Great Plains Regional Medical Center History
Great Plains Regional Medical Center is unique and rich in its history. Founded and brought into existence by a crusading physician and Western Oklahoma people against all odds, GPRMC is still pushing the boundaries by providing comprehensive, cost-effective and high-quality healthcare to our communities.
Believe it or not, the concept of managed healthcare has been around at least since the Depression. Michael Shadid MD, of Elk City, Oklahoma, created one of the earliest managed care systems in this country in 1929. Of Lebanese birth, Dr. Shadid migrated to America in his teens, peddled jewelry and studied medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. He pioneered as a horse and buggy doctor in Oklahoma, driving through dust storms to operate by candlelight. In a Model T, he skidded over red clay roads and battled snowdrifts to deliver babies. Loved and respected in a wide region around Elk City, Dr. Shadid, by 1929, was a leading physician with an annual income of $20,000.
For years the doctor had been haunted by the fact that hundreds of farm families scattered throughout the Great Plains country were not getting adequate medical attention. He saw first-hand the tragedies among medically forgotten rural Oklahoma and Texas: farmers dying of ruptured appendixes, their wives and children defenseless against the ravages of pneumonia, diabetes and tuberculosis. Shadid knew that the only solution to this bitter problem was prepaid group medicine, offering hospital facilities and medical treatment at a price that these none-too-prosperous farmers could afford. In the truest sense, Shadid was a pioneer, for nowhere in America was there a model to guide him in his experiment.
Single-handedly, Shadid turned to the farmers, the people who would benefit most from his plan. He called a mass meeting, and to Elk City came farmers from ten counties to hear the crusading doctor tell them that if they all chipped in (as they had profitably done to build a cooperative cotton gin) they could guarantee for themselves and their posterity the rare blessing of good medical care. Dr. Shadid and the group sold shares at $50.00 each to fund the hospital. In return each shareholder received medical care at a discount rate.
Today, the Board of Directors, Medical Staff, Administration and Employees of Great Plains Regional Medical Center still believes it is imperative to the well-being of the families in Western Oklahoma that we carry on the mission started by Dr. Shadid. Great Plains Regional is positioned for a strong future as the comprehensive healthcare provider for the people of our area. Our commitment is, and will continue to be, to provide modern, state-of-the-art medical care while retaining the warmth and compassion of the community hospital that will forever be remembered as the first “cooperative” hospital in the nation.