History of Cox Medical Center Branson
In 1950, Cox Medical Center Branson was founded just north of downtown Branson, Missouri.
The facility, originally named as Skaggs Community Hospital, was named after M.B. and Estella Skaggs; Mr. Skaggs was the prosperous founder of Safeway grocery stores and a Missouri native who owned a home and game preserve in eastern Taney County.
With their encouragement and major financial backing, Skaggs Community Hospital was built in the late 1940s at a cost of approximately $250,000. The empty hospital building was turned over to the community as a gift, with area citizens asked to raise money to equip and furnish it. When the community was unable to raise the entire needed sum, Mr. Skaggs donated an additional $50,000 to supplement the community funds.
On January 8, 1950, doors to the 25-bed hospital were opened to the community for an open house. The following morning, the very first patient was admitted for surgery—Arkie Combs of Bradleyville. The first of four babies to be born at Skaggs during that first week was born to Lucy and Lonnie Cummings of Forsyth. A gift to the child, a $25 war bond, was presented by Captain Bill Roberts of Rockaway Beach, thus the child was named William Marion in honor of Mr. Skaggs and Captain Roberts.
A newspaper article of the day states: "Glancing over the list of the first week's [patient] entries, we cannot help but pause a little with bowed head in grateful appreciation for the Good Samaritan spirit that has set this instrument of service in our midst. How much of anxiety and suffering have been avoided because near at hand was a hospital to serve the need."
In its early years, Skaggs treated an average of four patients per day, with five physicians, six nurses and six nurse aides on staff. The original medical staff consisted of Dr. Francis Aubin, Dr. Joseph Bunten, Dr. Harry Evans, Dr. Harry Knowles and Dr. Jesse Threadgill.
Now, the average daily patient census exceeds 90, with 165 hospital beds. A staff of 1,000 physicians and nursing and support personnel are required to operate the hospital and its numerous clinics.
At the same time the hospital opened, a hospital auxiliary group was founded. Now, more than 300 volunteers belong to Skaggs Volunteer Services.
Almost from the beginning and during each of the following five decades, healthcare services and medical technology at the hospital have continued to expand. All the while, dedicated employees have maintained their sense of pride, caring and professionalism.
In January of 2012 administrators of the once Skaggs Regional Medical Center began seeking a partner to ensure healthcare was provided for years to come in the Branson area. In January of 2013 the hospital became a part of the CoxHealth network, doing business as Cox Medical Center Branson.