United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) was formed by the merger of Genesee Memorial and St. Jerome Hospitals on January 1, 2000. In 1902, a group of community minded women formed the original Batavia Hospital. In 1917, the Sisters of Mercy opened St. Jerome Hospital after Batavia resident Rose Jerome willed her family home on Bank Street to the order for use as a school or hospital. As the twentieth century progressed, so did healthcare in Genesee County.
Genesee Memorial Hospital was built in 1952, replacing the Batavia Hospital on North Street and was dedicated as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the wars of the 20th century. The ensuing decades brought many building projects at both hospitals. St. Jerome's added a new bed tower and emergency department and each added the newest technologies and services for the time. As the industrial and agrarian based economy of Genesee County flourished, so did the hospitals.
By the 1990's our culture shifted. There were fewer large industries in Genesee County, and the northeast in general. Healthcare was transforming from an acute care, inpatient setting to more of an outpatient based model. Technology made several significant advances requiring many expensive capital purchases. Increasing expenditures, coupled with declining reimbursements made it impossible to sustain two hospitals within Genesee County. A dedicated group of community and hospital board members recognized the need to consolidate services and began discussions regarding a merger of the two hospitals.
Merging the two distinct cultures of each hospital, one faith based and the other not, was difficult. The community had strong feelings regarding which organization would lead locally delivered healthcare. In the end, the Sisters of Mercy sacrificed their mission in order to protect acute care services in Genesee County. The former Genesee Memorial Hospital campus was used for all inpatient services with the exception of the chemical dependency unit, Hope Haven. Hope Haven remained at the former St. Jerome campus along with a few hospital administrative offices and a laboratory collection site.
In 2007, renovations were done at the underutilized former St. Jerome Hospital campus to create the Jerome Center to house a comprehensive diagnostic center and medical practice offices on the ground floor. In 2010, the upper four floors of the former hospital were transformed into 37 apartments for low-moderate income seniors. The secure 2nd floor continues to house Hope Haven and the first floor is shelled space for future growth. The sensitive renovation of this downtown core building was honored with an award from our local Landmark Society for its adaptive reuse.
In 2010, significant changes were made to the North Street campus with a 44,000 square foot addition to the front of the hospital. This created a new entrance with portico, lobby, gift shop, guest elevators and 5 state-of-the-art operating rooms on the first floor. The additional space created on the ground floor became home to Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine and a modern Central Supply unit.
The first few years following the merger were difficult financially and culturally, however United Memorial has emerged as one of the region's most vibrant community hospitals. Organizationally we are preparing for the future of healthcare in our nation and look forward to caring for our community for another century.