100 Years of Healing
|Presbyterian Healthcare Services had its beginning in 1908 as the Southwestern Presbyterian Sanatorium for patients with tuberculosis|
In the early 1900s Albuquerque was a haven for tuberculosis patients, because the arid New Mexico climate provided the perfect environment for healing. One such tuberculosis patient, The Reverend Hugh A. Cooper, arrived in Albuquerque in 1903. He quickly regained his health, and was named pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. In 1908, the Rev. Cooper founded the Southwest Presbyterian Sanatorium, a facility whose sole purpose was to help care for the hundreds of tuberculosis patients coming to the city.
Reverend Cooper ran the Southwest Presbyterian Sanatorium with the help of his very dedicated secretary, Marion Van Devanter. When he passed away in 1934, "Mrs. Van," as she was known, helped the new superintendent oversee operations as the executive secretary.
Patients traveled to the Southwest Presbyterian Sanatorium from all over the country and as far away as Europe and Asia. But because of the economic depression that the world faced in the 1930s, many could not pay for their hospitalization. Mrs. Van made fund-raising her personal mission. She raised money for “The San” through a variety of methods. She sent out penny postcards and asked recipients to pin a dollar to each and send it back. She traveled back to the east coast to fundraise. And, when the hardships surrounding the war years came along, Mrs. Van had patients knit socks for soldiers as a way of contributing to the victory effort.
By the early 1950s modern medicine was bringing tuberculosis under control, and “The San” saw a decline in their patient population. Revenue was down and “The San’s” future in doubt. The board of directors—and Mrs. Van—hired a professional hospital administrator to help manage the institution. A new administrator brought a new focus, and a new name: The Presbyterian Hospital Center.
The Presbyterian Hospital Center continued to grow through the 60s and 70s: Kaseman Hospital, a satellite facility in northeastern Albuquerque opened, the state’s first HMO health plan was established, a statewide multi-hospital system was formed. The Presbyterian Hospital Center was renamed Southwestern Community Health Services in order to better reflect the organization’s statewide reach and local involvement as a healthcare provider.
As New Mexico's population continued to grow through the 80s and 90s, the need for quality healthcare services grew as well. Southwestern Community Health Services became Presbyterian Hospital, the standard bearer by which a majority of New Mexicans defined excellence in healthcare. The "new" name recognized our 100 year heritage and the broad scope of healthcare services we offered.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services is headquartered in Albuquerque. The organization continues its mission as a not-for-profit corporation and offers a network of comprehensive healthcare services and providers throughout the state. The Presbyterian Healthcare Services system includes seven acute care hospitals, a long-term care facility, multiple rural clinics and community based family healthcare centers, home health services, and an affiliated managed care health plan.
Although the Presbyterian Healthcare Services continues to evolve and change, our leading principles remain steadfast. We were built on a foundation of caring by selfless leaders such as The Reverend Hugh Cooper and Marion Van Devanter. Our physicians, nurses and staff strive to honor that guiding spirit each and every day.