History of Trinity Memorial Hospital

In 1946, concern over health care in the Trinity Community sparked an initiative to generate funds for the construction of a hospital. T. L. Epperson donated the property and together with the leadership of Stinson Huston and the state health department, the Trinity Memorial Hospital was incorporated in 1947.

Hill-Burton pledged fifty percent of the funding. Paul H. Cauthan, Jr served as finance committee chairman. After receiving many personal pledges and numerous donations from community members, the fundraisers achieved their goal. In July, 1948, the committee accepted a construction bid by Martin Simmons in the amount of $92,850. The sixteen-bed facility formally opened in July, 1949. Then in 1966, a second wing was added, and in 1972, a twenty-four-bed nursing home was added and an entire renovation of the hospital was completed.

Dr. Sam R. Barnes, a native of Trinity, began his practice in 1938. After completing his World War II obligation, he returned to Trinity and practiced medicine until his retirement. Upon completion of medical training, Dr Richard J. Cook established his practice in Trinity in 1954 and remained here until his retirement. Through the years, numerous doctors have practiced in Trinity and used the hospital facility. However, during some very lean years, both Dr. Barnes and Dr. Cook contributed personal funds.

In the mid 1970’s the federal government, in order to consolidate and centralize medical services, began closing many rural hospitals nationwide. Again, the community banded together. Dr. Barnes contacted Charles Wilson, U.S. Representative and a native of Trinity, for his assistance in helping to save the hospital facility. Fund raising efforts began anew for money needed to comply with federal standards for accreditation of the hospital.

In 1981, the Trinity Memorial Hospital District taxing board was established and the hospital moved from non-profit status to governmental. Memorial Hermann was employed to manage the hospital. However, when Memorial Hermann ceased managing the hospital, much of the investment in capital equipment was lost, and Trinity Memorial Hospital found itself in financial distress. In 1986 the hospital was leased to United Hospital Corporation, in an effort to help the hospital regain a financially sound status. After this proved unsuccessful, the Trinity Memorial District assumed management for the next ten years.

In 1997, the Trinity Memorial Hospital Board signed a Master Agreement with the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (ETMC) to operate the hospital and clinic and to develop a master plan and upgrade the physical plant of the hospital. ETMC Trinity, working with TMHD Board, has used the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) program to extensively remodel and construct new up-to-date facilities. ETMC Trinity’s commitment to quality healthcare continues to this date.

ETMC Trinity-Trinity Memorial Hospital-committed to quality health care for Trinity!

Trinity Memorial Hospital District Timeline

1949    Trinity Memorial Hospital, a sixteen bed facility, opened its doors – the result of community donations and fundraising efforts.  During lean times, Dr. Barnes and Dr. Cook contributed personal funds to keep the hospital doors open.

1981    Senate Bill 1194 allowed a majority of qualified voters in the community to vote to establish the Hospital District

1997    The TMHD Board signed a Master Agreement with East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (ETMC) to operate the Hospital as a general acute-care hospital  and to continue services such as the Clinic  then offered by the District. Provision was made to care for the poor and the needy in the community.   ETMC also agreed to develop a master facility plan in partnership with the district, to upgrade the physical plant of the hospital.  The result is the facility in existence today.

2010    The TMHD tax rate was $0.18/$100.  The District had reserves and was operating at a small surplus.  The decision was made to lower the tax rate over the next several years.  The tax rate in 2018 is $0.12/$100, one of the lowest in the state.

 2015   The TMHD Board was notified that ETMC would not renew its lease and would leave the Hospital July 31, 2017.  Like many rural hospitals today, the funds were not there for ETMC to keep the hospital open.   The Board immediately began looking for a new partner. After an exhaustive search of options, no partner was found to operate the hospital. A feasibility study was done to see if TMHD could self-manage and operate the hospital.  The three million dollars needed far exceeded the revenue and reserves needed; bank loans were sought.  Funds were not sufficient to self-manage the Hospital.

2017    On August 1, 2017 CHI-St. Luke’s Baylor from Lufkin signed the lease to operate the clinic.  Prayers of many were answered!   CHI-St. Luke’s is a non-profit, faith based national-wide system and accepts all patients.  They had the clinic up and running on August 1, 2017 (the day after ETMC left); and seventeen clinic staff jobs were saved.  CHI-St. Luke’s was, and is, amazing in the quality service it provides!   Note: It takes 90+ days to have all credentials in place to obtain reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and the insurance companies.  For the first three months of the clinic operation, there were no insurance reimbursements.  To provide continuous health care, the district assumed part of this financial burden.

2018    Clinic: The Clinic has four providers:  two physicians and two nurse practitioners.  The volume of patients seen is steadily increasing.  

Health-Point, a FQHC:    In conjunction with CHI-St. Luke’s, an agreement has been signed with Health-Point, a Federally Qualified Health Center, to begin operation of the Clinic on January 17, 2019.  The Clinic will be closed on January 17th and 18th and will reopen to patients on January 21, 2019. This will ensure continued quality care and reduce the cost needed to support the clinic.

2019    Emergency Department:   The Board will evaluate need for and cost to open an Emergency Department or Urgent Care.    The goal is to reopen the Emergency Department; studies are being done to determine the cost and tax revenues needed for an Emergency Department and associated services  The Board will work with the community to gain input and support for a plan to reopen the Emergency Department and will continue to look for ways for the facilities to be used to serve health care needs of the district.