This year, Rapides Regional Medical center celebrates 120 years serving the families of Alexandria, Pineville and Central Louisiana!

Alexandria Sanitarium, as the hospital was originally named, began accepting patients on January 1, 1903. At that time, the two-story, 20-bed, wooden building was located on the corner of 2nd and Lee streets in downtown Alexandria.

“At that time, having a hospital in your community was a matter of community pride,” said Charla Ducote, Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Business Development. “Hospital care was becoming thought of as more beneficial to patients than medical care received at home.”

The first ad for Alexandria Sanitarium boasted “modern operating room, trained nurses, every comfort. Rates $2.50 to $3.00 per day, including medicine and surgical dressings. Patients must employ their own physicians.”

Founders of the Alexandria Sanitarium were named as Drs. W.W. Ashton, C.J. Gremillion, J.A. White, Smith Gordon, Rawley M. Penick and R.O. Simmons.

In the 120 years since, Rapides Regional Medical Center has experienced many changes, in name, more than once; in location, in management and in medical care.

“Our community has known us as the Alexandria Sanitarium, Baptist Hospital, Rapides General Hospital and Rapides Regional Medical Center,” said Vernon Jones II, Interim Chief Operating Officer. “You can tell if someone is a lifelong resident of the area if they refer to us as Baptist Hospital or Rapides General. And, we have some employees who have been with us through many of those name changes – and through many, many constructions projects as the hospital grew to meet our community’s need.”

Today, RRMC is a 380-bed facility with more than 2,000 employees and 450 physicians with the area’s only Trauma Center, largest Newborn Intensive Care Unit and only Pediatric ICU, along with cardiology, surgery, ob/gyn, orthopedic and family medicine services.