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Our History

Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center History


"The Town of Miami was founded in 1907 with the major employment of the town being at two mining operations, Miami Copper Company and Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company. These two mining companies saw a need to provide medical services and a hospital for their employees in the Miami area. In 1910, they coordinated their efforts and began to make plans for the Miami-Inspiration Hospital.

Doctor John C. Bacon was hired by Miami Copper Company in 1910 as the Chief Surgeon. During his twenty-two years in Miami, he conducted a busy medical practice, was active in various medical societies and served on the Miami Board of Health. He was also a member of the Arizona Senate for one term and was active in community affairs.

Living conditions in those days were crude by any standards. Many Miami miners and their families lived in tents with wood-planked side walls. It was in just such a structure that the first medical services were provided in 1910. Doctor Bacon's clinic wasn't pretty, but it was a start.

When Doctor Bacon was not examining and treating patients in his crude quarters, he was drawing plans and making preparations for the new hospital. A site was chosen on a hill overlooking the Town of Miami. Construction started in 1912 and the building was completed the next year. Equipment and supplies were installed, additional staffs were hired and the hospital opened early 1913. Named for the two mining companies, the Miami-Inspiration Hospital provided all aspects of medical care to the mine workers and their dependents. Living quarters were provided on a site for the nursing staff.

Injuries in the underground mines were common occurrences, many caused by falling rock and ore. On April 17, 1913, just a few weeks after the hospital opened its doors; ten men were brought to the hospital from the Miami Copper Company where a cave-in had occurred. Five of the men died of skull fractures, the others survived their injuries. It was a tragic day for the new hospital staff and for the community.

In 1919, a dispensary was opened on the second floor of the Gila Valley Bank and Trust Company building in downtown Miami. Outpatient services were provided there for the next thirty-seven years. For over a half century, through good times and bad, through two World Wars and the Great Depression, Miami-Inspiration Hospital tended to the medical needs of Miami's miners and their families. When the mines shut down temporarily, the hospital on the hill remained open. In 1956, a new outpatient clinic was constructed on the Globe-Miami Highway.

Eventually the aging, crowded Miami-Inspiration
Hospital could no longer accommodate the growing patient load and the demands of a modern hospital practice. A larger, modern hospital was needed, and during the 1960's, plans were formulated for a new hospital at another location. Much of the planning for this structure was under the direction of Doctor Ira Harris.

Dr. Harris came to Miami in 1935 at the age of twenty-six, and he soon became Chief of Surgery at Miami-Inspiration Hospital. It was said that "he ran the place," and he ran it well. Doctor Harris did not see the dream of a new hospital fulfilled however, as he died in October 1966, several months before the structure was completed.

Construction of the hospital proceeded through 1966 and into the next year. Simultaneously, a nurse's residence was built adjacently to the hospital. In 1967, the resident patients and the staff were transferred to the newly completed hospital in Miami Gardens. It was equipped with modern surgical, obstetrical and emergency suites and excellent radiology and laboratory facilities. The patient rooms were large and cheerful. For patients and staff, it was a large improvement over the old hospital in Miami.

During the next eleven years, an outstanding group of "company" physicians tended the patients at Miami-Inspiration Hospital. In 1978, the Board of Directors contracted with a Health Maintenance Organization from Phoenix to manage the hospital. The clinic on the highway was shut down, and the nurse's residence was converted into a new outpatient clinic. The next two years were difficult for the hospital, as it turned out that no one was satisfied with the arrangement.

The year 1980 was a turning point for Miami-Inspiration Hospital. The HMO contract was not renewed, and the Board hired a hospital management firm to carry on the hospital's business. At the same time, local physicians were given contractual agreements to care for the miners and their families. The physicians were also granted privileges to admit and care for "non-company" patients. And thus the hospital became a "community" hospital. Three years later the administrative positions were taken over by local individuals.

There have been tremendous advances in medicine in the past quarter-century, and Miami-Inspiration Hospital, often with limited finances, struggled to keep up by providing new and improved services, procedures and equipment. A physical therapy department was added in 1975 and treadmill testing a few years later. Laboratory equipment was kept up-to-date and new surgical equipment encouraged new procedures. The radiology department added mammography, CAT, MRI, sonography and nuclear medicine. Other new hospital services included respiratory care, electronic monitoring and a birthing unit. Also, visiting specialists began to come to the community to provide medical expertise in their fields of medicine.

Twice in the 1980's attempts were made to merge Miami-Inspiration Hospital and Gila County General Hospital in Globe. Both hospitals were underutilized and neither was assured of survival. For a variety of reasons, the negotiations were unsuccessful. The hospital in Globe, with its mounting deficits, went out of the general business in 1991.

Miami-Inspiration Hospital became the sole provider of acute medical care in the Globe-Miami area. Additional personnel were hired, the acute care unit was upgraded and new equipment and computers were put into services. Some already cramped departments became even more overworked, and plans for enlargement and improvement of these areas were initiated.

In 1992, the administration of the hospital was taken over by Brim Healthcare, now HealthTech Management Services. Connections with the mining companies were severed, and the name of the hospital was changed to Cobre Valley Community Hospital. The plans to enlarge and improve the hospital facilities became a high priority, and the radiology and laboratory departments were enlarged and modernized. Meanwhile, plans for a major expansion of several departments were initiated, and large, new, state-of-the-art emergency, surgery and intensive care departments were completed in early 1997 at a cost of some $9,300,000."

                                                            By Bill Haak, M. D.



Through the next 13 years, under the management of Brim Healthcare, now HealthTech Management Services, Cobre Valley Community Hospital has continued to provide the best services available, adding new services, technology and state-of-the-art equipment in all departments. Through growth and expansion of the past few years, CVRMC has opened clinics in Young, Kearny, and Superior.

In March of 2010, Cobre Valley Community Hospital became Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center. The new name is a reflection of the customers and patients served by the expanding facility.

The word "Cobre" is Spanish for "copper." The communities of the region served by CVRMC exist because of the long history of copper mining. The words, "Cobre Valley," were preserved in honor of all our copper miners-- for their commitment and fortitude to supply the world with the natural resource our region is known for, copper.

The transition our hospital has gone through since 1910 has been astounding. From a "tent clinic" in 1910, a miner's hospital in 1913, a community hospital in 1980, and now a regional medical center---the accomplishments are a result of the dedicated and compassionate workforce the hospital has maintained throughout the years. Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center will continue its mission: "To develop and maintain a healthcare delivery system that serves the region with quality, efficiency, and compassion."