The residents of Ochiltree County know they can depend on Ochiltree General Hospital for almost all of their health care needs. For the past 50 years Ochiltree General has offered dependable service to our community. But how did this all begin?
The idea of a public hospital for our area became popular in the early 1960's. Perryton's population was rapidly growing and was stretching the capabilities of the two existing private hospitals in our community. The original bond issue was made with the assumption that the new hospital district would receive funds from the Hill-Burton program. However, when the funds did not materialize, an additional bond issue of $500,000.00 was approved by the voters in December 1964.
Once construction was underway, many area families donated the furnishings for various patient rooms within the new hospital while Mr. and Mrs. George Swingle and Mr. and Mrs. Addison Cutter donated the 10 acres. Ochiltree General was originally designed to be a 65-bed, full-service hospital with the capability to expand to 100 beds.
At the time the first patients were admitted in January 1967, Ochiltree General was the largest and most complete hospital in the North Plains area. When Ochiltree General opened her doors, the cost of a deluxe private room was $30.00 per day while a private room went for $22.50, a semi-private room was charged at $18.00 and a bed in the ward cost only $14.00.
R.D. Stephenson, Jr., M.D. served as the president of the original Board of Directors for Ochiltree General.
Board members included W.C. Sanders, Paul Shrader, Clarence Neufeld and Audie Conley. Mr. Conley passed away before the construction of the hospital could be completed and was replaced on the Board of Directors by Clarence Harr.
The original medical staff of Ochiltree General Hospital included Zoel Allen, D.D.S.; Manse Wood,D.D.S.; M.G. Wood, D.D.S.; J. Bluford Johnson, M.D.; R. D. Stephenson, M.D.; G.L. Kengle, M.D.; Roy Sanford, M.D.; E. Burns Gray, M.D.; Ansel McDowell, M.D.; C. Dean Monroe, M.D. and Eugene Waide, M.D.
The first administrator of OGH was Gerald F. Geyer and key employees included Ruth Hill, R.N., Director of Nursing Services; Charles Neas, Chief X-Ray Technician, Howard Roach, Chief Laboratory Technician and Marvin Smith, Chief Engineer.