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Virginia Mason Centennial

SEATTLE – (Oct. 28, 2020)Virginia Mason officially turns 100 years old Sunday, Nov. 1, marking a century of service and innovation in health care.

“We are celebrating this milestone year with a great sense of pride and deep gratitude to the community,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD. “Even as we pause to commemorate the history of our organization, we are also looking to the future.”

Watch video of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore virtually visiting Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD to commemorate Virginia Mason’s 100th anniversary

Virginia Mason Hospital is in the same location in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood where it opened Nov. 1, 1920. Yet it has never stood still, always evolving with the times. Through the years, it has become a regional health system with two hospitals, a network of clinics and an acclaimed research institute. Virginia Mason has logged numerous firsts in medicine while earning national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety.

The organization’s application of Toyota Production System manufacturing principles to health care delivery nearly 20 years ago crystalized Virginia Mason’s status as a haven of bold ideas for transforming the health care experience for patients and providers.

Highlights of Virginia Mason’s first 100 years include:

  • 1920: Virginia Mason began as an 80-bed hospital with six physician offices. It was named after the daughters of James Tate Mason, MD, and John M. Blackford, MD, who were co-founders with radiologist Maurice Dwyer, MD. Their vision was to provide a single location where patients could receive comprehensive inpatient and outpatient medical care for most health issues.
  • 1923: Virginia Mason became the first medical facility in the Pacific Northwest to provide insulin for patients with diabetes.
  • Early 1930s: Virginia Mason met the challenge of the Great Depression by contracting with regional employers, such as The Boeing Co., Seattle Police Department and the U.S. Post Office, to provide medical care for their staffs.
  • 1949: Virginia Mason was one of the first hospitals in the United States, and the only one in Seattle, to allow fathers in the delivery room. Virginia Mason was also the first hospital in Seattle where newborn babies could sleep in the room with their mothers rather than in a nursery.
  • 1957: The first cobalt therapy for cancer treatment in Washington state was performed at Virginia Mason.
  • 1969: Virginia Mason was the first in the region to develop a short-stay surgery program, allowing eligible patients to return home after only one day in the hospital.
  • 1971: Virginia Mason acquired the first thermography unit in the Pacific Northwest to perform pre-mammography screening tests for breast cancer and other diseases.
  • 1973: The Virginia Mason Breast Cancer Detection Clinic became a national model.
  • 1992: Virginia Mason opened Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled nursing facility in the United States designed specifically to provide care for people with HIV/AIDS.
  • 2001: Virginia Mason leaders began testing Toyota Production System (TPS) principles in the health care setting. In the summer of 2002, Virginia Mason sent 30 representatives to Japan to further train in lean manufacturing methods, paving the way for creation of the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) – the medical center’s innovative management methodology inspired by TPS. The Virginia Mason Institute now provides training in VMPS methods to health care leaders from the United States and other countries.
  • 2004: Virginia Mason became the first nonprofit medical center in the United States to require all its employees to receive an annual flu vaccination to protect themselves and patients. Virginia Mason also offered the first drive-through flu vaccination station in the Pacific Northwest.
  • 2010:Virginia Mason was named a Top Hospital of the Decade by The Leapfrog Group, an independent association representing large businesses and other health care purchasers.
  • 2016: Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital joined the Virginia Mason Health System. The hospital was renamed Virginia Mason Memorial to reflect its new affiliation.
  • 2020: Modern Healthcare magazine included Dr. Kaplan on its annual list of the 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives in American health care for the 15th time.

A book about Virginia Mason’s history, titled “Remarkable Care, Innovative Leadership: 100 Years of Virginia Mason 1920-2020,” will be published soon. In the book’s Foreword, Donald Berwick, MD, former administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, writes: “Virginia Mason’s dedicated community of care providers, innovators, and believers in the notion that health care can always be improved will continue shaping American health care’s evolution, and in that quest, it will continue to be a gift to us all.”

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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