Medical care in Jackson Hole has come a long way. At the turn of the 20th century, there was no doctor, no hospital and no access to either. Emergency cases had to be taken by wagon or sled over Teton Pass to the railroad twenty-five miles away, then by train to Idaho Falls. Not all of these patients survived the journey.
In 1916, that all changed with the construction of a log cabin they called St. John's Hospital. Originally, the hospital consisted of a small four-room building with an operating room, kitchen and two patient rooms. During the decades that followed, health care in Jackson Hole was enhanced with physical expansion of facilities, modern technology, and new services.
In the early 1990's, renovations at the original site transformed the original hospital into a professional office building (POB,) which is now used as office space for many hospital physicians and health care providers.
Our current hospital and nursing home reside in a facility located across the campus from the POB. With the help of an optional one percent sales tax approved by Teton County voters and $5 million from charitable contributions, the current facility was constructed in 1991 to enhance the hospital's effectiveness and provide advanced medical treatment to the Jackson community.
Between 1991 and 2001, the population of the Town of Jackson and Teton County increased by a staggering 93% and 63% respectively. The need for expanded healthcare services was further exacerbated by the fact that much of the population increase has been in middle and senior age groups who require more health care per capita than other residents.
Although the facility was built in 1991, it quickly became too small to meet the healthcare needs of area residents and visitors. An expansion and improvement project was undertaken in 2001, and in 2012, work began on the first major facilities project at St. John’s Medical Center in nearly a decade. Paid for in part by community support from the Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET), the St. John’s renovation and expansion project will improve patient care areas for cancer, surgery and obstetrical services. It is scheduled to be completed in 2014.