The history of McLaren Health Care dates back to 1914, when Lucy M. Elliot, M.D., and Lillian Girard, R.N., established a 10-bed hospital at 808 Harrison Street in Flint, Michigan.  The facility, originally established as a private hospital, reorganized and incorporated in 1919 as the Women’s Hospital Association, a community non-profit hospital. Later in 1919, with funding assistance form various civic groups, the Association acquired a six-acre site at 1900 Lapeer Street. The brick residence on that site was converted to accommodate 29 patient beds and was named the Women’s Hospital.

In 1929, a wing was added to the structure to increase bed capacity to 40. During the years that followed, Flint experienced a shortage of hospital beds emphasizing the necessity of a newer and larger hospital facility.

In 1943, a fund raising campaign brought in a million dollars from the community for a new facility. However, due to the shortage of materials during the war, construction was delayed. When the war ended and the materials again became available, a second fund raising campaign raised another million dollars. Construction of the present facility on Ballenger Highway began in July of 1949.

The new structure opened in October 1951, expanding the hospital’s capacity to 243 beds. The hospital was named McLaren General Hospital, after Margaret E. McLaren, R.N., who served as the Superintendent of the Women’s Hospital for 28 years.

From 1968 to 1972, the South Building was erected and opened, bringing the number of beds to 436.
The late 1970s witnessed further expansion of both building and parking structures. In response to increased need for outpatient rehabilitation, two suburban satellite facilities were established. McLaren implemented major changes in the decade of the 80s in both physical plant and organizational aspects. A $36 million renovation and expansion program began with a ground breaking in 1982. New administrative offices, operating suites, the laboratory, heart catheterization facilities and materials management and central processing areas were included in the expansion. Renovation of the Emergency Department, Radiology Department, Outpatient Clinic, and physician offices were completed as well. In 1986, the McLaren Women’s Center was opened in Flint Township. The psychiatric programs at McLaren were expanded in 1988 to include inpatient units for adolescents and older adults.

In February of 1989, the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Diagnostic Center of Michigan opened as a joint venture between McLaren Flint, Hurley Medical Center, Flint Osteopathic Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital. A second MRI was added in 1993.

Reorganization of the corporate structure under McLaren Health Care opened the decade of the 1990s. Corporate subsidiaries included McLaren General Hospital (renamed McLaren Flint in 1990), Women’s Hospital Association, and McLaren Services Corporation (including Visiting Nurse Services of Michigan, McLaren Extended Care, and McGenco.)

The addition of Lapeer Hospital as a corporate subsidiary in 1992 and Lapeer Area Hospice (renamed McLaren Hospice Service) in 1993 broadened the regional scope of the health care system. A $50 million expansion to McLaren Flint, which included a 12-story patient care tower, opened in 1993. In 1995, the corporation took a further step toward enlarging the regional scope of the health care system by developing Family Care Centers in West Branch, Houghton Lake, Fairview, Rose City, and Rifle River. This gave the corporation a physical presence in eight mid-Michigan counties, with 50 ambulatory facilities in both primary and specialty care.

In 1995, an agreement was reached with Hurley Medical Center of Flint to collaborate in heart and pediatric services. Beginning January 1, 1996, McLaren began providing open heart and angioplasty services for Hurley’s heart patients, and Hurley began providing inpatient pediatric services for McLaren’s pediatric patients. Both medical centers retained outpatient services for these respective specialties.

MHC also entered into a joint venture with Community EMS, an ambulance company headquartered in Farmington, Michigan, to form Regional EMS.  As an affiliate of MHC, Regional EMS provides inter-facility transportation for the corporation as well as responds to emergency calls through the county dispatch system.

In an effort to unify management for a number of services performed outside of the inpatient setting, McLaren Medical Management, Inc. (MMMI), was established in October of 1996, as a non-profit subsidiary of McLaren Health Care. It is now known as McLaren Medical Group (MMG).  The for-profit affiliate, McGenco, Inc., was dissolved, as was its parent corporation, McLaren Services Corporation. Business units of MMG include family care centers, community medical centers, occupational health centers, urgent care centers, practice management, health care management, managed care, network development, home medical services, home nursing, hospice services, and Regional EMS.

In response to changing health care needs, a 19-bed McLaren Extended Care-Lapeer was opened at Lapeer Regional Hospital in March of 1997 and a 31-bed McLaren Extended Care-Lapeer was opened at McLaren Flint in April of 1997. 

In June of 1997, Michigan Capital Healthcare, a two-hospital health system in Lansing, Michigan, announced an agreement to affiliate with McLaren Health Care to form the largest integrated healthcare delivery system in mid-Michigan and the fifth largest in Michigan.  Michigan Capital Healthcare included Michigan Capital Medical Center, with a 483 acute beds and 49 sub-acute beds spread over two campuses; Michigan Capital Healthcare Foundation, Visiting Nurse Services, and a durable medical equipment company. Michigan Capital Healthcare was formed in 1992 by the merger of Lansing General Hospital and Ingham Medical Center.  Michigan Capital Medical Center changed its name back to McLaren Greater Lansing in September of 1997 in response to community support.  The Michigan Capital Foundation also changed its name to McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation in October of 1997.