This history was taken from the book “Beside the Healing Waters: Rollins Brook Community Hospital”
by Patty Benoit
A History of Healing
Since the first Anglo settlers ventured into Lampasas, Texas, the area has been known as a hub for healing. In the early part of the 20th Century people were drawn to the clear-blue spring waters, which maintained a comfortable 72 degrees year round and were rumored to hold healing powers. By 1902, the resort like atmosphere of Lampasas had attracted the interest of thousands of wellness seekers looking to bathe in the spring waters, and began being called by The Dallas Morning News “the finest sulpher springs in the world.”
Although numerous medical societies held frequent conventions in Lampasas, few well-trained physicians relocated permanently. Patients needing skilled medical attention were required to travel many miles to seek treatment.
A Legacy of Care
In 1932, a young doctor looking to establish a prosperous medical practice arrived in Lampasas with a vision and a will to succeed. Dr. Herbert Bailey Rollins, M.D., established a practice above a pharmacy and began plans to open a much needed community hospital. By 1934, Dr. Rollins had begun buying acres of land fronting Grand Avenue, later named Key Avenue. The land was spotted with brush, trees and grass and it was clear much work would need to be done to build and open a hospital on these grounds. Not one to shy away from hard work, Dr. Rollins began clearing the land to ready it for construction. “Herb Pearson recalled driving cattle along Old Lometa Road, when he saw Dr. Rollins clearing brush on a hilltop. ‘I asked Dr. Rollins what he was doing,” Mr. Pearson told the Lampasas Dispatch Record in 2000. ‘I’m building a hospital,” was the doctor’s reply.”
Also in 1934, Dr. Rollins called upon his Baylor Medical School roommate, Dr. Winston Marshall Brook, M.D., to join him in his practice. Dr. Rollins liked the prospects that lay ahead in Lampasas, and by February 1935 Dr. Rollins and his wife packed up and headed to the area.
The construction of Rollins Brook Hospital had begun and was in full swing by this time. The building project would cost approximately $20,000, a vast amount for a community in the grips of the Great Depression. Local craftsmen from the community began working to help build the hospital, offering their expertise in construction, carpentry, painting, and paving in exchange for hospital certificates. Townspeople also began purchasing hospitalization vouchers for prepaid care at the hospital, as well as donating money for the purchase of medical equipment.
Strong Community Bond
In March of 1935, a countywide open house and linen shower was held on the site of the now erect Rollins Brook Hospital. More than 500 visitors from across the state toured the hospital and donated linens. Locally, linen stores held “Hospital Linen” sales and congratulatory ads were placed in the local paper, the Lampasas Dispatch Record. Soon after the open house, the first patient was admitted and the first child was delivered into the 12-bed hospital.
“For years, the hospital operated on a break even basis, often accepting pay-as-you go and trade. Dr. Brook’s wife, Babe, recalled coming home one day to find a whole dressed pig in the kitchen sink. ‘I didn’t know what to do with that pig,’ says Mrs. Brook. ‘This was before there was much refrigeration, so whatever I did, had to be fast. I finally kind of hacked it up and divided it among our neighbors,’” as told to the Lampasas Dispatch Record in 1987.
In 1948, due to ill health, Dr. Rollins left Lampasas, leaving the three physicians in charge of hospital operations. Drs. Morris K. Patteson Sr., and David Rush McMillin joined the family practice and began aiding in the upkeep of Rollins Brook Hospital. By the end of 1948, Drs. Brook, Patteson and McMillin were working to expand the hospital and clinic.
By 1955, the three physicians, along with community aid, five more patient rooms, operating rooms, storage and dietary areas were constructed as well as the addition of a newly constructed wing on the west side of the building. The wing included another office, X-ray, laboratory and a medical records storage room.
- 1958 – Received Accreditation by Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
- 1960 – Dr. Rollins passes away at 55 years of age
- 1965 – Construction of new wing adding 7 patient rooms with baths, a linen room and a bath with shower
- 1973 – Prayer Chapel donated
- 1977 – Dr. Brook passes away at72 years of age
- 1977 – Dr. Morris K. Patteson Jr., joins his father’s practice
- 1981 – Dr. McMillin, Dr. Bishop and Drs. Patteson sell Rollins Brook Community Hospital to Contemporary Health Management
- 1984 – Rollins Brook Home Health Agency opens
- 1984 – Rollins Brook Hospital is sold to National Medical Administration
- 1985 – Rollins Brook Hospital is sold to Ambulatory Hospitals of America
- 1986 – Rollins Brook Hospital is sold to HealthStar Corporation
- 1990 – Rollins Brook Hospital is sold to Community Lifecare Corporation
- 1991 – Rollins Brook Hospital is operating on skeleton crew of eight
- 1991 – Community Lifecare closes doors of Rollins Brook Hospital; Public Auction of hospital property posted.
Expanding the Dream
After a litany of owners and mismanagement, Rollins Brook Hospital sat with closed doors and debts in excess of $800,000. Community members gathered to discuss the fate of the hospital. It was decided that the hospital must be re-opened, at any cost. Several members of the newly formed Lampasas Hospital Committee began discussions with Metroplex Adventist Hospital and Adventist Health System officials to gauge interest in Metroplex Health System managing Rollins Brook Hospital.
One looming question remained: If the community could buy back the property, would Adventist Health System be willing to manage the hospital?
It was decided that the county of Lampasas would work to raise the money necessary to keep the hospital open. Just as the citizens of Lampasas County had worked to help open Rollins Brook Hospital in 1935, they once again rolled-up their sleeves and got to work.
Civic groups, local businesses, citizens, out-of-state friends and family were all contacted to donate. School students emptied their piggy banks. Car washes bake sales and coin drives were held. On September 31, 1991 – on the front steps of the old court house, in front of a gathering crowd of locals and national news reporters, the citizens of Lampasas purchased Rollins Brook hospital for $565,000.
- Metroplex Adventist Hospital opened emergency medical services within one week.
- Hospital renamed Rollins Brook Community Hospital
- Carlyle Walton is named as Rollins Brook Community Hospital Administrator (Mr. Walton is the current President/CEO of Metroplex Health System as of 2009)
- December 1991 – Rollins Brook Community Hospital reopens with 15 beds, emergency medical services and a lab.
- February 1992 – Surgical services are offered at Rollins Brook Community Hospital
- 1995 – Mammography unit receives accreditation
- 1995 – Ultrasound is available
- 1995 – Cataract and opthamologic surgery is available
- 1995 – Pediatric and respiratory therapy services is available
- 1995 – Rollins Brook Community Hospital operates in the black
- 1997 – Rollins Brook Community Hospital Inc., signs over ownership to Adventist Health System
- 1998 – Groundbreaking ceremony for hospital renovation construction
- 2000 – Updated Rollins Brook Community Hospital reopens
- 2004 – Groundbreaking ceremony for new surgical wing construction
- 2005 – Surgical wing construction is completed
- 2006 – Cerner Go Live
- 2007 – Mobile MRI is available
- 2008 – Dexa Scan is available
- 2008 Sleep Disorders Center is available
- 2009 – 16-Slice CT Scan is available
- 2010 – Helicopter Pad is planned to be available in October
- 2010 – Computer Physician Order Entry system to Go Live in August