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From left: Gary Fulbright, Beverly Derrickson, Renee Myer and Michael Calhoun
McKenzie Robinson | SBJ
From left: Gary Fulbright, Beverly Derrickson, Renee Myer and Michael Calhoun

2021 Economic Impact Awards 30-74 Years in Business Winner: Citizens Memorial Hospital

Exponential Growth

Posted online

The health of the community is top of mind for Citizens Memorial Hospital – but the economic health of Bolivar and the other cities served by CMH is also a driving force.

Established in 1982, the hospital began with a mere 93 employees. CMH now includes both a hospital and its CMH Health Care Foundation, jointly employing 2,088 workers. And revenue has escalated from $4.8 million that first year to $522 million in fiscal 2020.

CMH started in just one building, but this year the hospital and its foundation comprise 49 locations.

CMH’s construction efforts have been an economic driver in the area, said Gary Fulbright, CMH’s CEO and executive director.

In March, CMH broke ground on its $3 million Willard Medical Center, an 8,300-square-foot facility slated to open in November. The center includes a walk-in clinic, behavioral health services and a laboratory. A physical and occupational therapy clinic is in the works to open near the clinic in January 2022. This will be the 14th clinic of its type, with the others serving Ash Grove, Bolivar, El Dorado  Springs, Greenfield, Humansville, Osceola, Pleasant Hope and Stockton.

Over the last three years, CMH has opened four specialty clinics and one new service, plus a 50,000-square-foot long-term care facility, the Lake Stockton Healthcare Facility.

The CMH Addiction Recovery Program opened in Bolivar in July 2018, and a larger clinic space is opening this month to provide medicated addiction treatment and counseling for those with substance abuse and gambling disorders.

Additionally, the CMH Health Care Foundation purchased Stephens Pharmacy in September 2019 and merged its own retail pharmacy operations.

“Our goal as far as health services is to provide everything we can that is feasible to provide to allow the patient to stay close,” Fulbright says.

CMH is the largest employer in Polk County, and it is also among the largest employers in other surrounding counties. “We’re an important economic driver for this whole region,” he says.

Fulbright has been with CMH since it opened 39 years ago. When he started, a heart attack meant a very different course of action than it does today, with CMH offering emergency and cardiology services where none existed before. Same goes for childbirth, trauma and other urgent medical needs.

“It’s very rewarding to see all the services that we’ve added through the years,” he says. “There are so many services that we now provide, and our residents had to leave the area to get those previously.”

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