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San Angelo Community Medical Center and the Tradition of Excellent Care

San Angelo Community Medical Center and the Tradition of Excellent Care

Another hospital began in downtown San Angelo in the 1920s that launched a tradition of growing, adapting and expanding healthcare services for residents of the Concho Valley at San Angelo Community Medical Center.

Following the sale of the San Angelo Physicians and Surgeons Hospital (later the San Angelo Hospital and eventually Shannon Medical Center) to the Concho Valley Missionary Baptist Association in 1929, former railroad surgeon Dr. H.P. Rush founded the San Angelo Medical and Surgical Clinic further down Harris Avenue with fellow physicians Dr. Schulkey and Dr. Wall. The Clinic hospital opened in June on East Harris Avenue with a staff of 9 physicians.

Although the smallest hospital in San Angelo, the Medical and Surgical Clinic maintained an active role in the Concho Valley community and often worked in conjunction with other area hospitals. In response to the polio epidemic in San Angelo in 1949, the hospital partnered with Shannon West Texas Memorial Hospital (now Shannon Medical Center) and the San Angelo school district to offer a practical nursing or “nurse’s aide” program at the Shannon School of Nursing. Student nurses were able to earn a practical nurse’s license in 12 months and were guaranteed a starting salary of $125 per month at either partner hospital after graduation.

By 1959, the staff had expanded to include 12 physicians and surgeons. Many of these physicians also practiced nearby in the Angelo Clinic, including beloved local pediatrician Dr. Ralph Chase. The hospital was sold to the Clinic-Hospital Association (a not-for-profit organization) in 1970 and officially became known as the Clinic-Hospital, as it was known colloquially for years prior.

In 1973, a municipal bond was approved in Tom Green County to fund the construction of a newer, more modern facility for the Clinic-Hospital. Following several years of construction, the renamed Angelo Community Hospital opened in 1977. This new facility was built on 10-15 acres of lease land from Angelo State University on Knickerbocker Road and included the hospital. The 125-bed hospital boasted a 24-hour emergency department and specialty surgery spaces.

A physician’s group known as West Texas Medical Associates also opened a newly constructed medical office building around the same time. Angelo Community Hospital was purchased by private healthcare company Columbia-HCA in 1995 and renamed to San Angelo Community Medical Center.

This sale generated a profit of $44 million, which was then used to establish the San Angelo Health Foundation – an organization that has awarded over $65 million in funding grants for community health projects involving healthcare, elder care, education, emergency response and philanthropic services “to enhance the quality of life for the people of the San Angelo area.” San Angelo organizations who have received grant funding include the San Angelo Safe Kids Coalition, San Angelo State School Volunteer Services Council, MOSAIC, Sonrisas Therapeutic Riding, Boys & Girls Club of San Angelo, Howard College, Angelo State University and the Concho Valley Home for Girls, among others. The San Angelo Health Foundation also helped to launch the San Angelo Area Foundation in 2002.

From 2004 to 2007, another physician group, Community Medical Associates, also constructed three clinical office spaces along Executive Drive. These offices housed practicing physicians, dentists and a children’s psychologist office.

Hospital ownership was later transferred to Triad Hospitals, Inc. and the company became a subsidiary of Community Health Systems in 2007.

Shannon Medical Center acquired SACMC in 2020, and the facilities became part of the Shannon South Campus. Previous West Texas Medical Associates and Community Medical Associates offices became the Shannon South Medical Office Building, the Shannon South Surgery Center, and Shannon Clinic – South 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The partnership between two hospitals has since allowed for the expansion of healthcare access across San Angelo and the Concho Valley.

Shannon South hospital (3501 Knickerbocker Rd) currently houses emergency medicine, imaging services and wound care. Shannon South Medical Office Building (3605 Executive Drive) currently houses dermatology, interventional pain medicine, the Laser Eye Center, ophthalmology and retina surgery.

Shannon would like to thank the administrators and staff of the Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection at the Mayer Museum at Angelo State University for their assistance in creating this series of historical blog posts. Learn more about the West Texas Collection at