Baptist DeSoto 25th Anniversary: Timeline/History
For 25 years, Baptist DeSoto has given patients across northwest Mississippi a place to find quality, specialized care. Our colleagues dedicate each day to raising the standard for clinical excellence, and their hard work has paid off in consistent national recognition for our quality outcomes. In 2012 Baptist DeSoto was ranked #1 in Mississippi for cardiac services by HealthGrades™, the nation’s leading independent ratings company. US News and World Report named us a “high performing” hospital in 2011. And in 2010 the Mississippi Nurses’ Association honored us as the Hospital of the Year.
It has been an illustrious quarter-century, and the hospital continues to grow and enhance its services to meet the ever-changing needs of DeSoto County. But at the start, things were very different. The brief history below will show you just have far we’ve come in 25 years.
In the Beginning
The groundbreaking for Baptist DeSoto was held on October 26, 1987. And the ground we broke was mostly an empty pasture. Twenty-five years ago, DeSoto County had about three restaurants and was mainly a rural area. The population was just a little more than 68,000. But we believed in this community and its potential for growth. As cattle farming was gradually replaced by crops like soybeans, more and more pasture land was turned into subdivisions, setting the stage for rapid expansion in the county — a growing population that needed a first-rate health care system.
On August 22, 1988, the doors opened on a 130-bed hospital and 30-bed rehab unit, complete with a labor and delivery unit and a nursery, a 24 hour emergency room, and a wide array of radiology services including CT scan, ultrasound, mammography, and nuclear medicine services. The hospital also had inpatient and outpatient surgery, a full laboratory, and pharmacy services. Adjoining the hospital was a professional office building that accommodated 25 physicians.
The federal census of 1990 confirmed what we knew was coming — DeSoto was the fastest growing county in the state of Mississippi and had grown to the sixth largest county overall. The federal government approved building an interchange on Interstate 55 at Church Road, a project that would eventually help accommodate the rapid growth in people living and working in our area.
Growing through the 1990s
What seemed like a large new hospital in 1990 quickly discovered the need to grow and expand its services. Baptist DeSoto opened a freestanding Center for Diagnostics, and by the mid-90s the Emergency Room was expanding. The ER went from six rooms to 21 rooms and grew to 15,500 square feet – four times larger than the original ER design. Four of the rooms were critical care stations with five ambulance bays. On average, the ER saw 350 patients a month and most arrived by ambulance. The average transit time through the ER upon opening had been 300 minutes, but after the expansion, it dropped to 96 minutes.
The responsiveness of our ER was the perfect metaphor for the way our hospital responded to the changing needs of our country, and people noticed. Baptist DeSoto received the Mississippi Quality Award from the State of Mississippi.
Into a New Century
By the year 2000, the county had almost fully transformed itself from a traditional agricultural economy to an urban center. Only three dairies remained. Subdivisions and shopping malls now stood where cotton fields and cow pastures had been. In the new millennium, DeSoto County would open its new civic center, the new DeSoto County Central School Campus on Getwell Road, and a DeSoto County Historical Museum. Southaven was now the fourth largest city in the state.
As for the hospital, the Baptist system embarked on Metro 2000, which involved a huge expansion of Baptist DeSoto’s Critical Care Unit, women’s center and emergency room. In 2006, Baptist DeSoto would open its new bed tower, making the former community-based hospital a major medical center serving all of North Mississippi.
This growth and expansion of services came with the responsibility to be able to respond to major crises. We partnered with local law enforcement agencies to be able to respond as necessary to events like Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 “swine flu” epidemic. When tornadoes hit, we could now initiate a command system and be ready to respond not only for the hospital patients and staff but for any injuries within the community.
Innovation and Community Involvement
After the first decade of the new century, Baptist DeSoto opened the first rehabilitation garden in the Mid-South, hosted the first Skills Lab featuring robotic patients, was ranked in the top 10% nationally for inpatient rehabilitation services, and was named the Best Large Employer by Memphis Business Journal.
We also increasingly focused on our responsibility to heal our community in other ways, beyond the hospital walls. Volunteers started our Shoeboxes for Soldiers initiative, a program that in its first year sent 500 care boxes to soldiers overseas. To date, more than 10,000 boxes have been donated to Mississippi soldiers from Tunica, Tate, Marshall, Panola, and Desoto counties. In 2010 we partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a family in need in Horn Lake. And each year we contribute tens of millions of dollars in community benefit in the form of free health care, outreach, and education initiatives.
But at the forefront is still our commitment to providing exceptional, innovative care. In 2010 we were upgraded to a Level III trauma center —one of only five in the state. On average, our Emergency Department now sees around 60,000 patients a year, making it the busiest adult emergency room in the Mid-South. We have recorded consistent cardiac response times that average 30 minutes faster than the national best practice benchmark.
We have also tackled Mississippi’s biggest health issues — obesity and heart disease — with our Strong Hearts initiative. We have successfully positioned ourselves as one of the leaders in cardiac services by hosting the first conference in the state for cardiac physicians, and by partnering with Stern Cardiovascular Center. We were the first hospital in Mississippi to use the Impella heart pump — the world’s smallest heart pump — and one of the first hospitals in the nation to participate in the FDA-approved Orbits II Clinical Trial for heart procedures.
It has all added up to an exciting new era both for Baptist DeSoto and Mississippi health care, as we continue to add new technologies like the da Vinci® surgical robot and TrueBeam™ linear accelerator, expand services in rehabilitation, cardiac, and cancer services, and invest in nurse training and development.
In 2012, Baptist DeSoto was recognized as the Best Place to Work by Modern Healthcare Magazine, ranked #1 in Mississippi for cardiology services by HealthGrades™, recognized as a Chest Pain Center for Excellence by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, and selected as one of only five hospitals in the nation to participate in the STAR-2 Quality Improvement Research Study as part of the Improvement Science Research Network.
We anticipate that the next 25 years will be just as exciting and prosperous.