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Rawlins County Hospital began as an idea originating in the Atwood Rotary Club through the untiring efforts of Dr. C.E. Henneberger, M.D. The facility opened in 1950 as Rawlins County Hospital. The hospital was leased to and operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph until 1969, when Rawlins County Hospital, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation, was formed to lease and operate the hospital.

In 1989 the status of the hospital was changed to a public, county-owned operational hospital under the direction of a nine-member elected board, an act which also placed the hospital in full compliance with the County Hospital Act, K.S.A 19-4601 – 19-4625.

In 1992, the hospital Board of Trustees entered into a management agreement with Great Plains Health Alliance, allowing access to many professional consultants and group purchasing benefits. In 1997, the hospital’s name was changed to Rawlins County Health Center to reflect the partnership between the hospital, the rural health clinics, and the new Prairie Plaza Retirement Community.

In 1998, the hospital was converted to Critical Access Hospital status. The hospital maintains a full-service Emergency Room with adjacent Radiology and Laboratory Departments and is open 24/7, 365 days per year. The health care facility maintains a rural health clinic in Atwood. Rawlins County Health Center provides a specialty clinic area within the hospital complex offering local patients the services of outreach specialists who fly, drive, or provide tele-med to Atwood to serve their patient base.

In 2010, Rawlins County Health Center began the renovation and expansion of the 60-year-old facility. Through a Kansas Department of Commerce Community Service Tax Credit Award and a Community Development Block Grant Stimulus Award, new cardiac rehab and physical therapy departments, new patient parking areas, and a new front entrance and admissions area were completed. Rawlins County Health Center also received a $7 million-dollar USDA loan to construct a 10,170 sq. ft. patient wing, ER, lab, and x-ray plus the renovation of 10,000 sq. ft. of existing hospital space.

Rawlins County Health Center 2009
Rawlins County Health Center 2009

Construction continued at the facility as the Rural Health Clinic moved into the former patient wing. The development of the new Surgical Suite began with a Kansas Department of Commerce Community Service Tax Credit Award and a Community Development Block Grant. Phase II of the Surgical Suite was completed in 2017, with the addition of a central sterile room with the new central sterilization equipment funded by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.

The Rawlins County Hospital Foundation (established in 1988) was an affiliate (since 2002) of the Area Community Enrichment (ACE) Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization located in Atwood, Kansas, formed to facilitate donations and grant funds. In 2019, Rawlins County Health Center Foundation was formed to provide a direct 501(c)3 organization to facilitate fundraising for Rawlins County Health Center. Funds from the Rawlins County Hospital Foundation transferred to the new foundation in January 2020.

Rawlins County Health Center has applied for several grants for critical medical equipment during the past few years. Several private foundations and individuals have awarded these applications and assisted with purchasing an automated medication dispensing system, bariatric patient lifts, physical therapy/cardiac rehab exercise equipment, and much more.

Rawlins County Health Center is dedicated to providing professional services to all patients through the medical practices of a local physician, outreach specialists, two physician assistants, two advanced nurse practitioners, and more than 70 employees.

Rawlins County Health Center is an affiliate of Centura Health, Level IV Trauma Center Designation, and a community-based primary care clinic.