Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility’s history started in 1868 when the Antrim County Board of Supervisors appointed a committee to look for land to use as a Poor Farm. This led to a purchase of 90 acres in Torch Lake Township in 1869. From 1871 through 1876 the County Poor Farm was located in Torch Lake Township. In 1889 the County Poor farm was moved to our present location in Kearney Township, south of Bellaire off M-88.
The County built a two story wooden structure and allocated a small amount of money to cover clothing and linen expenses. Some of the reasons for the admissions were old age, poverty, sickness and blindness. Orphans were housed at the County Poor Farm and there is an entry of a woman and her children who stayed at the poor farm while her husband was in jail. At that time the residents of the Poor Farm had to be self-sufficient. They raised their own vegetables and meat on the premises. All who were able worked for the good of the community.
In 1902 a barn was placed on the property for livestock. The building housing residents burned completely to the ground in June 1926, and the residents were temporarily moved to the Forest Home Township Hall. Late in 1926 the Board of Supervisors contracted to build a new home to house up to 35 residents at a cost of $39,496.00. This building was completed in 1927.
In 1939 the State of Michigan passed Public Act 280 that changed the direction from a Poor Farm to an infirmary to provide medical and nursing care to the needy. It operated until 1948. Then the County moved into acute care, and the Poor Farm was renamed Meadow Brook Hospital. The hospital had one floor for emergency services; obstetrics and general care for an adult population with chronic illnesses. The second floor of the hospital housed the caregivers. At that time the medical community was made up of Dr. Rodgers and Dr. Glenny from Bellaire, Dr. Sealey from Central Lake, Dr. Gingrich and Dr. Krippen from Mancelona. The nursing staff consisted of one nurse and one nursing assistant on each shift for a 24-hour period.
The hospital continued to raise poultry and livestock on the property until 1957. In 1958, the second floor was expanded for more patient services at a cost of $412,000. The third floor was added in 1962 to increase the resident population total to 69, at a cost of $116,000.00. In 1964 the Obstetric Department of Meadow Brook Hospital was closed. During the time the hospital was open, a total of 1,627 babies were born in the facility.
Dr. Rodgers, Medical Director and Mrs. LaVerne Sheneman, Administrator approached the County Commissioners regarding the provision of care for the elderly residents of Antrim County. The County Commissioners made a decision to close the hospital and build a long-term care nursing facility owned and operated by Antrim County. In 1968, a 50-bed unit along with a freestanding waste management system was built for a cost of $700,000.00. In 1969, the Mancelona Rotary donated funds for a trout pond adjacent to the Meadow Brook Hospital Structure. In 1978, Dr. Rodgers retired at the age of 73 and Dr. Bills became the Medical Director.
In 1982, two new nursing units were added bringing the total bed capacity to 113. All residents who were housed in Meadow Brook Hospital were moved into the new building. The cost for these additions was $2,481,000.00. In 1983, the hospital was remodeled to become Meadow View Apartments with 21 apartments for seniors for a total cost of $754,000.00.
At the present time Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility provides over 40,000 days per year of resident services with a capacity of 133 residents. We are certified by the Federal Government to provide services under the Medicare program and licensed by the State of Michigan to provide services through the Medicaid program. Medicare and Medicaid funds provide 85% of our revenue. Our admissions average between 100 and 160 a year. Between 1968 and 2001, Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility was self-supporting for all operational costs.
In 2001, Antrim County taxpayers approved an Operational Millage .75 of a mill ($892,000.00) to offset operational loses caused by increasing expenses and only limited revenue increases by Medicare and Medicaid. Meadow Brook accepts Medicare, Medicaid and Private Pay programs with Medicaid providing 78% of the coverage to residents. LaVerne Sheneman, RN was the facility Administrator from 1949 until she retired in 1990. Judy Martin, RN was the Administrator from 1990 to 2005. Marna Robertson, NHA is the current Administrator. Meadow Brook employs about 200 staff with a majority in the nursing department.
Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility is owned and operated by the residents of Antrim County under the direction of the Antrim County Human Services Board, Governing Board of Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility. Our present board membership is:
Chairman – Fred Harris, Bellaire
Vice Chairman – Melissa Zelenak, Central Lake
Member – Gary Muller, Bellaire
Secretary – Maureen Clore
Liaison – Bill Hefferan, Elk Rapids
The long-standing history of care through the Antrim County Poor Farm, Meadow Brook Hospital and now Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility shows dedication to individuals in need of care. We are pleased to continue along the same direction as our predecessors in providing a high level of care and services to our residents and look forward to many years of future service.