Dr. Kingsley Roberts, highly recommended by the Rockefeller Foundation,
was approached for advice. He sent specialists to study Crossett's
needs. On the basis of their reports, Dr. Roberts recommended the establishment
of the Crossett Health Foundation.
Then he advised (1) a new building, (2) continued salaried practitioners,
and (3) operation on a prepaid medical care plan underwritten by the Health
Foundation. So in 1945, the Crossett Health Foundation was incorporated
by the late E.C. Crossett, J.W. Watzek, and A.R. Watzek.
Architects recommended by Dr. Roberts, William Lescaze and Associates of
New York City, we employed to plan the center. This building was started
with the feeling that a very nice plant could be put up for about $200,000.
Before it was finished, the rapidly rising cost of materials at that time
and the determination on the part of the Health Foundation that the building
and equipment be as fine as possible, brought the final cost of the building
and equipment to $735,000.00. Of that amount, the Crossett Company provided
$510,000.00, plus a site. The federal government paid $225,000.00.
When the Crossett Health Center opened its doors to the people of Crossett
and Ashley County, the Crossett Health Foundation had reason to feel they
were offering one of the finest and best equipped hospitals for an area
of this size to be found anywhere in the United States.
After completing construction of the health center, an endowment fund was
established for the foundation by the Crossett Company. In addition to
the financial help which the Crossett Company has given, Crossett Health
Center has been considered worthy of substantial help from the Ford Foundation.
Donations from Chase Bag Company, Bemis Bros. Bag Company, Simplex Company,
and Textile Paper Company for the capital expenditures program have also
been very helpful.
Financial Changes over the Years
Through its years of operation, Crossett Health Center has had many dark
and bright hours. The bright times, in the great majority, have come hour
by hour when the hospital has rendered its true service to the people
of Ashley County. And, in almost all cases, its dark hours have come in
connection with financial problems. Crossett Health Center is no exception
to the general rule that hospitals operate at a financial loss.
The monthly losses have ranged from small amounts to $10,000.00. The Crossett
Company has made up the deficit each month, so that the hospital could
continue to operate.
Crossett Health Center operates under the guidance of a Board of Directors.
As the needs and wishes of the community have indicated need for change,
the board has made adjustments in the original plan mapped out by Dr. Roberts.
The doctors are no longer on salary, but practice on a private basis, paying
the foundation for the use of office space at the health center. And the
prepaid medical care plan has been discontinued to permit individuals
to choose the type of hospital insurance they prefer from the long list
of national companies offering such protection.
1908 – 1998: A Journey to Greatness
Although the road leading from the old Crossett Hospital has not been as
smooth and sleek as the lines of the Ashley County Medical Center, the
results are well worth the many hours of time devoted to the realization
of a modern hospital for this area and the many thousands of dollars that
have gone into its construction. Certainly the hundreds of people who
are treated in it each year have reason to think so.
What began as a company hospital is now a modern state of the art medical
center located at 1015 Unity Road Highway 82 East, Crossett. It opened
June 14, 1998.