Franklin Medical Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary with an open house Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. featuring speakers and history of the facility.

Numerous changes and upgrades have occurred since FMC opened Jan. 15, 1970 as a 56-bed facility in its present location, 2106 Loop Road, Winnsboro.

“We are blessed on so many levels to have a facility such as this in our community, and are thankful to the people of this parish for their support through the years,” said Paul Price Jr. president of FMC Board of Commissioners.

FMC now offers 37 licensed beds, orthopedic and general surgery, inpatient rehab, outpatient therapy, newly refurbished emergency room, hormone replacement therapy, CT, MRI and nuclear medicine.

Along with expanding its physical grounds, FMC has expanded its economic impact to the area. Seventy-three employees worked at FMC at its opening. Fifty years later, the employee count has grown to 242 full-time employees, representing the largest payroll and 1 percent of Franklin Parish’s population.

“We are going to continue to grow,” said Blake Kramer, FMC administrator. “We are going to continue to provide the best care possible to the community and area we support.”

Price credits FMC’s employees for its success as a rural hospital.

“We are blessed to have an outstanding team of providers and employees offering the highest level of care for the patients who come through the doors each day,” Price said. “They are truly the backbone of this facility, and we thank them for all they do for our community.”

One such employee, Dwaine Boothe, has seen many of the hospital’s physical changes. Boothe is a 34-year FMC employee and engineering department director.

The emergency room expansion was the most prominent change in his tenure, Boothe said.

“We added 4,000 square feet,” Boothe said.

The six-person engineering team oversees the basic maintenance of 12 buildings in addition to the “main hospital building,” Boothe said.

“We keep the lights on and the water, gas and steam flowing,” he said. “This is a good place to work and is an excellent asset to the community.”

Many of FMC’s longtime employees call the hospital’s atmosphere “family oriented” with “great benefits.”

As a 39-year hospital employee, Marjorie Thomas of Gilbert, knows the importance of her “work family.”

Thomas, a controller, was involved in a severe vehicle crash earlier this year. As a result of the crash, Thomas faced a two-month recovery in a Shreveport hospital.

“I couldn’t walk,” Thomas said. “They put me in a swing bed here and provided transportation back and forth to Shreveport.”

Swing Bed is a Medicare program that allows patients to receive skilled care services once acute hospital care is no longer required, but the patient continues to need services that cannot be easily provided in the patient’s home.

“I couldn’t ask for a better place to work or heal,” Thomas said, who is still recovering from the accident.

Thomas said the close proximity of the hospital to her home helped in raising her family.

“I needed a job close to home when my children were in school,” Thomas said. “This hospital provided that. Now that my children are grown, I plan to work another 12 years.”

Additionally, Price gave credit to Kramer and his administrative team for FMC’s success. Kramer has served as administrator for 10 years.

“You don’t have to look far to see the impact on a community when their local hospital closes,” Price said. “Fortunately, that’s not going to happen here. Our administrative team does a great job guiding the day-to-day operations and staying on top of the always changing health care landscape.”

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