By Mary Alys Cherry
HCA-affiliated Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster has a new name – HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake.
Officials said the name was changed to better reflect the hospital’s affiliation with one of Houston’s most comprehensive healthcare systems. They gathered at the hospital with League City Mayor Pat Hallisey and officials representing Webster Mayor Donna Rogers to officially launch its new identity.
“Taking the HCA name signals our commitment to be held to the highest standards in the industry,” said Todd Caliva, chief executive officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, who also announced upcoming improvements to the hospital, including new VIP labor and delivery suites, a facelift to the women’s services department, major construction to the Emergency Department entrance, two new operating rooms, a major cath lab expansion, and a significant bed expansion.
Actually, it is the third name change for the medical facility. It started out life as Clear Lake Hospital, but later became known as Humana Hospital-Clear Lake and then as Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.
Fay Dudney, wife of the late Dr. Ned Dudney of League City, who helped turn a dream into a reality, remembered how it all happened when she talked with us back in 2012 as the hospital was celebrating its 40th anniversary.
“Dr. Larry Chapman (who died Dec. 2, 2018) came over from Seabrook to see us, and when he walked in, he said, ‘Ned, I want you to help me build a hospital here in our area.’”
Dudney, who had to put patients in hospitals long distances from their homes, immediately liked the idea, and “soon we sought out physicians all over the area,” Dr. Chapman said as he thought back to those heady days.
Joined by the late Dr. Joe Symon of Friendswood, “the three of us pursued things pretty hard, and before long some 18 to 20 doctors practicing at Bayshore Hospital in Pasadena gave us their blessings. And, their financial backing,” Dr. Chapman recalled.
The group bought a 70-acre tract bounded by State Highway 3 and Texas Avenue in Webster, and on George Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22, 1970, a crowd of 500 gathered for the groundbreaking of the $4.2 million hospital, which opened with 150 beds, but designed to hold 600 beds.
A crowd of 3,000 was on hand Sunday, March 12, 1972 for the dedication and opening of Clear Lake Hospital, as it was originally named. But over the years it has grown so much it is barely recognizable in early photographs. A new emergency room was added in 2003, and its $55 million Heart & Vascular Hospital was built across the street in 2007, then expanded in 2010 with a $17 million, 72-room addition that included a pharmacy and dialysis unit.
The hospital grew even larger in 2012 with a $92 million expansion that included a 154,000- square-foot Patient Tower with a 30-bed Intensive Care Unit and a wide range of innovations.
Every year, HCA Houston Healthcare provides care for more than one million hospital patients, more than 450,000 emergency room patients and delivers one in four births in Houston. It currently has more than 16,000 employees, including 6,900 nurses. And, now a new name.