Since 1979, our hospital has offered the Big Bend community a wide range of healthcare services and has changed and grown a lot over the last 40 years.
A hospital's history begins long before the first shovel of dirt is turned. HCA Florida Capital Regional Hospital's history started in 1974 when Tallahassee native Jim Tully envisioned a new hospital on an undeveloped area "way out" on Capital Circle.
Jim Tully was a fourth-generation Tallahassean. His father died when he was just five, and his mother struggled to provide for him and his seven siblings. She worked as a juvenile officer for Leon County and often had additional children in the home who needed help. As a young man, Tully joined the military and fought in the Korean War. He returned to Tallahassee in 1952 as a decorated veteran, having received the Bronze Star for his service. He enrolled at Florida State University and graduated in 1955 with a degree in accounting and business administration. It was during his days as a student at FSU that Tully met his wife, Elaine. She grew up in the Panhandle and attended the university on a scholarship. They would eventually marry and have three daughters, Katie Tully, Lynn Tully Salmon and Terri Tully Cruz.
While attending college, Tully worked for a prominent real estate firm. After graduation, he started a new firm, Symon, Tully & Booth, which evolved into the partnership of Crossland Realty with Jack Buford in 1971. At the same time, he launched another firm, Tallavana Properties, based in Gadsden County. He was known as a pioneer in commercial real estate for the area and is credited for developing many ventures such as shopping centers, gas stations and other businesses in the growing county.
Elaine Tully Woodward remembers her first husband as a man who was driven to get things done. "He would get up every morning at 5:00am and sit with his coffee and a yellow legal pad, making a list of the things he wanted to accomplish that day. He would begin with the date, time and temperature that day. After he died, the office called and said they had stacks of the yellow pads with his notes in the office."
Tully's goal-oriented approach to life served the community well. He was deeply involved in many businesses and organizations, serving as President of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors and Director of the People's Bank board. He helped form the Southern Bank of Tallahassee (now Bank of America) and acted as President of Textron Petroleum Company, which located gas stations for several oil companies throughout the state of Florida. He started and served as President of Capital Security Company, the firm that would later develop the hospital.
"He just had an eye for where certain businesses could go and be successful," said Elaine. "And he had a drive to do bigger and bigger things. There was this property available on Capital Circle. I remember driving out there with him, and there was hardly anything on Capital Circle back then." Tully could see large parcels of land being put together for a special purpose that would benefit the community.
In the early 1970s, there was one hospital in Tallahassee. Tully had friends who were physicians who shared with him their growing concerns about the lack of access to medical care. They told him that, at times, they had to wait 30 days to get access to the operating room for scheduled surgeries. Their patients were leaving the community, traveling to Atlanta, Gainesville and other cities for care. They wanted options. Tully, six doctors and a few other local businessmen formed a committee, the Capital Medical Center (CMC) Group, and launched a battle that would result in the development of a new hospital.
The CMC Group included Dr. Fred Lindsey, Dr. Charles Harvey, Dr. E.G. Haskell, Jr., Dr. Donald Hansard, Dr. William Hutchison, Dr. Robert Webster, Ben Tucker, Ernest Daffin, Fred Drake, Jr., Carl Pennington and Tully.
"There continued to be strong opposition to building a second hospital in this area, but Jim saw the need, and along with a group of doctors who spoke before the state board, they were able to get approval to break ground," said Elaine. "Anything he did, he did well. When he took something on, he was tenacious."
In 1974, Jim Tully started the fight for a new hospital. In 1977, he began a different kind of battle. He was diagnosed with throat cancer the same year the state finally granted the Certificate of Need (CON) for what has now become HCA Florida Capital Hospital. Elaine remembers him walking the paths around another hospital near Shands in Gainesville, where he was receiving treatment, to get ideas for the Tallahassee facility.
"He was thrilled when the CON was granted, but he was ill by then," said Elaine. "He was given a rendering of what the hospital would look like. He would be so happy today to see what it has become." Jim Tully died in 1978, at the age of 50, one year before the hospital opened its doors.
Tully's legacy lives on in a facility that continues to grow and bring new healthcare solutions to the region. CMC began serving patients in the fall of 1979. The following year, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) purchased its parent company and, in 1982, CMC became HCA Tallahassee Community Hospital (TCH). Elaine Tully Woodward keeps a bumper sticker from that name change. "I remember there was an event at the hospital and they were giving these out. It says 'Old Friends with a New Name'."
Throughout the 1980s, TCH introduced new services and technology, including a computed tomography (CT) scanner, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a new cardiac catheterization lab and the opening of The Family Center. In 1985, it was granted another CON, this time to expand and renovate the hospital. The $11 million project was completed and approved by the state in 1988. Then, in 1989, TCH launched its open-heart surgery program, a significant expansion of lifesaving heart care in the community.
The 1990s were no less important to the development of the hospital and the community. The Family Center began offering labor and delivery services. The new cardiac surgery intensive care unit (CSICU) opened, and two years later, the hospital opened a new ICU, adding nine critical-care beds. A new, 12-patient hyperbaric oxygen chamber was installed to improve wound care treatment. The mammography suite was upgraded with new, state-of-the-art equipment and ensured better access for primary care with offices in Crawfordville, Perry and Madison, Florida. TCH began outreach activities that included a mall-walking program and a nationally based program, Senior Friends, to promote wellness and healthy living.
In 1996, TCH performed its 1,000th open-heart surgery, and a year later, began performing an alternative to open-heart surgery, off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB). The hospital began a $1.1 million expansion of its emergency room, which by its opening in 1998, more than tripled its size and doubled the number of treatment areas. By the year 2000, the hospital had opened a new progressive care unit and an 18-bed orthopedic/neurology unit.
With all of the growth in medical services, TCH announced it would build a new, $100 million replacement hospital to be completed by 2003. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility was held on October 25, 2001, and a topping-out ceremony, during which the last beam of steel was placed into the structure, was held in May 2002. It opened in 2003 as Capital Regional Medical Center (recently rebranded as HCA Florida Capital Hospital) and continues carrying on the tradition of high-quality, expanded medical care that Jim Tully envisioned nearly forty years ago.
"Jim did not live to see his dream fulfilled," said Elaine, "but this structure and his life stands as a testament to his dream."
A history of progress in healthcare for Tallahassee
- September 1979: Capital Medical Center opens.
- September 1980: HCA purchases General Care Corporation.
- January 1982: Capital Medical Center becomes HCA Tallahassee Community Hospital.
- June 1982: TCH introduces CT scan service.
- February 1984: TCH opens The Family Center.
- June 1985: HRS grants TCH a Certificate of Need to expand and renovate the facility.
- July 1986: TCH opens a cardiac catheterization lab.
- October 1986: TCH breaks ground for an $11 million expansion and renovation project.
- November 1988: HRS issues final approval for TCH's renovated and expanded physical plant.
- January 1989: TCH introduces a hyperbaric oxygen therapy program.
- April 1989: HRS issues final approval for TCH's open-heart surgical program, and the first patient is accepted.
- March 1990: The Family Center at TCH begins to provide labor-and-delivery services for women in the Tri-County area.
- November 1990: TCH opens the cardiac surgery intensive care unit (CSICU).
- February 1993: TCH opens the "Walkabout" mall-walking program in conjunction with the Tallahassee Mall, offering a full exercise program for community residents.
- July 1993: TCH opens a new ICU, adding nine critical-care beds in a newly constructed unit at the front of the hospital.
- October 1994: TCH expands hyperbaric medical service with a new hyperbaric oxygen chamber that accommodates 12 patients.
- March 1995: TCH acquires a primary care practice in Crawfordville, Florida. TCH introduces and sponsors a chapter of Senior Friends, a National Association in conjunction with HCA, with a mission to promote and encourage better health for mature Americans.
- June 1995: TCH upgrades the mammography suite with General Electric Sonography DMR equipment.
- March 1996: TCH introduces a wound treatment center, providing treatment for non-healing wounds, diabetic ulcers and wounds caused by poor circulation.
- April 1996: TCH announces the milestone of the 1,000th open-heart surgery patient. The program has developed a strong relationship with Mended Hearts, a community-based support group for heart patients.
- April 1997: TCH surgeons begin performing an alternative to open-heart surgery, off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB).
- July 1997: TCH operates primary care practices in nearby outlying areas.
- September 1997: TCH begins a $1.1 million renovation and expansion of the emergency room.
- November 1997: TCH opens Seniors First, a comprehensive, outpatient healthcare center for patients on Medicare.
- February 1998: TCH announces the milestone of its 10,000th cardiac catheterization procedure performed in the cath lab.
- March 1998: Newly renovated and expanded emergency department opens, nearly tripling in size and doubling its number of treatment areas.
- June 1999: TCH opens a conference center adjacent to the hospital for community health education seminars, meetings and related events.
- August 1999: New outpatient heart catheterization lab is opened.
- May 2000: TCH opens a progressive care unit (PCU).
- November 2000: TCH announces a new $100 million replacement hospital to be built by 2003.
- June 2001: TCH opens an 18-bed ortho/neuro unit.
- August 2001: TCH opens an ExpressCare division of the emergency department to treat minor injuries and illnesses quickly.
- October 2001: Groundbreaking ceremony held on October 25, 2001, for the new facility.
- May 2002: TCH held a topping-out ceremony in which the last beam of steel was placed into the new facility's structure.
- 2003: New facility opens as Capital Regional Medical Center.
- 2013: Capital Regional Medical Center announces the completion of a two-floor expansion, adding an additional 44 private beds.
- 2015: Capital Regional Medical Center announces the completion of a $3.75 million expansion of the Behavioral Health Center that includes a 24-bed, 14,000 sq. ft. adult psychiatric inpatient unit.
- 2016: Capital Regional Medical Center announces the completion of a $1.4 million physician practice (Capital Regional Medical Care), located in Bannerman Crossings in North Tallahassee.
- 2016: Capital Regional Medical Center Behavioral Health Center opens Outpatient Services to provide additional psychiatric services to adults in the area.
- 2017: Capital Regional Medical Center announces plans to expand access to emergency care in southeast and northwest Leon County with the opening of two freestanding emergency rooms in 2019.
- 2019: Capital Regional Medical Center opened the Southwood ER.
- 2020: Capital Regional Medical Center opened the Lake Jackson ER.
- 2021: Capital Regional Medical Center rebranded as HCA Florida Capital Hospital and broke ground on a $23 million Inpatient Rehabilitation Center.