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About Tanner

Tanner Health System History

A history of excellent health care

C.M. Tanner

In 1949, a visionary group of physicians and community leaders came together to establish Tanner Memorial Hospital. The hospital was named in memory of the late wife and the late mother of Carrollton businessman C.M. Tanner, who gave $75,000 towards the hospital’s construction.

The remaining funds to build the hospital were raised by the community and through the federal Hill-Burton Act. While Tanner Memorial Hospital was the first in the state to be constructed with Hill-Burton funds, other regional hospitals – including Villa Rica City Hospital and Higgins General Hospital – would also receive federal funds through the Hill-Burton Act.

In 1985, with the blessing of the Tanner family, Tanner Memorial Hospital officially changed its name to Tanner Medical Center, reflecting the facility’s new role as a regional healthcare provider. A sign of the changing times continued with the demolition of the original Tanner Memorial Hospital, which made way for a new five-story addition to the facility. Later that year, Villa Rica City Hospital affiliated with Tanner, enabling Tanner to extend a wide range of services to the Villa Rica area.

Tanner Memorial Hospital

In 1988, Tanner underwent a change of governance as the City-County Hospital Authority that had so carefully overseen the organization’s growth since its inception turned the reins over to a new Tanner Medical Center, Inc. Board of Directors. That board continues the stewardship established by the organization’s earliest leaders.

With services in Carrollton and Villa Rica, Tanner continued to grow for another decade, adding the Tanner Radiation Center – now the Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center, named in honor of the first chairman of the City-County Hospital Authority – and many other services. In 1997, with two hospitals and a growing line of inpatient and outpatient services, Tanner Medical Center adopted a name more reflective of its role in the community: Tanner Health System.

The next year, in 1998, Higgins General Hospital affiliated with Tanner. The affiliation expanded the range of services the hospital was able to provide. Tanner invested substantially in the facility to expand its emergency department and surgical services and to construct a new medical office building adjacent to the hospital to house the many new specialties the hospital could offer.

In October 2003, Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica moved patients from the original hospital facility that opened in the early 1950s to a new, 40-bed hospital built just across the street. The former Villa Rica City Hospital facility was demolished in 2007.

In March 2009, Willowbrooke at Tanner opened in Villa Rica. Willowbrooke at Tanner was the first new inpatient behavioral health facility built in Georgia in at least 20 years, with beds for adults, elder adults, children and adolescents.

In November 2017, Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama opened in Wedowee, Ala. Tanner consider's this to be the community's hospital. In August 2015, Randolph County voters turned out for a special referendum on a 1 percent sales tax to fund a replacement facility for Wedowee Hospital. The referendum to build a new hospital in Randolph County received wide support among those voters, with 86 percent of voters supporting the new hospital. Officials broke ground on the facility in May 2016Local leaders chose to partner with Tanner Health System to equip, staff and operate the new facility.

More than 60 years after Tanner Memorial Hospital opened, Tanner Health System offers a complete continuum of care to the residents of west Georgia and east Alabama. With more than 25 physician practices in Tanner Medical Group, world-class cancer and cardiac care, maternity services, a robust behavioral health program, home health and hospice care, surgical services, occupational health and more, Tanner continues in its mission to be this region’s healthcare provider of choice.

To learn more, watch the video on the About Tanner Health System page.

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