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Our History

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is the culmination of the integration of two highly regarded health systems, Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan, both with a rich history of providing state-of-the-art health care to the Northwest.

A look back—CHI Franciscan

Our journey began in 1891, when the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia founded St. Joseph Hospital (now St. Joseph Medical Center).

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia found St. Joseph Hospital, Tacoma's first Catholic hospital, with 60 beds.

St Joseph 1899

St. Joseph Hospital establishes a school for nurses.

St Joseph Students

St. Joseph Hospital moves into a five-story, modern building occupying an entire block along I Street between South 18th and South 19th streets. The facility eventually had capacity for as many as 300 private and semi-private beds. The hospital was the center for advanced and specialized care within the community.

St Joseph 1940

Enumclaw Community Hospital opens with 22 beds.

Enumclaw Community Hospital

The new St. Joseph Medical Center opens. Designed by renowned architect Bertrand Goldberg, it features an innovative tower that reflects Goldberg’s theory of “nuclear design.” Patient rooms were clustered to form “villages” around nursing stations, facilitating eye contact and communication between patients and nurses. St. Joseph Medical Center was declared one of the most efficient health care facilities on the West Coast. The medical center tower remains an icon on the Tacoma skyline.

St. Joseph Medical Center

St. Francis Hospital opens in Federal Way. It remains the only hospital in the growing community of South King County.

St. Francis Hospital

Franciscan Health System acquires Lakewood General Hospital; the hospital is renamed St. Clare Hospital.

St. Clare Hospital

Franciscan Health System joined Catholic Health Initiatives. Based in Englewood, Colorado, Catholic Health Initiatives is one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the United States.

Franciscan Medical Group forms with six clinics. Since then, Franciscan Medical Group has become one of the leading multi-specialty medical groups in the Pacific Northwest with clinics, doctors and other providers in Pierce, King and Kitsap counties.

St. Joseph Medical Center Clinic

The Outpatient Center at St. Francis Hospital opens, offering diagnostic imaging, day surgery, a gastrointestinal lab, radiation oncology, and physical, speech and occupational rehabilitation services.

St. Francis Outpatient Center

The Outpatient Center at St. Joseph Medical Center opens. The facility features the newest medical technology, a serene healing environment, an efficient admissions process, and access to a broad range of services. The outpatient center was designed by Callison Architecture. It was declared one of the best-designed health care facilities in the U.S., winning a national design award from Modern Healthcare magazine.

St. Joseph Outpatient Center

Franciscan Hospice House opens in University Place, near Tacoma. It is the only inpatient hospice facility in the South Puget Sound region.

Franciscan Hospice House

St. Clare Specialty Center, a state-of-the-art medical office building connected to St. Clare Hospital, opens. The Specialty Center houses doctors' offices and several of the hospital's outpatient programs.

St. Clare Specialty Center

Franciscan Medical Group opens its 35th clinic, St. Anthony Prompt Care in Gig Harbor (now called Franciscan Prompt Care – Gig Harbor). The staff provides urgent care for minor illnesses and injuries.

St. Anthony Prompt Care

Enumclaw Regional Hospital joins the Franciscan Health System, becoming the fourth hospital in the growing organization.

Enumclaw Regional Hospital

St. Anthony Hospital opens in Gig Harbor, becoming the fifth hospital in the Franciscan Health System. A sky bridge connects the hospital to the Milgard Medical Pavilion, home to doctors’ offices and numerous outpatient services.

St. Anthony Hospital

St. Elizabeth Hospital opens in February 2011 in Enumclaw, replacing Enumclaw Regional Hospital as the community's acute-care facility

St. Elizabeth Hospital

The Franciscan Medical Building at St. Joseph opens. The patient destination center includes five floors of medical services, retail pharmacy, laboratory and café.

Franciscan Medical Building at St. Joseph

Highline Medical Center in Burien and the Highline Medical Group affiliates with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

Highline Medical Center

The Franciscan Medical Pavilion in Bonney Lake opens. The state-of-the art facility houses family medicine, an urgent care, digital X-ray, on-site laboratory and retail pharmacy.  Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and Silverdale affiliates with
Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

Franciscan Medical Pavilion in Bonney Lake

Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and Silverdale affiliates with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

Harrison Medical Center

Regional Hospital, the region’s first long-term acute care hospital, affiliates with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason finalize agreement to form Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

A look back—Virginia Mason

Virginia Mason Hospital opens with six doctor offices.

Hospital expands its maternity department

Virginia Mason's School of Nursing admits the first of hundreds of students educated in the program, which, 35 years later, became affiliated with the University of Washington.

Virginia Mason becomes one of the first hospitals in the nation to allow fathers in the delivery room.

Research center opens and attracts talented researchers.

The bestselling book Intern is written by Alan Nourse, MD, a Virginia Mason intern.

The region's first lithotripter, for treating kidney stones without surgery, is installed.

Bailey-Boushay House, a facility to care for people living with AIDS, opens and is managed and staffed by Virginia Mason.

Benaroya Research Institute, a state-of-the-art facility, opens.

Virginia Mason Institute is established to provide education and training in the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS).

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital affiliates with and becomes part of Virginia Mason Health System. 

CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason finalize agreement to form Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. 

Looking forward

Informed by our history, dedication to research and our record of ground-breaking medical firsts, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is determined to continue its legacy of providing high-quality, patient-centered health care. We fully intend to continue making health care history in the service of our communities.