CentraCare Health - Monticello has been serving the health care needs of the community since the hospital opened in 1965. For the first 39 years of its history, CentraCare Health - Monticello operated as Monticello-Big Lake Hospital. In 2009, the Board of Directors voted to change the name to New River Medical Center to more accurately reflect the organization's position as a regional health care service provider and to encompass a broader geographic area.
The hospital was part of a hospital district that was formed in 1961 as the result of many years of work by community members who were concerned about the future of health care in the Monticello area. CentraCare Health - Monticello is one of 13 hospital districts in the State of Minnesota and is governed by an eight-member Board of Directors who are elected to represent the district’s cities and townships.
In 1929, Dr. William E. Hart and his family moved to Monticello. Dr. Hart and his wife Mildred, a registered nurse, saw patients at their Monticello office. In 1936, the Hart’s practice was licensed by the State of Minnesota as a five-bed hospital after two young men were confined to Dr. Hart’s care following a car accident. Dr. Hart began providing care at the Hart Hospital in Monticello because it was not always practical to transport sick patients to hospitals in St. Cloud or the Twin Cities. As the years passed, the Hart Hospital’s services continued to grow to meet the community’s health care needs. In 1941, the Hart Hospital was expanded to 15 licensed beds.
The Hart Hospital was privately owned and according to state law, once Dr. Hart discontinued his practice, the hospital could not be relicensed, as private hospitals were no longer permitted in Minnesota.
In 1960, with Dr. Hart’s retirement on the horizon, a committee of area residents organized to investigate the formation of a hospital district to ensure the future of health care in the Monticello area.
The hospital district was formed in 1961 and included the Villages of Monticello and Big Lake and the Townships of Becker, Big Lake, Monticello and Silver Creek. The Township of Otsego was officially annexed into the district in 1962. To become a member of the district, each village or township board had to pass a resolution proclaiming their intent to join the district and then hold a special election if so petitioned by their constituents.
Elected board members began meeting in 1961 to make plans to build a hospital that would serve the area’s health needs when the time came for Dr. Hart to retire and subsequently the Hart Hospital to close.
A new hospital
In order to fund the construction and equipping of a new hospital building, the hospital district asked voters to approve a general obligation bond that would be used to acquire hospital facilities and provide adequate working capital. Construction of the new hospital building began in March of 1964 and the new hospital was opened for patient care on July 1, 1965.
A new day in health care for our community
On April 1, 2013, New River Medical Center officially joined CentraCare Health and became CentraCare Health-Monticello to provide enhanced health care services to the surrounding communities.
For more than 40 years, CentraCare Health - Monticello has provided patient-centered care that improves the health and well-being of our community.