Residents of Hot Springs, South Dakota and the surrounding communities have had access to health care since 1917 when Dr. Perry Nichols built a cancer center on the hills overlooking the town. Over time, the cancer center was transitioned into an acute-care hospital and was eventually sold to Lutheran Health Services which opened Southern Hills General Hospital in 1967. In 1998, Lutheran Health Services (now Banner Health) elected to close the Southern Hills General Hospital leaving the community and surrounding area with no emergency or other hospital services within a 45-mile radius. For the next year, the community maintained a 24-hour emergency clinic at the State Veterans home in Hot Springs. Later, when Banner Health announced plans to discontinue the remaining outpatient services and the assisted living and nursing home facilities, the community rallied to save the facility. A newly reorganized 501(c)(3) not-for profit corporation was used to conduct fund raisers within the community and purchase the Southern Hills General Hospital.
In the spring of 2001, the facility was able to secure the necessary documentation to become a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and, on June 21, 2001, Fall River Hospital opened. The facility's designation as a CAH was significant in its ability to reopen its hospital services and continues to be significant for its long-term future. The facility currently operates as Fall River Health Services.
Due to the age and physical condition of the building that FRHS was originally operating out of, FRHS' Board and management determined a replacement facility was necessary. Construction of the replacement facility began during calendar year 2008 and FRHS moved its operations, excluding nursing home services, into the replacement facility on March 29, 2010. FRHS consisted of 25 acute care beds, a physician's outpatient clinic, and various other ancillary departments housed in a 47,000 square foot building. The financing to build the hospital replacement facility was provided under the HUD 241 and 242 loan insurance programs.
At the time the hospital was built in 2010, it was not financially feasible to build a new nursing home. It was determined the existing nursing home services, along with the old building and other nursing home assets, would be transferred into another not-for-profit corporation, Community Health and Development Inc. (CHAD) D/B/A Castle Manor. It had always been the vision and dream of the Board of Directors however, to co-locate nursing home services with the hospital. In 2012, this dream was realized when William Cox, the individual responsible for donating the original 11.85 acres the facility currently resides on, donated 20 acres of land located adjacent to FRHS' campus. In December of 2014, FRHS opened a new 48 bed Seven Sisters Living Center for the residents of Fall River County and the surrounding areas.
Most currently, FRHS has been approved to add 11 more licensed, skilled care, nursing beds to Seven Sisters Living Center. The construction project is slated for the year 2018.