History

The Vernon Memorial Hospital Association was formed in November 1946. The Association organized a countywide fund drive to build a new hospital. Federal funds were promised if matching local funds could be raised. The fund drive brought in $104,200 with the county board contributing an additional $50,000 and the City of Viroqua voting a $60,000 bond issue.

Vernon Memorial Hospital first opened for patient care on September 21, 1951 with a bed capacity of 31. On November 15, 1951 the twelve member board of directors approved the first addition to the original building, adding 17 more beds.

A maternity wing was dedicated in May of 1956. A diagnostic and outpatient wing opened in 1969. The south wing was completed and dedicated in 1971 and the hospital reached a bed capacity of 53.

In October 1994, a three level addition housing Patient Registration and Accounts, the Gift Shop, the Outpatient Clinic, a Birthing Center and a mechanical area was dedicated. The main entrance was also moved from Main Street to the East side of the building.

The remodeling of the Emergency Department was completed in September 1995. In April 1996 a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the H.E.A.R.T. Center that includes Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics and Rehab and the VMH Wellness Center. The Physical and Occupational Therapy departments were remodeled in 1997.

A Renal Dialysis unit was opened on the first floor of VMH in 1998. Construction of a therapy pool, racquetball court and H.E.A.R.T. Center expansion was completed in 2001, just prior to VMH’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Members of Vernon Memorial Hospital Inc. voted unanimously in January 2003 to change the organization’s corporate name to Vernon Memorial Healthcare, Inc.

A three level interior addition was completed in November 2004. This houses The VMH Center for Minimally Invasive, Orthopaedic and General Surgery on second floor; a resource center and new gift shop on first floor; and office space and staff sleeping quarters on the lower level.

VMH also owns and operates the Kickapoo Valley Medical Clinic in Soldiers Grove (acquired 1/1/93), Bland Clinic in Westby (acquired 1/1/94), Hirsch Clinic in Viroqua (acquired 7/1/94), LaFarge Medical Clinic (acquired 10/1/03) and Solar Town Pharmacy in Soldiers Grove (acquired 6/1/05).

A new 144,000 square foot medical office building adjoining Vernon Memorial Hospital was completed in June 2006. This building, a collaborative project between Vernon Memorial Healthcare and Gundersen Lutheran Health System, brought Viroqua health care services into one convenient location. The building houses Hirsch Clinic-VMH on 4th floor. Third floor was left vacant for future expansion. Second floor is home to the Gundersen Lutheran Viroqua Clinic. First floor includes the VMH Family Practice and Complementary Medicine Clinic, The Viroqua Center for Orthopaedic Surgery, Outpatient Specialty Care and General Surgery, the VMH Retail Pharmacy, and Gundersen Eye Clinic. In the lower level is a restaurant, The Grille at VMH; a Conference Center with community meeting rooms; a Skills Lab used by VMH for staff training and by WTC for its two year nursing program. The technological, data, and mechanical systems of the building are also located on this level along with additional expansion space.

Remodeling of the Hospital Pharmacy, Laboratory and Imaging Departments was completed in the fall of 2007. The Hospital Pharmacy expanded into space formerly occupied by Central Supply and a storage area. The Laboratory was moved from its’ longtime location on first floor to the former Outpatient Clinic sight directly north of the hospital lobby. Imaging expanded into the former Laboratory Department.

A new retail pharmacy in downtown Westby was opened on October 15, 2008. The Vernon Memorial Pharmacy-Westby is located at 115 W. State Street.

A facelift was given to the VMH Birthing Center in the winter of 2009. Construction of the Gundersen Lutheran Renal Dialysis Center on third floor of the Viroqua Area Medical Office Building was also completed. The new 4,000 square foot unit opened to patients on February 3rd, 2009.

Gastroenterology and Infusion Services moved to the third floor of the Viroqua Area Medical Office Building on June 22, 2009.

Remodeling of patient rooms on the second floor of the hospital was completed in 2012.

The Bland Bekkedal Center for Hospice Care in Viroqua opened its doors in October of 2013.  It provides around the clock end of life care for terminally ill patients.