The history of Coulee Medical Center parallels that of the Grand Coulee Dam. Born in the early 1930's, during the Great Depression, the hospital knew difficult times and adversity.
The original area hospital was Mason City Hospital, located on a hill overlooking Grand Coulee Dam in what is now East Coulee Dam. Built in 1934, the two-story wood frame building consisted of 75 beds and accommodated the emergency health needs of workers on the dam and their families. Early records from a Bureau of Reclamation safety publication noted that in 1938, the hospital was renovated by Kaiser Permanente. This pioneering HMO helped staff the facility and offered affordable healthcare coverage to its customers. Records also noted that personnel numbered 51 and medical staff consisted of 8 physicians and surgeons to accommodate the many medical needs. For one six-month period, the out-patient clinic alone provided 21,274 treatments, an average of 3,554 per month, and more than secured its place as a vital necessity in the community. Scores of families still in the area today can point back to the many benefits the emergency and non-emergency services provided.
In 1960, hospital directors voted to relocate the Mason City Hospital and build a new facility in the city of Grand Coulee. The new hospital was given a new identity, Coulee Community Hospital, to encompass the area of service. Coulee Community Hospital was privately owned during part of its history and due to financial difficulties, was closed for short periods. The last closure was in 1973 and almost ceased operations again in 1990 due to a shortage of physicians.
When area citizens voted their support by forming Douglas, Grant, Lincoln, Okananogan Counties Public Hospital District #6 in 1990, Coulee Community Hospital became publicly owned. The public taxing district and the monies it collects provide the hospital with a stable monetary base for operations. A board of five Commissioners assure the public that an appropriate standard of care is maintained and provide for sound administrations and budgets.
Since the formation of the tax district, hospital utilization has more than doubled and Coulee Community Hospital is now on sound financial footing. The Long Term Care Facility now operates at capacity and the hospital owned Physicians Clinic, known as the Coulee Family Medicine Clinic, now boasts over 18,000 patient visits per year. With the help of the tax district, volunteer organizations such as the Coulee Medical Foundation, the Hospital Auxiliary, and community support, Coulee Medical Center has and will continue to touch the lives of those in need.