Riverside County was founded in 1893 and its hospital opened the same year, admitting its first patient on July 26, 1893. In 1896, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors moved the hospital to San Jacinto. Shortly after that, in 1898, the hospital burned to the ground and was temporarily relocated to downtown San Jacinto while the original San Jacinto site was rebuilt. On December 25, 1899, an earthquake destroyed the newly built brick hospital and patients were relocated to the Arlington Hotel in downtown Riverside.
In the early 1900s a new all-wood hospital was built at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Harrison Street in Riverside. Over the next few years, several smaller buildings were added to the hospital campus. A nurse training school was added in 1908. Hospital physicians and the head nurse worked as instructors, at no additional cost to the hospital. In 1910, the hospital census reflected 50 patients, with a staffof 12. While the influenza epidemic swept through Riverside in 1918, the hospital set a record of 115 patients in just one day, on November 1st.
The Great Depression hit the country hard; tax revenue dropped and patient load skyrocketed. Federal Work Progress Administration funds enabled Riverside County to add some much needed larger buildings for the hospital. The National Youth Administration began training nurses in 1939.
The defense buildup during World War II created a nurse shortage in 1940 and 1941. At the same time, the polio rate shot up.
In 1950 the Board of Supervisors adopted a new name for the hospital: General Hospital of Riverside County. The intern training program began the same year. In 1958 and 1959, more buildings were added to the hospital campus, funded by a County general obligation bond measure. The hospital’s Auxiliary was founded in 1958, and “Candy Stripers” in 1959.
Another building began construction in 1960, to replace the old wood building built in 1900. The wood building was demolished. In 1961, the hospital was renamed once again, to Riverside County General Hospital. The facility became a teaching hospital linked to Loma Linda University in 1963, and the Board of Supervisors voted to change the hospital name to Riverside General Hospital/University Medical Center in 1966.
The first computer was installed at the hospital in 1970. Another new building with operating rooms, an emergency room, and clinic space was finished in 1971. A new chapel was dedicated in 1973, and in 1979, new fire doors were installed throughout the entire hospital – a major safety improvement.
Hospital employees began wearing new identification badges with photos in 1982. A fire on the third floor in 1986 led to new policy; smoking was banned throughout the facility. Population growth in Riverside County and a steady increase in patient census necessitated planning for a new, larger facility. In 1989, Moreno Valley was chosen as the site for a new county hospital.
Mental health units shifted off-site in 1990, and several departments moved to make better use of space. The Landers earthquake in 1992 rendered some hospital buildings structurally unsafe, and design of the new facility in Moreno Valley began. On March 31, 1998, the hospital moved to its new, state-of-the-art facility in Moreno Valley. A new name was adopted: Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC).
The 21st Century
In August 2004, Riverside County leased a newly built “Annex,” located across campus from RCRMC. Several non-patient care departments moved to the Annex to make room for expansion and additional patient care services at RCRMC. In 2015, RCRMC became Riverside University Health System - Medical Center, a central part of the newly-created Riverside University Health System, which also includes RUHS - Behavioral Health and RUHS - Public Health, as well as 10 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) throughout Riverside County.
Today, Riverside University Health System - Medical Center continues to strive to provide quality healthcare to all County residents, with cutting edge technology and services. We are committed to providing excellent medical education and training for the health care professionals of tomorrow.