It was the year 1928, just 12 months before the Great Depression hit America, when Dr. William Jefferson Anderson established what is known today as Anderson Regional Medical Center. Having been founded in one of the bleakest economic eras in American history, and having grown through both good and bad economies, Anderson has always had an eye toward the future and the people and tools in place to weather hard times.
Visionary from the start, Dr. Jeff Anderson saw a need to improve health care for the people of East Central Mississippi and West Central Alabama. In 1929, he purchased the old Turner Hospital and renamed it Anderson Infirmary.
Anderson Infirmary operated 30 hospital beds, a laboratory and two operating rooms. On staff were three physicians and a half-dozen nurses and technicians. Dr. Anderson’s vision of improving the quality of medical care had begun.
He, too, was hit by the effects of the Great Depression. He mortgaged his home (now a historic landmark on 23rd Avenue) to keep the doors of Anderson Infirmary open.
Despite the hard times, Dr. Anderson provided care to all patients and payment was creative — ranging from promissory notes and fruits and vegetables to more. In many cases care was rendered for free. No one was turned away.
In the late 30s and throughout the 40s, economic recovery began. As a result, the hospital experienced growth and patient care services expanded. Additional operating rooms and X-ray were added and the laboratory was enlarged. Anderson Infirmary became the first hospital in Meridian to become fully air-conditioned — a true milestone in the South.
Anderson Infirmary grew so much that by the 1950s, the original facilities were cramped and outdated. Changes in technology, including antiseptic, antibiotic and surgical advances, had profound impacts on medicine. As a result, Anderson Infirmary grew from a medical staff of three in 1928 to more than 24 in 1951, including Dr. Anderson’s son, surgeon Dr. William J. Anderson Jr. That was also the year when founder Dr. William Jefferson Anderson passed away.
With Dr. William Anderson at the helm, the hospital continued to grow and plan for the future. Under his leadership, Anderson Infirmary became Jeff Anderson Memorial Hospital and, in 1965, opened an entirely new state-of-the-art facility. The hospital housed 120 private acute care beds with expanded services in laboratory, X-ray, surgery, obstetrics and emergency departments. Jeff Anderson Memorial Hospital became the area’s first and largest full service hospital in the East Mississippi/West Alabama area.
By 1975, the hospital had expanded from 120 to 260 beds and achieved “regional medical center” status. The exponential growth occurred from one directive and one directive only — continuously improving the quality of patient care. Since 1975, we have experienced steady growth, not only in brick and mortar, but in services as well.
The 1980s saw the development of Centers of Excellence in cardiology, wellness and cancer treatment. In 1999, under the leadership of Dr. William J. Anderson III, the hospital began implementing a multi-phase master facility plan.
This plan was based on a patient focused design and involved relocation of all services for easy patient access. Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center completed the final construction phase of the multi-phase master facility plan in the spring of 2000. The completion of this multi-million dollar project provided evidence of the commitment for the continued improvement of healthcare quality for the consumers the medical center serves. Rebranded in 2009 to better reflect our roots, Anderson Regional Medical Center houses Centers of Excellence in cardiac services, wellness, oncology, women’s health, sleep disorders and more. Anderson Regional Cancer Center is the region’s only comprehensive Cancer Center.
On January, 1, 2011, Anderson took ownership of substantially all of the assets of Riley Hospital. This acquisition added 140 licensed beds, making Anderson Regional a 400-bed facility — among the largest in the state and region. Anderson added several key service lines, including long-term acute care, wound care, inpatient rehabilitation and a pain management center. In keeping with our mission, this acquisition allowed our healthcare system to expand its campus, and enhance and increase key services to help us better serve the residents of this region.
Today, Anderson Regional Health System is led by Dr. Jeff Anderson’s grandsons, Joe Anderson (Chairman of the Board of Directors) and John G. Anderson (President and CEO). The health system hosts a robust medical staff spanning 35 specialties, enabling residents of this area to stay close to home for advanced medical care. Anderson is one of the largest medical systems in Mississippi and one of the state's major employers.