Cleveland’s First Private Hospital
The history of Cleveland and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center are not independent of one another. A city is people; a hospital is people—the story of the past century and a half is the story of how these people have helped each other.
Since 1865—nearly 150 years ago—a handful of pioneering Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine were brought to Cleveland at the request of Bishop Amadeus Rappe, the first bishop of Cleveland. Against the backdrop of a soul-searing Civil War and a spirit saddened by the assassination of a President, new life was teeming on the streets, avenues, shores, railways and alleys of Cleveland. However, without a hospital the city could not serve the railroad and steamboat disaster victims and returning Civil War soldiers who were requiring immediate medical attention and nursing care.
To meet these needs, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, rose above almost insurmountable difficulties to come into existence.
In May 1863, Bishop Rappe had proposed to City Council that Cleveland build a hospital to care for wounded soldiers, with nursing care to be provided by the Sisters. City Council appointed a committee to investigate and immediately dissension occurred. Newspaper editorials opposed a hospital under Catholic auspices since nine-tenths of the taxpayers were Protestants, and proposed instead the establishment of a nonsectarian hospital.
Familiar with failure and discouragement, Bishop Rappe made another attempt. He offered to build a hospital and provide Sisters to care for the patients if the citizens would furnish adequate financial support.
Cleveland citizens agreed and the site—at Perry Street (now East 22nd Street) between Marion and Garden Streets (now Central Avenue)—was purchased for $10,000. The initial hospital cost $72,000 of which $42,000 was raised from the primarily Protestant Cleveland community.
The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine stated that patients would be received regardless of religious belief and that those unable to pay would have their care paid for by the city. Mother Augustine, a woman of refinement and strength of character, who possessed unusual executive ability, was the first superior of the hospital. She and seven Sisters took up their duties on October 5, 1865. Their practice of always aiding the sick and suffering regardless of creed, race or ability to pay has continued throughout the next century and a half.
Today, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality healthcare provider. As a teaching hospital, it is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute, the Center for Bariatric Surgery as well as complete services in cardiovascular, emergency medicine, primary care, behavioral health, occupational health and addiction medicine in a setting that is as caring and comfortable as home.
Everyone at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is devoted to the mission to treat every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care.
Recent Blog Posts
May 10, 2021
St. Vincent Charity leader pens essay for The Plain Dealer's Northeast Ohio health care heroes series
“God, just keep us resilient. Let’s not get discouraged. There are so many things we can do and are doing well, and we have to keep looking for those bright spots.” Janice Murphy, president and CEO of St. Vincent Medical Charity Center, was asked by The Plain Dealer for a personal account of leading during the pandemic. The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com are celebrating health care heroes who helped through the coronavirus pandemic and are honoring them with a collection of first- and third-person stories about their work.
April 23, 2021
Technology, confusing distribution plans and limited supply have made it frustrating and difficult for many seniors to secure a COVID-19 vaccination. Those who are homebound, live alone, lack transportation or reliable social connections are at an even greater risk of not receiving the vaccine. Understanding these barriers, Cleveland Clergy Alliance and St. Vincent Charity are working together to ensure Cuyahoga County seniors have access and transportation to COVID-19 vaccinations.
April 19, 2021
St. Vincent Charity food service department turns COVID-19 restrictions into community outreach opportunity
COVID-19 safety measures at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center required the cafeteria to limit seating and only allow access to employees. While the safety protocols were necessary, the impact was felt beyond the walls of the medical center. Many of the hospital's neighbors frequently visited the hospital cafeteria because it’s a convenient, affordable option and one of few places in the neighborhood that serves freshly cooked, home-style meals. In February, the hospital's food services team launched Mission Kitchen, an online grab-and-go menu for caregivers that funds meals for families in the Central Neighborhood.
April 7, 2021
Governor Mike DeWine recently joined RecoveryOhio and the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services to announce funding awards totaling more than $13 million to help communities throughout Ohio continue the fight against opioid addiction and prevent overdose deaths. The awards include $147,428 to St. Vincent Charity Medical Center's addiction treatment center, Rosary Hall.
March 16, 2021
St. Vincent Charity orthopedic surgeon pens column for Cleveland Jewish News about same-day hip replacements
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Matthew Levy writes a monthly column for the Cleveland Jewish News focusing on orthopedic issues, concerns and topics. His most recent column highlights how advancements in implant technology, surgical technique and pain management have ushered in a new era that allows many hip replacement patients same-day surgery and the benefits it provides.
February 25, 2021
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has opened an urgent care location in Rocky River to treat life's little bumps, bruises and illnesses. There's no need for an appointment. Adults and children age 5 and older can walk in, get treated and get on with their day. The urgent care location also offers telehealth.
February 8, 2021
Integrated Care refers to the practice of treating the whole person — attending to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. This approach meaningfully transforms lives by wholly embracing the needs of each individual. In its February 8th issue, Crain’s Cleveland Business features an in-depth look at this approach at St. Vincent Charity, as well as the hospital’s new Integrated Care Clinic, which provides outpatient mental health trauma and wellness services in a person-centered approach.
JANICE G. MURPHY, RN, BSN, MSN, FACHE
PRESIDENT & CEO, ST. VINCENT CHARITY MEDICAL CENTER
Jan Murphy became president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in August 2019.
Murphy previously served as senior vice president of mission and ministry at the Sisters of Charity Health System. Prior to SCHS, she served as chief operating officer (COO) of regional hospitals and family health centers for the Cleveland Clinic. In that role since 2015, she was responsible for the operations of 10 community hospitals, 21 family health centers, three freestanding emergency departments, and three health and wellness centers. Prior, she served as COO of Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, president of Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, president of Cleveland Clinic Fairview and Lakewood Hospitals, senior vice president and COO of Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, and chief nursing officer of Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital.
Murphy is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. She holds a master’s degree in nursing and administration from the University of Akron, bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bowling Green State University, registered nursing degree from the Fairview Hospital School of Nursing, and LPN from Marymount School of Practical Nursing. Throughout her career, she has been recognized by many for excellence in leadership development, facility management, clinical quality and compassion.