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History & Milestones

Last Updated Sunday, August 17, 2014 6:27:38 PM

In the beginning

In the mid-1950s, when orchards and fields in the Los Altos and Mountain View area were quickly turning into suburbs and commercial enclaves, a group of physicians and concerned citizens banded together to establish a much-needed community hospital. The few existing local hospitals were at capacity; hospitals to the north and south were badly overcrowded. The best and fairest way, they decided, was to form a hospital district and levy a tax so the cost would be shared among the population of the entire area. Voters approved the formation of the district in 1956 by a 12-to-1 margin. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors appointed a five-member board. Its first decision was the selection of a 20-acre orchard on Grant Road in Mountain View as the site for the new hospital. The name "El Camino Hospital" was also chosen. In 1957, voters approved a $7.3 million bond issue, again by a large margin, to finance the building and operation of the hospital.

Construction of the four-story hospital began in 1958. Overseeing the building was the hospital's first administrator R. Edwin Hawkins, who went on to lead the hospital for 25 years. "The building of El Camino Hospital was the biggest thing in town," the late Mr. Hawkins said in a 1999 interview. "People were willing to do anything to support the hospital. There was real electricity in the air."

Proof of this was the formation in 1958 of the El Camino Hospital Auxiliary with 1,000 members. This was three years before the hospital opened. The first medical staff, 21 members strong, was established in 1960. By 1961, all necessary preparations had been made and the hospital admitted its first patients on September 1, 1961.

Growth and progress

With the population in the area expanding, the hospital soon outgrew its original building, adding a fifth and sixth floor to the main building just a few years after opening. The hospital wouldn’t adopt the slogan “The Hospital of Silicon Valley until the late 1990s, but its identity with the valley’s innovative spirit and technology expertise started as early as 1971. In partnership with Lockheed, El Camino Hospital implemented the world's first computer-aided medical information system, drawing visitors from all over the world.

Continuing a steady pace of growth over the next decades, the hospital added an array of community need-based services, including an outpatient surgery center, family birthing center, emergency, radiology and intensive care facilities, a psychiatric unit, and senior resource center. During the hospital’s third decade in the community, the El Camino Hospital Foundation was established to raise charitable contributions in support of the hospital.

Expanding to serve more communities

In 2008, the hospital acquired the assets of the former Community Hospital of Los Gatos. The former owners closed the hospital in April 2009, but within 90 days, a fully renovated and staffed El Camino Hospital Los Gatos reopened that July. Located at 815 Pollard Road in Los Gatos, the 143-bed hospital continues to offer full service, acute care to residents of Los Gatos and surrounding communities, just as it had been doing since it first opened in 1962.

Since reopening, more than $19 million has been spent at the Los Gatos campus on seismic improvements as well as equipment and technology upgrades that include an electronic records system. Another $12 million was recently allocated to remodel and renovate patient care units.

A new hospital building in Mountain View

In 2006, after the second groundbreaking event in El Camino Hospital’s history, construction began on the Mountain View campus on the new seismically compliant main hospital building. Three years later, after a festive ribbon cutting and community day with more than 8,000 people taking tours of the new facilities, the new state-of-the-art hospital in Mountain View opened on November 15, 2009.

Our legacy

During its 50-plus year history, El Camino Hospital has become part of the fabric of the community, serving people of all ages, in times of sickness and in health, at life's beginnings and endings.

Visit our interactive timeline for a journey of historical highlights. In addition, below are more of milestones in the hospital’s history.


  • U.S. News & World Report nationally ranks El Camino Hospital for Gynecology and as one of the best hospitals for 2014-15 in the San Jose, California metropolitan area for Geriatrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery.
  • El Camino Hosptial adopts and embarks on implementing the Epic platform for electronic medical records.
  • Rich Katzman joins El Camino Hospital as Chief Strategy Officer.
  • Introduced the PulsePoint AED in Santa Clara County to help identify locations of AEDs for our county.
  • Received approval from the Board to fund a new expanded building for Behavioral Health Services.
  • El Camino Hospital and Palo Alto Medical Foundation send delegation to India to explore partnerships to improve community health.
  • Women's Hospital celebrated 20 years of service to the community.
  • Cardiac Pulmonary Wellness Center celebrated 20 years of service to the community.
  • Iftikar Hussain named Chief Financial Officer.
  • El Camino Hospital and Palo Alto Medical Foundation collaborated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Fellowship Program to be the first West Coast sites to offer interventional pulmonology fellowships for pulmonary fellows.
  • Robotics Team completes1000th case.
  • Physicians at El Camino Hospital were among the first in the United States to offer patients suffering from mitral regurgitation (MR) the MitraClip-a new FDA breakthrough in minimally invasive treatment options.
  • El Camino Hospital named "Most Technologically Advanced Hospital" by Top Masters in Healthcare Administration.
  • El Camino Hospital Los Gatos Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility achieved CARF accreditation.
  • Jodi Barnard joins El Camino Hospital as Foundation President.
  • Los Gatos became a Primary Stroke Center creating more stroke treatment options in the Los Gatos area.
  • Kathryn Fisk named Chief of Human Resources.
  • Cheryl Reinking named Chief Nursing Officer.
  • Distributed $8.2M of community benefit funding and resourcing to those most in need to the communities we serve.


  • Cancer Center earned National Accreditation with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons
  • Los Gatos received Joint Commission Disease Specific Certification for Primary Stroke Program
  • El Camino Hospital re-certified as a Nationally Accredited Chest Pain Center
  • Both campuses designated a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement and Spine Surgery
  • The Cardiovascular Pulmonary Wellness Center receives nation re-certification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • El Camino Hospital rededicated the Heart and Vascular institute in honor of Norma Melchor
  • Hospital performs 500th Robotic Surgery
  • El Camino Hospital Los Gatos celebrated 50 Years of service to the community
  • Hospital initiates partnership with Simplee to help community manage health financial matters
  • Eldercare and Family Caregiver Assistance programs expanded to Los Gatos campus
  • Recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Prostatectomy in 2013
  • El Camino Hospital Mountain View opens weekly Farmers' Market on campus
  • Women's Hospital celebrated the building's 20th Anniversary
  • Opened Inpatient Perinatal/Postpartum Mood Treatment Program
  • El Camino Hospital Physicians “Graduate” from First-Ever Onsite Genomics Course
  • High Risk Breast program launched
  • OATS Program celebrated its 20th Anniversary
  • Recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Gastrointestinal Care and General Surgery for 2 years in a row
  • Los Gatos received Joint Commission Certification in Hip and Knee Replacement and Spinal Fusion Surgery
  • Los Gatos received Primary Stroke Center Designation from Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services
  • Achieved Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for clinical excellence
  • Citing strengths such as size, favorable geographical location, strong profitability, double digit cash flow margins, low debt load, and 95% seismic compliance through 2030, Moody's Investor Service upgraded the hospital's revenue bond rating to A1 from A2, following a review of the hospital's progress since Moody's issued its last rating in 2010.


  • The Heart & Vascular Institute was renamed the Norma Melchor Heart & Vascular Institute of El Camino Hospital. The commitment of several million dollars, the largest cumulative gift to El Camino Hospital Foundation from any philanthropic source, was made by the Melchor family - Norma’s husband Jack, her children and grandchildren - in memory of Norma Melchor, a long-time philanthropist and hospital volunteer to support clinical programs and research of the Institute.
  • A patient who underwent a hysterectomy to remove uterine fibroids was the 500th patient to receive a robotic surgical procedure at El Camino Hospital in 2012.
  • The only comprehensive high risk breast program in Northern California, a collaboration between the Women's Hospital, Genomic Medicine Institute, Cancer Center and Imaging Services, launches at both Mountain View and Los Gatos campuses.
  • Hospital begins offering patients access to their hospital bills with Simplee, an online financial management tool. The partnership is the first completely integrated medical bill and explanation of benefits (EOB) reconciliation system.
  • Inpatient Perinatal/Postpartum Mood Treatment Program, one of only two inpatient programs in the nation designed to treat women experiencing significant mood changes or anxiety symptoms during or after pregnancy, opens at Mountain View campus.
  • Mountain View campus becomes the first hospital in California to earn a trio of hip and knee certifications from The Joint Commission.
  • El Camino Hospital District expands the Hospital Board of Directors from six to nine members by appointing Neal H. Cohen, M.D., Jeffrey Davis, M.D., and Nandini Tandon, Ph.D. to the Board.
  • Sleep Disorders Program opens in Los Gatos.
  • Behavioral Health services expands A.S.P.I.R.E. and O.A.T.S. programs to the Los Gatos campus.
  • San Jose Fire Department and El Camino Hospital launch the free PulsePoint app, a lifesaving bystander CPR mobile phone app.
  • Kiva VCF Treatment System Study evaluating a new treatment for vertebral compression fractures begins.
  • Senior Health Center opens in Mountain View.
  • El Camino Hospital Foundation annual gala raises $920,000 for Cancer Center.
  • Evening Outpatient Addiction Services Program launched in Mountain View.
  • Chest Pain Center Accreditation renewed for the Mountain View Campus.


  • Hospital celebrates its 50th anniversary.
  • Taft Clinical Research launches.
  • Genomic Medicine Institute opens a Center in the Melchor Pavilion.
  • Kenneth Graham's contract as President and Chief Executive Officer ends.
  • Foundation raises $650,000 for El Camino Hospital Cancer Center.
  • El Camino Hospital Auxiliary passes the 5 million hour mark.
  • Website adds ED Wait Times information to home page.
  • Los Gatos campus opens the Orthopedic Pavilion.
  • Designated as first and only Gynecological Oncology Case Observation Site for Robotic Surgery in Northern California.
  • Genomic Medicine Institute offers genetic counseling.
  • Women's Hospital Pelvic Health Program launches.
  • Nationally recognized health expert, Nurse Barb partners with El Camino Hospital in an educational collaboration to provide consumers with information on medical breakthroughs.
  • Tomi Ryba appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer.
  • Launch of the Mobile App for the Family Medical Officer.


  • Behavioral Health Services launches ASPIRE (After-School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education), an after-school program for teenage youths.
  • El Camino Hospital District Board and Hospital Board member Mark O'Connor resigns after being an active member since 1994, serving as chairperson from 2003 to 2005. Patricia A. Einarson, M.D., M.B.A., appointed to fill the vacancy; elected to a four year term in November.
  • The El Camino Hospital Women's Hospital hosts its first national Spirit of Women Day of Dance.
  • Center for Advanced Radiotherapy and CyberKnife Radiosurgery, a Northern California hub for tumor treatment, opens in May.
  • El Camino Hospital Los Gatos launches a Men's Health Program.
  • El Camino Hospital (Mountain View campus) awarded prestigious Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for a second consecutive time.
  • Larry Feder is named new president of the El Camino Hospital Foundation
  • Community Advisory Councils for both Mountain View and Los Gatos campuses meet for first time, serving as ambassadors to help connect the hospital to key community constituencies.
  • El Camino Hospital Los Gatos launches a 30-bed inpatient Rehabilitation Center, one of only three in the West Valley/San Jose area.
  • Medtronic's Lifenet System for heart attack victims utilized in Santa Clara County for the first time by El Camino Hospital.
  • El Camino Hospital is first hospital in Northern California to offer bronchial thermoplasty for treatment for individuals with severe asthma.
  • Orthopaedic Management Associates, LLC, (OMA) and El Camino Hospital Los Gatos sign co-management services agreement focused on improving quality of care and operational efficiency in the delivery of orthopedic services.
  • The Parkinson's Institute and El Camino Hospital Join Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) as official study sites.
  • El Camino Hospital is one of only five centers worldwide providing live demonstration cases for VIVA the largest annual medical education event for heart and vascular specialists.
  • Physicians at El Camino Hospital launch REACT medical trial to find early diagnosis tool for lung cancer.
  • El Camino Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute announce the first patient implant in the Medtronic CoreValve U.S. Clinical Trial. The hospital is one of the first of 40 hospitals across the U.S. to participate in the trial.


  • New contemporary logo and website launched.
  • Genomic Medicine Institute launches in partnership with DNA Direct
  • CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System purchased. Hospital chosen to serve as a showcase for the technology and a training center for physicians from around the world.
  • On July 12, 2009, El Camino Hospital Los Gatos opens, after a brief 90-day closure period.
  • October 3, 2009, ribbon cutting and community day celebrated at the new El Camino Hospital Mountain View. The community is invited to tour the new facilities.
  • The new state-of-the-art hospital in Mountain View opens on November 15, 2009.


  • Behavioral Health Services launches Maternal Mood Outreach Service.
  • District Board agrees to designate portion of annual tax receipts to community benefit fund.
  • El Camino Hospital first in Bay Area to implant the new cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrilator.
  • Women's Hospital launched - the first in Northern California.
  • El Camino Hospital enters into an agreement to acquire the real estate and certain other assets of the 143-bed Community Hospital of Los Gatos.


  • El Camino Hospital named top hospital in California for rate of breastfeeding among new mothers.
  • El Camino Hospital named one of "Most Wired" hospitals in country for fifth year in a row.
  • Bariatric surgery program earns Center of Excellence status from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
  • Crews place last and highest piece of steel on the new hospital building.
  • The hospital board approves an expansion in the NICU from 16 to 20 beds.
  • John Zoglin elected to El Camino Hospital Board to fill vacancy left with Dr. Curatola's resignation.
  • Eric Pifer, MD named Chief Medical Information Officer, a newly created position at El Camino Hospital.
  • Dr. Dominick Curatola named medical director of the Heart & Vascular Institute; Dr. Jim Joye named director of research and education; and Dr. Frank Galli named chair of the quality and outcomes committee.
  • Greg Walton, nationally known leader in health information technology, named as new chief information officer.
  • El Camino Hospital surgeons conduct first procedures using da Vinci S robotic surgery system.
  • El Camino Hospital Cancer Center opens.
  • El Camino Hospital and SEIU-UHW reach four-year agreement.


  • El Camino Hospital is certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center.
  • Parking structure opens with 850 new parking spaces.
  • ECHO patient system launched.
  • PRN members ratified two-year contract.
  • RotaCare clinic celebrates its 10th anniversary.
  • Maternal Connections, lactation center and mother-baby store also celebrates its 10th anniversary.
  • Groundbreaking ceremony for new hospital site.
  • Melchor Pavilion opens, honoring Jack and Norma Melchor, long-time El Camino Hospital friends and donors.
  • South Asian Heart Center opens.
  • Concern EAP celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • El Camino Hospital named a 2006 Solucient 100 Top Cardiovascular Hospital, one of only two California hospitals and 30 U.S. community hospitals named in the study.
  • El Camino Hospital District receives the proceeds from the sale of $148 million in general obligation bonds.


  • Construction begins on new Oak Pavilion.
  • Construction begins on Parking Structure.
  • La Casa Apartments demolished. Construction begins on Melchor Pavilion (medical office building) in their place.
  • El Camino Hospital receives $1 million gift for South Asian Heart Center.
  • El Camino Hospital acquires El Camino Surgery Center.
  • Radiology department installs new 16-slice CT scanner.
  • El Camino Hospital CEO Lee Domanico resigns.
  • El Camino Hospital designated as Nursing "Magnet" Hospital by American Nursing Association's Credentialing Group
  • El Camino Hospital named a finalist for The American Hospital Association McKesson Quest for Quality Prize, which is awarded to hospitals in the country that have been recognized for their leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care.
  • The Better Breather's Club started in 1985, celebrates its 20th anniversary.


  • El Camino named one of the nation's top performance improvement leader hospitals by Solucient, a leading provider of strategic business and clinical information for the health care industry.
  • El Camino is one of four hospitals across the country named as a top performer in a report from the Commonwealth Fund.
  • El Camino Hospital Board approves new On-Campus Dialysis Center.
  • El Camino named as one of the nation's "Most Wired" hospitals again, according to the 2004 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.
  • El Camino once again passes again the rigorous The Joint Commission accreditation process.
  • The Cardiovascular Pulmonary Wellness Center celebrates its 10th anniversary.


  • After months of work by five standing committees and six special task forces, the five elected members of El Camino Hospital board voted unanimously to proceed with the development of the new hospital building.
  • Hospital receives the highest ranking for overall performance the PEP-C II survey, the only hospital in Santa Clara County to get the top score. PEP-C (Patients Evaluation of Performance in California) is the largest publicly reported and most comprehensive hospital patient survey of its kind in the nation.
  • El Camino Hospital has named one of the nation's Most Wired, according to the 2003 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.
  • El Camino Hospital launches a new Weight Loss Surgery Program.
  • Measure D passes, raising funds for the rebuilding of the hospital patient tower. Among voters, 70.82 percent approved the El Camino Hospital District reconstruction measure in the November 4th election.


  • El Camino Hospital notified the state of its intention to rebuild its main patient tower by 2008, as specified in the new state earthquake building standards.
  • Members of El Camino Hospital's nurses' union, Professional Resource for Nurses (PRN), voted May 16 to accept terms of a new two year contract. The vote was 92 percent yes, 8 percent no.
  • Brachytherapy, a treatment for prostate cancer in which radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate gland, is made available at El Camino Hospital.
  • Acquisition and installation of a Varian Clinac linear accelerator begins. El Camino Hospital joins Stanford and UCSF, both academic teaching facilities, in offering the latest in radiation oncology technology, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), electron beam treatments and stereotactic radiosurgery.
  • El Camino Hospital's inpatient services are given a five-star rating from Professional Research Consultants (PRC), the company that conducts the hospital's ongoing customer satisfaction surveys.


  • Hospital celebrates its 40th anniversary.
  • El Camino Hospital and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 715  successfully negotiate their first contract.


  • After 18 months of preparation, hospital is Y2K ready and greets the New Year with no glitches. First baby of 2000 given a few shares of stock in two Silicon Valley companies.
  • El Camino passes a rigorous J.C.A.H.O. accreditation process with flying colors.
  • Out of more than 120 of its client hospitals nationwide, Professional Resource Consultants, the hospital's patient satisfaction market research firm, named El Camino Hospital as its number-one hospital in 2000 for the quality of inpatient nursing care.

 1990 - 1999

  • Thanks to the dedication of the district board, the hospital is returned to district control and public oversight. Under the leadership of the district board and Richard M. Warren, a 40-year veteran of healthcare administration, the hospital begins its long road to recovery. Employees are proud to be working at El Camino Hospital. Long delayed improvements are made inside and outside the hospital. Policies are enacted which reinstate employee benefits rolled back during the integrated delivery system years. Letters from patients express gratitude that the "old" El Camino Hospital is back.
  • El Camino Hospital named one of Top 100 Cardiac Hospitals in country by HCIA, Inc. Award reflects hospital's performance in cardiac catheterization procedures.
  • In 1999 El Camino Hospital is named one of Top 100 Orthopedic Hospitals in country by HCIA, Inc.
  • After a year of turmoil, and negative press, the board of Camino Healthcare agrees to resign. A settlement is reached with the district, Camino Healthcare, and Camino Medical Group. The district board regains control and in December appoints three new members to the hospital board.
  • The district board grows increasingly concerned with Camino Healthcare finances and operations. Conflict of interest issues arise, physicians and the public grow critical of patient care. The district board files a complaint against Camino Healthcare in Superior Court alleging El Camino's dedistricting contracts are void under California government code. The state Attorney General initiates an investigation.
  • El Camino Hospital, Sunnyvale Medical Clinic and Shoreline Medical Group merge to form an integrated delivery system called Camino Healthcare.
  • Cardiovascular Pulmonary Wellness Center is opened.
  • Maternal and Child Health Center opens in new Orchard Pavilion building.
  • Succumbing to market pressures, the El Camino Hospital District Board votes to dedistrict and to restructure the El Camino system as a private non-profit integrated delivery system, which includes the hospital and affiliated clinics.

1980 - 1989

  • El Camino Hospital Foundation is established to raise charitable contributions in support of the hospital.
  • OR opened; the San Jose Mercury News called it "one of the largest and most technologically advanced surgical sites in the area"
  • CAT Scanner is installed.
  • Breast screening center is established.
  • The Better Breather's Club started.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Center is opened.
  • Pathways Home Health, Hospice & Private Duty is created with Sequoia Hospital.
  • Older Adult Resource Center is opened. This center is now known as the Health Library and Resource Center.
  • El Camino's Park Pavilion and the YMCA is opened.

1970 - 1979

  • In partnership with Lockheed, the world's first computer-aided medical information system, known as MIS, is installed at El Camino.
  • Began offering open heart surgery, with Stanford surgeon Norman Shumway as part of the first team
  • Psychiatric unit is expanded.
  • Emergency, radiology and intensive care facilities are constructed.
  • Family birthing center is constructed.
  • Surgery and recovery rooms are added.
  • Ambulatory surgery center is established.

1960 - 1969

  • Fifth and sixth floors are added to the main building.
  • Artificial Kidney Center is established.
  • Hospital opens and admits its first patients on September 1, 1961.

1957 - 1960

  • Hospital Auxiliary Forms
  • Voters overwhelmingly approved a $7.3 million bond issue to finance the building and operation of the 300-bed hospital.