In 1894, five local physicians each contributed $500 and began looking for af future hospital site to serve McLean County, Illinois' ever-growing population. An ideal spot was finally located on eight acres midway between the towns of Bloomington and Normal.
"Deaconess Hospital" officially opened May 8, 1896. Within two years the hospital outgrew its capacity and a second building was begun. In 1901, Abram Brokaw, a wealthy plowmaker, made a sizable contribution of $10,000 and the hospital name was changed to Brokaw Hospital in his family's honor. A Brokaw Hospital nursing school was also established.
In 1901, Dr. J.W. Wyatt purchased a large two-story home in the small Woodford County town of Eureka and remodeled it for use as his practice and residence. Dr. Robert Smith bought the house in 1914 and converted it into Eureka Hospital by closing in the open porches, thus creating patient rooms on the second floor.
In January 1919, several Mennonite Church leaders proposed a plan to establish another hospital and training school in Bloomington through the united work of all the Mennonite churches of central Illinois. They purchased property in Bloomington for $10,000.
Within the first year, the Mennonite facility had become overcrowded, so Kelso Sanitarium at 807 North Main Street was purchased, including the Kelso Training School. The sanitarium was renamed Mennonite Hospital, with the training school eventually becoming Mennonite School (later College) of Nursing.
Over the years, the hospitals were courageous pioneers. Brokaw was the first hospital in the area to have a CT scanner, a hospital-based chemical dependence unit, psychiatric care, cardiac rehabilitation, neurosurgery, birthing rooms and a separate pediatric unit.
Mennonite Hospital introduced corneal transplants, hospital-based long term care, hospice, adult day care, wellness programs, home health services, pastoral education and counseling to the area.
The Mennonite Health Care Association bought Eureka Hospital in 1978. As the only hospital in Woodford County, Eureka Hospital had added a new building to the original house in 1961 and benefited even more from its affiliation with Mennonite. Its name changed to Eureka Community Hospital in 1984.
With such innovation in common, it was only natural that all three hospitals would eventually come together. In July 1984, the hospitals proudly unveiled BroMenn Healthcare, a new health care system that combined the resources of all.
After a major expansion in 1991, Brokaw Hospital became BroMenn Regional Medical Center, one of the most advanced medical centers in central Illinois. Eureka Community Hospital had major expansions in 1986 and 1994, becoming a sterling example of a modern rural community hospital. Mennonite was renamed BroMenn Lifecare Center, and functioned from 1991-98 as a unique facility with services dedicated to enhancing quality of life. The Mennonite Hospital building was vacated and sold in the late '90s. Mennonite College of Nursing left the BroMenn system and became Illinois State University's sixth academic college in 1999 (Brokaw's nursing school had become part of Illinois Wesleyan University in 1962).
In 1995, BroMenn Medical Group was developed, consisting of primary care medical clinics in five communities and some specialty practices.
BroMenn became a teaching hospital in 2002, with the launch of a neurosurgery residency program. A family medicine residency program was added in 2004. The residency programs are affiliates with Midwestern University and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The medical center expanded again in 2003 to create the BroMenn Heart Center, adding a new cardiovascular care unit and enlarging and consolidating existing heart care services into the same area of the building. The emergency department more than doubled in size, and a women's imaging center was added as well.
Then, in 2010, the BroMenn system took a major step forward by merging with Oak Brook, IL-based Advocate Health Care, the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest in all the Midwest. Advocate is one of the nation's top ten health systems based on clinical performance and operates more than 250 sites of care, including 10 acute care hospitals, one children's hospital with two campuses, one of the area's largest home health care companies and one of the region's largest medical groups.
After this merger, BroMenn Regional Medical Center became Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Eureka Community Hospital was renamed Advocate Eureka Hospital. The physician practices of BroMenn Medical Group became part of Advocate Medical Group, one of the region's largest networks of primary care and specialty practices. BroMenn's graduate medical education programs continue with Advocate, which trains more than 2,000 residents, medical students and fellows at three other teaching hospitals.
In 2012, the Advocate BroMenn Medical Center building opened a new 136,000 sq. ft. addition to replace older areas of the hospital. The new building houses state-of-the-art obstetrics, intensive care and progressive care units. That same year, BroMenn opened the Advocate BroMenn Outpatient Center, a new, 84,000 sq. ft. facility located on the east side of Bloomington. The center houses outpatient therapy and radiology services, as well as immediate care, occupational medicine and other primary and specialty care physician practices.