Our History - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Our History

In 1959, PIH Health was founded as Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital out of a significant community need for improved healthcare. Support came from Hill-Burton act funds that followed WWII and the dedicated efforts of men and women in the community raising funds to build a local healthcare facility.

Today, PIH Health is a nonprofit, regional healthcare network with two hospitals, numerous outpatient neighborhood medical offices, hundreds of talented and compassionate physicians, home healthcare services and hospice care. Our entire staff and leadership dedicate themselves to putting patients first and delivering top-quality healthcare.

PIH Health serves more than 2.1 million residents in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

From the Beginning: Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital

California’s post-World War II population boom triggered widespread shortages of hospital beds. The few area hospitals originally built in the 1920s were stretched well beyond capacity and located too far away to effectively serve residents in the Whittier area. By the early 1950s, the need for an up-to-date hospital was apparent. Community leaders, doctors and local residents took up the cause of establishing an up-to-date hospital in the city. Augmented by federal funding, the local community financed construction of the 188-bed Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital (PIH) that opened its doors on January 11, 1959.

Immediate Demand for More

  • To meet demand just two years later, PIH added facilities for intensive care, long-term care and acute (inpatient) care. By 1969, the PIH Foundation was created to target and oversee the hospital’s growing development activities, trusts, endowments and public outreach programs. During the decade of the 1970s, PIH began adding a number of innovative medical services at the hospital and in the community, including the area’s first cardiac catheterization laboratory and coronary bypass operation and additional facilities for ambulatory care, rehabilitation services, preventative care and outpatient services.

Responding to Healthcare Complexities in the 1980s

The 1980s saw organizational changes and expansions as PIH responded to increasing complexity in the healthcare environment. The formation of an integrated healthcare delivery network under the auspices of InterHealth Corp., a nonprofit holding company, added many specialty services, and create a sort of “hospital without walls” for residents of Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, Montebello, La Mirada, Hacienda Heights, the City of Industry, La Habra and the greater San Gabriel Valley.

After the 1987 earthquake in Whittier, PIH tripled the treatment capacity of the Emergency Department, established the Pediatric Critical Care Unit, and built a high-tech Radiation Therapy Pavilion.

Continued Expansion to Deliver Excellent Care

Throughout the 1990s, PIH Health continued to expand its top-quality medical services and facilities and extended its expertise to medically underserved residents in the San Gabriel Valley area in 1992 by adopting a formal charity care policy and outreach efforts that included a Hospice House and mobile health services.

Leading the Way into the New Millennium

As the new century opened, PIH continued to lead the region in scientific breakthroughs and effective ways to meet evolving standards of quality patient care. New and updated facilities and services included a breast health center, oncology center, advanced technology in the cardiac catheterization lab, expanded neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), pediatric and adult hospitalist programs and two new patient care towers.

PIH Health: An Integrated Delivery System for Healthcare

In 2012, InterHealth Corp. aligned its’ integrated delivery system under one consolidated brand – PIH Health, that continues to provide high-quality healthcare and serve as our communities’ health and wellness partner.

Just a year later and with approval from the California Attorney General’s office — as well as the support of our community, employees, partners and physicians — Downey Regional Medical Center (DRMC) joined the PIH Health regional healthcare delivery network as PIH Health Hospital - Downey. As we continue to work together, our ongoing efforts remain focused on putting patients first and delivering exceptional, compassionate, high-quality healthcare to the more than two million residents of our communities.

Medical Groups Launch, Grow and Merge

Nationwide changes in medical care during the 1980s led to the formation of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs). These groups of doctors and other medical specialists took a more direct and consumer-oriented approach to the delivery and purchase of healthcare services.

At the time, PIH and its medical staff developed a PPO known as Whittier Professional Medical Group . By working together, everyone was better able to offer affordable services and stay up to date on the latest medical technologies, drugs and best practices for patient care. As HMOs became more prevalent, PIH sponsored the formation of an independent physicians association (IPA)—Whittier Regional Medical Group—which later changed its name to Bright Medical Associates.

PIH acquired the assets of a major medical group in the Downey area in 1993 to help strengthen its managed care contracting efforts and expand its marketshare.  This acquisition grew into a thriving IPA renamed Presbyterian Health Physicians in 2001.  In 2008, PHP acquired Bright Medical Associates and developed into a medical foundation with a wrap-around IPA, and the organization was renamed Bright Health Physicians of PIH.  By 2012, the organization had tripled in size and—as part of the branding effort—renamed itself PIH Health Physicians (PHP).  Other area physician groups also became part of the PIH family providing excellent, coordinated healthcare and services to Whittier and the surrounding communities.

Changing Names, Adding Facilities, Expanding Services

As a regional healthcare delivery network—known as an integrated delivery system (IDS), Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, Bright Health Physicians, and the other subsidiaries under InterHealth Corp. consolidated their brand in the fall of 2012 as PIH Health.  PIH Health provides the high-quality healthcare without discrimination our communities have come to expect. We put patients first and contribute to the well-being of our neighborhoods as their health and wellness partner.

Just one year later, Downey Regional Medical Center—with the approval of the California Attorney General’s office—became PIH Health Hospital - Downey, the second hospital in the PIH Health integrated healthcare delivery system. This new partnership helps our regional healthcare network continue to meet the expanding needs of the communities we serve in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the San Gabriel Valley.

Downey Regional Medical Center History

From its beginnings in 1920—with six beds and two doctors in rooms on the second floor of a former hotel on what is now Downey Avenue—the history of this hospital was filled with financial challenges and medical triumphs. Within two years of its opening, an explosion in the city showed the value of the hospital and the need for larger facilities. Two years later, a new 15-bed hospital opened on East 5th Street.

Ongoing Growth

During the early years of the 1930s, a group of five physicians purchased the hospital and renamed it Downey Community Hospital (DCH). Growth before and after World War II added operating rooms, modern X-ray equipment, maternity/obstetrics wards and the first emergency department with around-the-clock care. By 1956—the same year the city of Downey became incorporated—DCH reorganized as a nonprofit hospital with 49 beds.

Continued Demand for Services

In the mid-1960s, construction began on a new 152-bed facility at the current location on Brookshire Avenue. The day after opening in 1969, eight surgeries were performed. Within a week, the hospital was full. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, DCH continued the growth of facilities and services to meet the healthcare needs of the growing community.

Expanding Service Throughout the Area

Between 1990 and 2013, Downey Community Hospital acquired more resources and launched services.  And in 1999, Downey Community Hospital became Downey Regional Medical Center (DRMC), a total healthcare system that included a 199-bed hospital and DRMC Insurance Services. Downey Regional Medical Plaza opened in 2003.

A New Partnership

By 2012, DRMC emerged from financial reorganization and opened an advanced technology Catheterization Lab. Soon, a Management Services Agreement was signed between DRMC and PIH Health, which created an opportunity for greater collaboration between the two mission-based nonprofit organizations.

In the fall of 2013, Downey Regional Medical Center—with the approval of the California Attorney General’s office—became part of the PIH Health family as PIH Health Hospital - Downey. This new partnership helps our regional healthcare delivery network continue to meet the expanding needs of the communities we serve in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the San Gabriel Valley.

Contact Us

Ask about PIH Health and how we can help you and your family.

PIH Health Corporate Offices
12401 Washington Blvd.
Whittier, CA  90602
562.698.0811

TDD-TTY
562.696.9267