Bon Secours-St. Francis celebrates 25th anniversary in Charleston

CHARLESTON — Bon Secours Health System celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

It was in the late 1960s when the Sisters of Bon Secours determined they needed to strengthen their sense of mission and identity for their health care facilities to continue to succeed. Thus began the evolution of Bon Secours into a health system, according to a press release from the hospital.

Sisters Rita Thomas and Urban Auer took the initial steps in 1973 by calling the CEOs of all Bon Secours facilities together. From this meeting, the Bon Secours Health Commission was formed so executive officers could share plans, problems and opportunities, and discuss shared services.

In 1978, Bon Secours Health Care Corporation was formed to establish priorities and criteria for financial performance.

By July 1, 1983, when Bon Secours Health System was formed, it operated four acute-care facilities and one nursing home.

Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., the system included approximately 5,000 employees. Because the sole purpose of the Sisters of Bon Secours has always been health care, the order remained involved in the new health system.

“The sisters were committed to doing the right thing for the right reason,” said Sister Pat Eck, chair of the board of directors. “Bon Secours Health System Inc. was never just a health care business, but rather a ministry of Jesus and the Catholic Church,” she said.

In 1984, Bon Secours had $171.1 million in total assets and made its first acquisition for the new health system, Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va.  In 1989 it acquired St. Francis Xavier Hospital from the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, which became Bon Secours first facility in Charleston. The hospital moved to a new building in West Ashley in 1996. Two years later, Bon Secours joined Roper Hospital, the only other not-for-profit hospital in the Charleston area, to form Roper St. Francis Healthcare.  

Bon Secours Health System developed its first formal vision and strategic quality plan in 1993. From 1995 through 1998, the health system doubled in size. One of the most ambitious initiatives in its history was launched in 2007 with Bon Secours ConnectCare (TM), which will change the way the hospital delivers patient care.

According to the press release, as Bon Secours celebrates its 25th anniversary, it has become a $2.4 billion, not-for-profit Catholic health system that owns, manages, or joint ventures 18 acute-care facilities, one psychiatric hospital, five nursing-care facilities, five assisted-living facilities, and several home care and hospice programs, with more than 16,000 caregivers.