Incorporated as a North Carolina nonprofit corporation on October 20, 1927, Mission Hospital McDowell, formerly known as McDowell Hospital and Marion General Hospital, owns and operates a licensed 30-bed general acute care facility located at 430 Rankin Drive in Marion.
The present facility is the seventh to serve the people of McDowell County since the early part of the last century. The county's first hospital was opened in 1908 by Dr. Gaston Bailey Justice. The facility served the community for about one year. Dr. Guy Kirby opened the second hospital in 1917, which remained in operation about three years. The third venture, undertaken by Dr. J.F. Miller in 1924, was incorporated as Marion General three years later. The first structure specifically designed to serve as a hospital opened in 1930 on James Drive in downtown Marion. This facility served the community for the next 22 years. Healthcare needs had outgrown facility potential in the late forties, prompting construction of a new 50-bed hospital, built with the aid of Hill-Burton and Duke Endowment funds.
This facility opened to the public in May 1952 on three-and-one-half acres on Fleming Avenue. In 1977, the decision was made to add 12 beds, bringing the total available beds to 62. A nurse's residence was opened adjacent to the hospital in 1953, which served for many years as a residence for female employees.
A new facility was completed in late 1983, housing 65 beds in private rooms. Located on a 50-acre tract just outside the city limits, the hospital was designed for maximum efficiency and ease of expansion as future needs demanded.
Since then, expansions have included construction of the Health Plus Rural Health Clinic, creation of the county’s first fixed-based MRI facility, emergency department expansion, development of a cancer center, new physician practices in Glenwood, Marion, Nebo and Old Fort, and more.
After a long process of negotiation and due diligence, McDowell Hospital officially became a Mission Health hospital in August 2004. Under the leadership of a locally comprised board and with oversight from Mission Health, this partnership brought expanded resources, educational opportunities, shared services and greater financial stability.
In October 2015, Mission Health broke ground on a replacement hospital for the previous facility built in 1983. The new hospital, built on the same parcel of land that was home to the previous facility, was designed to continue supporting the organization’s work to manage the health of the population by strengthening ambulatory services, supporting Mission Health’s regional network of care and ensuring access to care in a sustainable manner. The new facility opened in February 2018 and features 30 inpatient beds, an expanded emergency department, a state-of-the-art surgery center, larger inpatient rooms focused on patient- and family-centered care, along with improved parking and patient access.