Hospital anniversary

img0065.jpgThis week marks the twenty-second anniversary for the grand opening of the University of Minnesota Hospital, conceptually known as Unit J, and now known as the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.

When the $125 million, 566,000 square feet hospital opened in 1986 it held 432 beds, had 18 operating rooms including a transplant suite, and housed the Variety Club Children’s Hospital on the fifth floor. Eight-five percent of the patient rooms had a view of the Mississippi River. The opening week festivities for the new hospital also included a commemorative time capsule to be opened in 2086.

First proposed in the 1968 health science precinct plan, Unit J provided a centralized hospital facility that would replace many of the services offered in the Mayo Medical Center and other buildings. It is located on the former site of Powell Hall originally a dormitory for nurses.

Eustis hospital

img0047.jpgWilliam Henry Eustis, born in 1845 in New York State, was a prominent philanthropist, entrepreneur, and politician in Minnesota. After graduating from Columbia University’s law school, Eustis practiced in New York City and in Minneapolis, moving to Minnesota in 1881. Eustis served a single term as mayor of Minneapolis from 1893-1895. In addition to his law practice, Eustis built a fortune in real estate acquisition and development in partnership with his brother Gardner T. Eustis, also of Minneapolis. Eustis never married. He died on Thanksgiving Day 1928 at the age of 83.

Modeling himself after Andrew Carnegie, Eustis believed his wealth should be passed along to those in need. After suffering a debilitating accident at the age of fifteen, Eustis focused his gift giving to institutions that provided benefits to disabled children. During his life, Eustis gave large portions of his estate to the Dowling School in Minneapolis and provided the funds to establish the Minnesota Hospital and Home for Crippled Children. Construction began at the University in 1928 and the hospital included an outpatient department, two floors for hospitalized children with a space for an on site school, and an amphitheater for teaching purposes. In total, Eustis gave over $1 million dollars to the University, primarily for health care services. Eustis agreed to the University’s request to name the hospital and facilities after him in recognition of his generosity only after first refusing their overture.

Eustis saw the city of Minneapolis as a secularized manifestation of the proverbial City on the Hill, albeit with a river running through it. In a 1926 letter to the Board of Regents accompanying his gift of his final interest in the Flour and Corn Exchange Building, Eustis predicted,

The time is ripe under your guidance to establish here one of the great medical centers of the World. The helpful generosity of the Rockefeller Foundation, the genius of the University, and the old time spirit of Minneapolis united and working in the closest accord, bearing aloft the banner of Excelsior would establish here a beacon light of medical science and research that shall for all ages redound to the glory of man’s genius and the highest welfare of his being.

Only yesterday the barbers were our surgeons and the pharmacists our physicians. The time is short and the distance long between the barber’s pole and the Mayo clinic…The tide is at its flood. The golden opportunity is here, and I cannot believe that the heroic, civic spirit that once dominated Minneapolis will now be weighed in the balance and found wanting.

By the early 1930s, the Eustis Children’s Hospital and the Elliot Memorial Hospital with its newly expanded Christian and Todd wings provided inpatient care with outpatient and rehabilitation services at the University of Minnesota.

Elliot Hospital (center) and Eustis Hospital under construction (right), circa 1929.

In 1954 the Mayo Memorial Building opened as a consolidated health care delivery and education facility. The construction process of Mayo incorporated the Elliot and Eustis Hospitals as wings of the new health sciences center. Some services and operations that previously took place in Eustis Hospital were moved to other locations within Mayo. However, the Eustis Wing of Mayo still had an active hospital station (Station #35), audiology and dental clinics, and medical educational rooms including the Eustis Amphitheater.

Medical records and their keepers

In the course of collecting materials, it seems inevitable that those charged with maintaining records become part of the historical documentation.

img0044.jpgI recently stumbled across two items that document the changes in managing medical records and the role their keepers play in the larger health care delivery system. The first document is a typed page summarizing key points regarding the use of medical records in court. The text is taken from the 1941 Manual for Medical Records Librarians by Edna K. Huffman. It notes that “the position of the medical records librarian is one of especial trust” and “it is her duty to ascertain that the record is properly completed.” The responsibility of the medical record librarian is to protect the “chief value of a medical record… an unbiased statement inasmuch as the doctors, interns, nurses, and others concerned in making the record at the time of the patient’s hospitalization have no interest in any subsequent litigation.”

img0046.jpgAlmost forty years later, the medical records librarian has been replaced by the medical records manager. In a 1980 article from the UMHC Monitor (a former publication of the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics) the activities of the medical records department are highlighted to introduce others to their important function within the health delivery system. The director at the time, John Dennis, explained “Management of information is the business we’re in. We deal with the whole life-cycle of recorded information, from the creation of the information to distribution and maintenance.” Accredited record technicians (ARTs) and Registered Record Administrators (RRAs) “ensure that all record components are accounted for” including the coding and abstracting of records for electronic storage. The message of the article concludes with stating “record and information management goes beyond the basic ‘record’ and deals with their generation and use. It is a powerful institutional tool contributing to quality patient care and increased revenue.” Indeed.

Updates on recent acquisitions

School of Nursing records, supplement
Eight more boxes have arrived from the Dean’s office bringing the total to 14 linear feet. It is all in need of reboxing and some foldering. There are perhaps a few more boxes to go. I’ve begun looking through the materials and have reboxed the first box and some of the second.

Board of Governors records
I finally had a chance to pull the previously accessioned material. It was half a linear foot and contains only material from 1984-1985. This is the final period of the construction of the hospital and most of the material is related to this event. Now I will be able to go through the recent BoG acquisition to see if these same materials are duplicated or if they are unique.

John Arnold papers
I received a small package containing a few folders of material related to Dr. John Arnold (retired) a former faculty member of the College of Veterinary Medicine and head of the Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology. Along with materials related to his leadership position in the College there is some information regarding his work with Seoul National University and veterinary programs in Iran during the 1970s.

Board of Governors records

I am pleased to announce the first major acquisition for the project, the University Hospitals Board of Governors records, 1975-1996. The BoG was established to be the fiscal agent for the University Hospitals. It disbanded after the sale of the hospitals in 1996. The collection consists of minutes for the Board of Governors and planning and finance committee reports. The material is a full run of the Board’s activities and will supplement a previous acquisition by University Archives that documents only activities in the 1980s.

collect001.jpgThe records were delivered to my office in 3-ring binders and await boxing. The collection is approximately 6 linear feet at its acquisition. The binders are all labeled with content and date information. The material is in good condition. No further accruals are expected.

When I saw the collection I immediately considered placing the binders into boxes and not foldering the material based on the MPLP method. However, upon closer inspection it would seem that the binders are much larger than the content they hold. By foldering the material, it would condense the collection into 5 or less linear feet. Space considerations, not just staff time, are another area of cost that must be considered. I will update you on my decision once the collection is processed.