In 1978, Grove City made national headlines with the merger of Grove City and Bashline Memorial Hospital. Both hospitals were founded in the early 1900s. Grove City was staffed by allopathic physicians, and Bashline was home to osteopathic physicians. When both hospitals were open, members of the community were often loyal to one method of care over the other. Alvin Schell, a chair of the hospital’s board of directors summed it up for the Wall Street Journal: “You were a Republican or you were a Democrat. You went to an osteopath or you went to a medical doctor.”
Despite those strong feelings, the boards of directors for both hospitals explored the possibility of a merger in 1976. Separately, Grove City and Bashline hospitals were operating at 54% capacity. Neither could get government approval for capital improvements to meet state and professional health and safety codes. Faced with those difficulties, the hospitals decided to merge. A campaign resulted in local residents naming the new hospital United Community Hospital, which officially opened its doors in 1981.
At the time of the merger, the hospital’s physician staff had 15 medical doctors and 11 doctors of osteopathy. Today, close to half of AHN Grove City’s staff are DOs. What was once a contentious relationship has evolved into a mutually respectful physician culture at AHN Grove City.