The History of Henry County Medical Center: From 1953 to Now

Henry County Medical Center has provided care and been a constant in the lives of Henry Countians for the past 65 years.  During its time, it has seen many ups and downs, but has constantly provided the highest quality healthcare to the community, allowing patients to stay close to home. It has stayed true to its mission: to provide the highest quality, affordable healthcare services and education to the citizens of Henry County and the adjoining counties, helping to improve the quality of health in the region.

From the first vote to build a hospital to what is now the largest employer in Henry County, Henry County Medical Center has changed drastically through the years. We are and have always been growing forward, with our very own unique journey that has seen not just a name change but extensive growth to a comprehensive medical center with the best rural healthcare available.  Follow along as we give a glimpse into the past and highlight some influential moments of our history.

The 1950s

In 1948, the Henry County Court appointed a five-man committee to study the need for a large hospital. Through the efforts of many committee elections and meetings, the hospital was created by House Bill #548, Section 176, of the Private Acts of 1953.

Henry County General Hospital was opened and dedicated by Governor Jim McCord on August 28, 1953, with a 71-bed capacity. The original cost of the hospital building and equipment was $1 million. Of that amount, $250,000 was provided by the county and the rest was provided by the state and federal government through the Hill-Burton Act. Ruth Ann Barker Smith, Miss Tennessee 1953, was the first visitor through the doors of the new hospital.

In 1954, Henry County General Hospital was selected hospital of the month by Modern Healthcare Magazine because of its innovative design features. It was one of the first hospitals in the nation to use the double corridor, single center service island concept to reduce nurse travel and put all patients closer to the nurse’s station. The first LPN class taught at the hospital began in 1954 as well.

In 1958 the first major construction took place on the hospital. Twenty seven beds were added along with a surgery space and air conditioning to the patient rooms. The hospital grew to 98 beds at that time. The project cost around $310,000.

The following year, in 1959, Henry County General Hospital opened a certified blood bank with the help of the local Elk’s Club.

The 1960s

Henry County General Hospital became one of the few small rural hospitals in the nation with an ICU. This opened in 1960.

Henry County Nursing Home and Rest Home was opened in 1963. That same year a fund drive to raise $15,000 for a hospital chapel was started. The chapel was established and dedicated in 1966. The year 1966 was also impactful in that the hospital was approved to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

In 1967, local doctor of osteopathy, Dr. Carpenter, was denied privileges because he was not an M.D. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that D.O.’s must be treated the same as M.D.’s and privileges must be based upon medical competence and not their training programs. This ruling set the standards for courts across the United States.

Henry County Ambulance Service was established after taking over services from local mortuaries. They began operations from the Paris Fire Department Station 1 in 1969.

The 1970s

By the end of 1971, the total bed capacity of Henry County General Hospital was 166. There had been a couple expansion projects up to this point. The most recent was the addition of Second East and a new surgical space at a cost of $1.8 million. Price controls were implemented by the Federal Government, creating financial pressure on Henry County General Hospital and other hospitals.

Henry County General Hospital opened a new Cardiac Intensive Care Unit with four beds to care for cardiac patients. Dr. John Neumann drove this new service.

In 1977, a Certificate of Need was approved to build a new 6-bed cardiac care unit and 18-bed cardiopulmonary unit on the old Second Floor West. This was at a cost of nearly $235,000 and was opened for use in September 1978. This resulted in the loss of eight beds, making the total bed capacity 158 licensed beds.

The 1980s

The hospital received its first computer system in 1982. A renovation project began in 1984 to include a new space for administration, admissions and discharge, data processing, and medical records. This project also included the addition of a canopy for the front entrance and a new waiting room and public restrooms between Second East and West.

One of the most notable changes in the history of the hospital was in 1985. Henry County General Hospital changed names to Henry County Medical Center.

Between the years of 1985 and 1987, Henry County Medical Center gained supervision of the ambulance service, purchased Liberty Home Health Agency of Dover, Tennessee, and expanded by 16,000 square feet to add office space, the Blackwood Center Treatment Center, a new physical therapy department and permanent CAT scan unit.

The Medical Arts Building opened in 1989. The first occupants of the facility were Dr. Terry Harrison and Dr. Thomas Minor. In 1989, the Board of Trustees voted to hire a management company to run the hospital. After four years, the board decided to again hire an administrator and cancelled the contract with the management company.

The 1990s

In 1990, a nine-member committee was appointed by the county commission to consider if the county should hear proposals about the possible sale or lease of the hospital. The committee presented a recommendation to sell the hospital, but ultimately the commission did not sell the facility.

A geriatric psychiatric unit was opened on the fourth floor of the hospital in 1991. The unit was named Lake Haven following a contest among employees to submit names for the unit.

The year 1994 was a big year for Henry County Medical Center. Hospice services were added to Home Health. The Paris Henry County Healthcare Foundation, Inc. was formed. And, that same year, the county commission voted to merge Henry County Nursing Home with HCMC. The name was changed to Henry County Healthcare Center in August 1998.

Following three years of planning, a ground breaking for a 20,000 square feet expansion project was held in November 1997. The project included a new emergency department with eleven treatment rooms with specialty treatment areas for major trauma, cardiac, pediatric, OB/GYN, orthopedic, ear-nose-throat, and psychiatric. Also included in the project were state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanners. The expansion was completed in 1998.

The Early 2000s

A complete renovation was completed on Deer Run Skilled Rehab Center at Henry County Healthcare Center in 2001. The Healthcare Foundation voted to raise $600,000 to fund this project. Because of the money donated to the Healthcare Foundation by Dr. and Mrs. Harold Plumley, it was decided to rename Deer Run Skilled Rehab to the Plumley Rehabilitation Center.

In 2002, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the $16.5 million project which included a new patient bed tower, relocation of the main entrance, additional parking spaces, and new space for administration, business office, education, human resources, and accounting.

The new patient bed tower was opened in 2004. This expansion included a new cafeteria, allowed the Sleep Disorder Center to open and provided a new space for Cardiac Rehab. The shell space allowed for a new Pharmacy on the main level and a new Women’s Center on the second floor with birthing rooms and operating rooms for C-sections.

After months of demonstrations, site visits, and study, administration recommended an upgrade to the information technology systems that will move toward electronic medical records. The first part of the new IT system to be installed and operational was the PAC (picture archiving computer) system in the Imaging Department which was completed in November 2006. Work continued over the next several months on conversion to the new system throughout the hospital. The go-live date was June 11, 2007 when the old system was taken down and the new system brought up.

In 2009, HCMC had its first medical clinic office with an employed physician – Dr. Dennis Wieck of Paris Women’s Center.

2010 – Now

In 2010, representatives of Bethel University in McKenzie approached administration with a proposal for a joint project. Bethel planned to build a facility for the nursing and physician assistant programs and wanted the hospital to build a connecting outpatient imaging and lab facility. The HCMC Board of Trustees gave their approval and construction began in 2011.

The purchase of a refurbished Da Vinci Robot was approved at the request of urologist Dr. Joe D. Mobley, III. The first case was done on November 8, 2011. Also in 2011, HCMC purchased KY Lake Surgery Center.

Approval was granted in 2014 to pursue construction of a new OR room. The proposed OR-7 would be 650 square feet, much larger than any other OR rooms. In 2014, the observation unit opened on Second East, Third Tower was designated as the inpatient unit, Second South was designated for pediatric patients and overflow, and the small nurses’ station area on Second East was designated for outpatient surgery patients.

HCMC purchased Kentucky Lake Urology Clinic in February 2015 and purchased Henry County Orthopedic Surgery and the sports medicine building in March of that year.

In early 2015, HCMC purchased the MAKO Robotic Assisted Surgery System. HCMC was one of the first in the region to have the MAKO. The first surgery with this robot was performed on April 10 by Dr. Blake Chandler.

In 2017, HCMC’s Diagnostic Center was designated a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. HCMC was one of the first in the nation to receive this designation.

Most recently, in August 2018, HCMC Received The Joint Commission Disease Specific Care Certification for Joint Replacement for both hip and knees.

As you can see, Henry County Medical Center has a very colorful history and we are consistently growing forward. If you are interested in learning more about the history of HCMC, stop by the Paris and Henry County Heritage Center during normal business hours to walk through our healthcare journey. The HCMC historical display is available for viewing through December 2018.  You can also watch a video about it on our YouTube Channel at

For more information on Henry County Medical Center, Henry County Healthcare Center, or any of our physicians and services, be sure to check out our website at or give us a call on our FindLine at 731-644-3463.

About Henry County Medical Center

Located in Paris, TN, Henry County Medical Center is a progressive, integrated healthcare organization committed to serving the healthcare needs of Henry County and the adjoining region.  Including a 142-bed hospital and other facilities, the medical center provides a variety of outpatient services, as well as inpatient care. Additionally, HCMC owns and operates 7 provider clinics in various specialties.  Henry County Medical Center is a county-owned and operated nonprofit institution.