Lutheran Medical Center began in 1905 as the Evangelical Lutheran Sanitarium, a tent colony for tuberculosis patients. By 1962 the sanitarium evolved into an acute-care, community hospital. In January of 1998 Lutheran Medical Center joined Saint Joseph Hospital and Exempla Medical Group to form Exempla Healthcare, a not-for-profit, community-based organization, to manage operations of the hospital and medical group.
A History of Helping
Lutheran's legacy of caring began in 1905. Tuberculosis was a serious health problem for the nation, and Colorado's warm, dry climate and clean air made it a natural treatment setting. The Evangelical Lutheran Sanitarium, a tent colony, was established in the farming community of Wheat Ridge, just a few miles west of Denver's city limits.
As medical advances diminished the demand for tuberculosis treatment, community leaders decided the center should meet a new need. Jefferson County, the rapidly growing county connecting metro Denver and the mountains, had no hospital. Community-based Lutheran Hospital, a not-for-profit, general medical facility located on a 100 acre campus, opened its doors in 1961.
Responding to Community Need
To meet the needs of the growing county, in 1964 Lutheran Hospital expanded from 220 to 280 beds. Emergency and outpatient services were also enhanced significantly in 1968.
It was during the early 1970s that Lutheran Hospital officially became Lutheran Medical Center (LMC). More than a change in name, the move signaled the organization's growth as a provider and its continued commitment to meeting the health needs of the community.
LMC's physical growth continued as well. In 1973, a six floor tower was added and with the expansion of the Critical Care Unit in 1985, the number of licensed beds rose to 409, and remains the current capacity level today.
The Medical Center Today
While residents of Jefferson County still comprise our primary patient base, our services now span all of metro Denver. In 1997, Lutheran Medical Center, Saint Joseph Hospital and a physician group integrated to form Exempla Healthcare.
In 2010, Exempla Healthcare joined with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, a mission established more than 150 years ago. Recently, the organization became fully integrated into one unified ministry, SCL Health, a network of hospitals, clinics and ambulatory service centers that now spans three states – Colorado, Kansas and Montana.
The diversity of care we provide today is directly linked to strategic decisions made in recent years, allowing Lutheran Medical Center to meet existing and emerging challenges including technological, financial and regulatory while still providing outstanding, quality patient care.