.e.: Speech & Hearing Center, Wound Care Center, Midwives of Ocala, Diabetes Healthways, Munroe Regional's LifeTime Centers providing cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, as well as physical therapy, in Ocala and Lady Lake and Munroe Regional's Medical Park at TimberRidge. The Medical Park is home to medical offices, a LifeTime Center, an award winning Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, and Collins Health Resource Center. In 2002, Munroe Regional opened the state of Florida's first free-standing emergency department. Munroe Regional's Emergency Center at TimberRidge carries on the hospital's commitment to meeting the changing healthcare needs of the community. The Emergency Center at TimberRidge emphasizes convenience, efficiency and a rapid, attentive response to patient needs. Twenty-four hour staffing by a team of emergency specialists, streamlined registration and processing, 12 exam rooms, as well as four additional rooms utilized for rapid, non-urgent patients, and cutting-edge technology combine to ensure quality, effective treatment. It is the same quality and effective emergency treatment that patients receive at Munroe Regional's downtown emergency department.
There's a key component to the successful growth of Munroe Regional that goes beyond the building expansions, renovations, and additional services - it's Munroe Regional's people. In a collaborative process that involves administrators, board members, physicians, associates, volunteers, government officials, hospital consultants, architects, and community members these individuals combine talents, professionalism and enthusiasm to ensure Munroe Regional's delivery of first-class healthcare.
The community can rest assured that Munroe Regional will continue to take the necessary steps to insure that the hospital meets not only present but future healthcare needs of the community, as "Mr. Ben," T.T. Munroe, and others would have expected.
1500 SW 1st Ave
Ocala, FL 34471