ACMC’s 110 years of commitment to community
Ashtabula County Medical Center’s history began because the community saw a lack of medical care when it was needed most. Its story began out of the tragedy known as the Ashtabula Train Disaster of 1876. Community members decided that a calamity of that magnitude did not have to happen here again. They combined resources, manpower and expertise to start the first hospital in Ashtabula.
In 1882, a small emergency hospital opened to care for injured railroad workers. Work immediately began to raise funds for a permanent facility. On June 20, 1904, Ashtabula General Hospital opened its doors, at a cost to build of $14,500. Those early hospital founders rallied the community to furnish equipment and amenities for four wards, six private rooms, two operating rooms, administrative offices, a kitchen, a boiler room, a laundry room and more.
Throughout those early years, the Ashtabula community was called upon regularly to raise funds for the newest equipment of the day. Thanks to that support, the hospital also added a nursing school and a new patient wing.
But, that support was put to the test during the Great Depression, when the hospital doors were almost closed for good. The electric plant from which the hospital received its steam for heating and sterilizing instruments was to be shut down in favor of a new facility to be constructed a few miles away. Ashtabula city leaders offered $30,000 in revenue, which was set aside in an Electric Light Surplus Fund. The city and hospital split the cost of building a new steam plant, and the hospital was saved.
The demand for improved medical care continued into the ’40s and ’50s. The population of Ashtabula had grown from 27,000 to 45,000 by the mid-1940s. Bed space in the hospital was at a premium, yet the need to support a growing baby boomer industrial society was constant.
In 1947, a push was made to build a brand-new hospital for Ashtabula. It was touted as a modern, state of-the-art facility with expanded maternity services to handle the increased births and with all the other technological advancements needed in a modern society. Ashtabula citizens responded to a request for assistance—obviously seeing the need for a hospital to handle their growing, bustling city. In all, more than $700,000 was raised locally in just 10 days from around Ashtabula County. With additional funds coming in from government sources, a trust fund donation of $400,000 and additional money raised before construction, a new 160-bed, three-unit hospital opened its doors in 1952 at a cost of $2 million.
The new Ashtabula General was praised as a symbol of what Ashtabula citizens could accomplish when they worked together. Over the next decade, Ashtabula General reinforced its commitment to improving the healthcare offered by bringing new innovations to Ashtabula.
In 1957, the Department of Radiology began using radioactive isotopes to study thyroid illnesses and later also included X-rays and other diagnostic advancements. A new four-story wing was planned in 1960 to include a new psychiatric unit, a nursing unit for geriatric patients and those with chronic illnesses, a 40-bed nursing unit for acutely ill patients, a physical therapy unit, house physician services, an x-ray department, new office space, a chapel, a medical library, and more. The total construction cost was nearly $2 million, and the new building opened its doors in 1963.
Through the remainder of the 1960s and into the 1970s, the growth of Ashtabula County continued, and the demands increased on the hospital to stay current with technology and services. Emergency services, intensive care units, a nuclear medicine facility, ambulatory services and more were continually updated and expanded.
The hospital continued to grow throughout the 1970s into the 1980s with the addition of a new pharmacy, a central sterile supply, materials handling, maintenance facilities and more. As Ashtabula General continued to grow, it also faced new challenges.
Healthcare was moving from reacting to the health needs of the community to providing preventive medical care as well. As part of this change, the Ashtabula General Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the facility to Ashtabula County Medical Center. In 1985, ACMC added a new Cardiac Services Department. Heart attacks and other cardiac problems have long plagued Ashtabula County, and - as noted in a recent Community Health Needs Assessment - those heart problems remain a major cause of illness and death today.
In the early 1990s, discussions of healthcare reform began on a national level. Leadership at ACMC did not wait for the federal government to take the lead on a new system. They created one to benefit all of Ashtabula County by merging The Ashtabula Clinic, a group of family and specialty physicians, with ACMC. This was a new model of an integrated physician hospital delivery system for improved healthcare.
The Ashtabula Clinic physicians handled all outpatient cases, while hospital physicians handled all inpatient cases. ACMC patients now have access to more than 45 ACMC and Cleveland Clinic physicians—as well as nurse practitioners—at The Ashtabula Clinic and more than 90 local physicians who have privileges at ACMC. The Ashtabula Clinic has grown to include four offices in Ashtabula, Conneaut, Jefferson and North Kingsville, as well as a Women’s Health Center in Ashtabula.
In 2001, the ACMC Board of Trustees voted to enter into an affiliation with Cleveland Clinic, long known as a benchmark for quality healthcare. The affiliation meant access to new physicians and services.
The Cleveland Clinic Catheterization Lab at ACMC opened in 2008. This gave Ashtabula County patients access to the gold standard in heart diagnostics, to detect blockages and other potential problems before they became an emergency. Other accomplishments in the 2000s include a renovated Maternity Suite, the only labor and delivery unit in Ashtabula County; a new Behavioral Medicine Unit; and new technology for our Radiology Department.
In recent months, ACMC has spent millions of dollars for new digital mammography equipment, new endoscopes, and more technology and procedures to provide better healthcare through minimally invasive surgery.
It all means you spend little to no time in the hospital and are on the road to recovery fast, with less time away from work or the things you love to do.
ACMC’s commitment to our community comes from the same vision of those Ashtabula citizens who long ago saw a future with great medical care in their hometown.
1876 Great train disaster enforces need for community hospital
1882 Ladies Railroad Auxiliary formed to care for patients in the temporary hospital
1892 Ladies Hospital League undertakes effort to establish a proper hospital
1902 Ashtabula General Hospital Association is organized
1904 Ashtabula General Hospital opens on June 30; the first patient is seen just after midnight.
1907 First class of nurses graduates from the nursing school
1911 North Wing erected as nurses’ home
1922 Ashtabula Foundation established
1930 Amelia Lewis Nurses Home erected
1947 Campaign launched to build new 150-bed hospital; modern building opens five years later
1963 Ashtabula General Hospital expands to 226 beds
1975 South Wing opens
1983 Ashtabula General Hospital officially changes its name to Ashtabula County Medical Center
1994 ACMC affiliates with The Cleveland Clinic Foundation to bring anesthesia and pain management services to the county; ACMC acquires Glenbeigh Hospital
1995 ACMC and The Ashtabula Clinic merge; ACMC receives the Best of the County Award from the Growth Partnership of Ashtabula County
1998 ACMC becomes an affiliate member of the Cleveland Clinic Health System
2003 Joint Replacement Center and Behavioral Medicine Unit open; outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy services relocated to ACMC campus
2004 ACMC celebrates 100 years of caring for the community; the hospital also received the Best of the County President's Award from Growth Partnership
2008 The Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Catheterization Lab at ACMC opens
2009 The ACMC Wound Healing Center opens
2010-14 ACMC is named a Top Workplace in the Cleveland Clinic Metro area
2011 ACMC adds Oncology and Hematology Services
2012 New Digital Mammography and MRI equipment gives ACMC some of the most technologically advanced testing equipment in our area
2014 Conneaut Family Health Center opens; Jefferson Family Health Center doubles in size - both offer lab, x-ray, mammography and family physicians
Community Needs Assessment
2013 ACMC Community Health Needs Assessment Final Report
2013 ACMC Community Health Needs Implementation Strategy
Our Affiliates & Clinics
The Ashtabula County Healthcare System brings you the best in health care.
Climb aboard ACMC’s Health Express
If you need a ride to your doctor’s appointment or to the hospital for a test, just call ACMC’s Health Express—we’ll pick you up at your front door, take you to your appointment, and bring you back home again.
We’ll Pick You up From…
- N. Kingsville
…and Take You To
- ACMC Rehabilitation Services
- The Ashtabula Clinic
- Ashtabula County Medical Center
- Ashtabula Women's Center
- Dr. Suchada Chaiwechakarn
- Dr. Dan Lazarescu
- Dr. Archie Wilkinson's Office
- Jefferson Family Health Center
- Dr. Laxman Cingireddi
- Dr. David Parker
- Dr. Andi Tirounilacandin
- North Kingsville Family Health Center
- Dr. Jamie Chillcott
- FNP Emily Brown
ACMC’s Health Express is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. To schedule a ride, just call Community Care dispatch at 440-992-1917 or toll free at 1-855-344-7433. Health Express service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call to schedule at least one day prior to your appointment. For more information, visit acmchealth.org.
Health Express is limited to patients who have an appointments or a test at an ACMC facility, and who are able to board the shuttle unassisted by our driver.
The Ashtabula County Medical Center Auxiliary is the oldest volunteer organization in Ashtabula County. With over 200 volunteers, the ACMC Auxiliary assists patients and their families in a variety of ways:
- Gift Shop volunteers assist with stocking and selling merchandise.
- Surgical hosts and hostesses provide for the needs of the families of surgical patients.
- Escorts assist patients during admission and discharge.
- Information desk receptionists provide information and deliver mail and flowers to patients.
- Volunteers bring books and magazines to patients.
- Pastoral care assistants work with the hospital chaplain and area clergy.
- Emergency department volunteers support patients and families.
- Event volunteers help raise funds for patient care equipment and educational materials.
If you are interested in becoming an ACMC volunteer, contact us.
Ashtabula County Medical Center physicians and health experts are available to speak at local events, with community groups, or with local media. Available speakers are experts in their listed field.
ACMC physicians and experts are regularly scheduled to appear on local radio and cable television to discuss today’s health issues. To-date more than 31 cable shows have been produced related to health issues. They have also spoken at community groups and other public events, such as The Lions Club, Northcoast Runners, and more. Our physicians also write health articles for local newspapers, as well as community and trade magazines - dozens of articles have appeared over the past few years.
To discuss scheduling an ACMC physician or health expert, contact ACMC six to ten weeks in advance of your event. Each physician or health expert sets their own speaking schedule, but all are coordinated through ACMC’s Business Development office. Contact Elaine Christen for more information. Phone 440.997.6707, or email Business.Development@ACMChealth.org.