Community Westview’s history
Reflecting on the past, envisioning the future
For some people, reflecting on Westview’s past begins on June 10, 1973. For on that bright afternoon, six hundred people gathered at 3630 North Guion Road to break ground on a new, 7.3-million-dollar hospital – Westview Hospital (today known as Community Westview Hospital). They, too, looked to the past and then looked ahead. After heartfelt remarks by Mayor Richard Lugar and the celebratory strains of a high school pep band, a single command raised cheers and relief: “Gentlemen, get your shovels!”
But Westview’s past really began much earlier in 1961, when Dr. Paul van B. Allen, Dr. H. Dearing Wolf and Addison King formed Indianapolis Osteopathic Hospital Inc. They dreamed of building a hospital to provide and preserve osteopathic medicine. It would take 14 years to hurdle the many obstacles in their path. But the founders knew that overcoming adversity is part of the osteopathic tradition. When osteopathic medicine was founded on the Missouri frontier in 1874, doubters ridiculed Dr. Andrew Taylor Still’s concept of “wellness.” They scoffed at the idea that we can avoid illness by making healthy choices. How times change! Today the holistic approach of osteopathic medicine is widely accepted.
By the time Westview was on the drawing board, Indianapolis was one of the nation’s last major cities without an osteopathic facility. In early 1964, ten osteopathic doctors formed the Joint Venture Group and bought land on Indianapolis’ northwest side. They knew someday that it would be their new hospital. But realizing the dream took money, and raising the money took energy, perseverance and patience. They asked a young Westside businessman and school board member, Richard Lugar, to chair the fund-raising campaign. Lugar continued his dogged determination to see Westview break ground even after he was elected mayor of Indianapolis in 1968. Along the way, many civic leaders and volunteers added their support as the hospital moved toward success. Today, Senator Lugar (senator of Indiana) continues to support Westview’s osteopathic mission and vision.
One volunteer organization of special note, Westview Hospital Guild, was known from 1966 to 1975 as “the guild without a hospital.” The Guild’s first role was in the battle to get Westview approved and built. Once the hospital opened, Guild volunteers logged more than 1,500 hours of service in its first three weeks of operation. Their support has been steady and generous ever since.
And so, on March 6, 1975, the hospital opened, ahead of schedule and with well-deserved fanfare, as central Indiana’s only osteopathic institution. A great achievement in and of itself, but the good news just kept getting better. By its first birthday, Westview had opened four of five sections. Twenty-two D.O.s. and 40 M.D.s were on the medical staff. Food service, surgery, x-ray, a lab, physical therapy and the emergency room were operating. Amazingly, Westview would show a profit that spring.
By the end of 1976, Westview had doctors in family practice and nearly all specialties. The next year it was accredited by the American Osteopathic Association and authorized to join the American Osteopathic Hospital Association, assuring Westview’s survival. Throughout the late seventies, the hospital continued to progress in areas as diverse as establishing nuclear medicine to developing a program to train future doctors.
Westview entered the 1980s confident of its important role in the community. And despite the turbulence of the health care industry during that period, the hospital steadily moved forward in widely diverse areas, including medical services, community programs and state-of-the-art technology.
In October of 1990, David Dyar became Westview’s president and chief executive officer. Under Mr. Dyar’s leadership, Westview made significant improvements. Hospital leaders focused on providing the staff with tools and resources to deliver comprehensive, personal care in the osteopathic tradition.
From expanding the 24-hour emergency room and launching family practice residency in 1995—to creating the Center for Integrated Medicine in 1997—Westview has demonstrated determination to keep moving forward. National recognition of all these efforts came in early 1997, when Westview was named one of the country’s 100 top-performing hospitals. Westview earned excellent marks for its high-quality outcomes, effective use of resources and efficient provision of care. The following year, the American Osteopathic Healthcare Association gave David Dyar its Award of Merit, the organization’s highest individual honor. Appropriately, he received the award from now U.S. Senator Richard Lugar.
The second most important groundbreaking in our history occurred in August 1997 when Westview began construction on Westview Healthplex Sports Club. This remarkable facility opened in the fall of 1998. It combines health, fitness, wellness and treatment programs under one roof, with a world-class sports club and a medical pavilion for physicians.
In 1996, renovation turned Unit 2 into the Geriatric Behavioral Health Center, enabling the hospital to address the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of older adults. In the fall of 1999, Westview opened the Sleep Disorders Center.
Under the guidance of Jerry Porter, president and chief executive officer until April of 2009, the close-knit medical staff of more than 175 continued to attract skilled D.O.s, podiatrists and M.D.s. Talented employees, backed by compassionate volunteers, became the ongoing key to Westview’s success. Together, their first priority remained high-quality patient care. And, Westview Medical Foundation (now know as Community Westview Hospital Foundation) continued to support our mission in diverse ways.
From 2009 until spring of 2013, Jon P. Anderson served as president and CEO for Community Westview Hospital, Community Healthplex Sports Club and Community Westview Physicians. Under the leadership of Mr. Anderson, we continued to grow and change. During his tenure, Community Westview’s physician network recruited an additional eleven specialty care physician practices and eleven primary care physician practices. Mr. Anderson was also instrumental in the alliance with Community Health Network. Today, David C. Williams, D.O., current chief physician executive, serves as interim president and CEO.
Despite all the changes, one thing has remained constant—the common vision of an osteopathic alternative for patients in central Indiana. This ongoing dedication and foresight goes a long way toward ensuring Community Westview’s continued success.