Sharing Our Story: 72 Years of Service
This day is an important day in our organization’s history. On this date 72 years ago, August 11, 1950,
Jackson-Madison County General Hospital opened its doors to serve our first patient. The organization
was born when the need for a new, modern hospital in Jackson, TN became critical during World War II,
as the population in the area grew.
Three small community hospitals, operating in Jackson at the time, were combined to form a new
hospital due to the persistence of civic clubs, local leaders, and the Tennessee General Assembly. The
Tennessee legislature created the private act in 1949 to form Jackson-Madison County General Hospital
District (“the District”) to provide a full range of healthcare with due regard for the needs of low-income
and indigent patients, and the rest is history. Our history.
The system started out as a 123-bed hospital with 166 employees. Over the past 7 decades, we have
served Jackson and Madison County and have grown into the comprehensive health system that we are
today, serving 19 counties in West Tennessee and Southeast Missouri. Our system now has over 7,000
dedicated employees and serves 500,000 people in the region.
For 72 years, we’ve been committed to being passionate stewards of the region we serve, and generous
caregivers to all of our neighbors, regardless of their ability to pay. Philanthropy is so intertwined with
our mission, we are far and away the region’s largest not-for-profit organization. Throughout our
history, West Tennessee Healthcare has provided millions of dollars in free care to low income patients.
When other hospitals in our state provide these essential free services, they ask the local government to
pick up the tab—often draining $40 million or even $50 million from city and county budgets every year.
At West Tennessee Healthcare, we choose to do the exact opposite. Instead of taking money from local
government, West Tennessee Healthcare has voluntarily GIVEN money. Through a unique revenue-sharing
agreement, we have poured over $20 million into the City of Jackson and Madison County alone.
As the critical healthcare resource for our entire region, we also choose to step forward wherever there
is a need, and wherever there is an opportunity to serve. For example…we have historically provided
over $1 million in care to our region’s students each year, through health clinics, school nurses, athletic
trainers and more… we protect our neighbors with free screenings for cancer and other health
threats…we support causes like Relay for Life and other non-profits with donations each year…and we
help ensure the quality of the next generation of nurses and health professionals through partnerships
with area colleges.
I believe that those of us who work in healthcare are called to serve. Throughout our history, there has
been no greater example of this than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we were called to serve our
communities by taking care of the majority of COVID-19 patients in the region – over 20,000 of them.
Our employees and medical staff members worked tirelessly to treat every patient that we could during
this time, and I’ve never seen a better example of teamwork. I often use the phrase “meeting the need
and making a difference,” and that is exactly what our organization did during the pandemic and
throughout our 72-year history. And that is what we will continue to do in the future because this is our
CALLING. We are West Tennessee Healthcare!
Happy 72nd Anniversary,
James Ross, President and CEO