In 1882, Saint Luke’s was a small hospital serving a frontier trading town. Today, we are an integrated system of 14 hospitals and campuses with more than 12,000 employees caring for a metropolitan area of two million people, and our service area spans 67 counties in Missouri and Kansas.
As Kansas City’s only locally-owned, not-for-profit health system, we’re proud of our faith-based heritage, which we believe sets us apart. We are honored to be continually recognized for our commitment to quality, compassionate care.
The first 100 years
The predecessor to today’s Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City was founded by an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Henry David Jardine. He convened a meeting of Kansas City businessmen in a small wooden church on July 7, 1882, to discuss a citywide need for better hospital care.
This new hospital operated for about 11 years. It closed for a year and then reopened as Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. One of the three incorporators of the revived hospital was the first bishop of the new Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri , the Right Rev. Edward Atwill, who assumed sponsorship of Saint Luke’s. Today, the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri maintains that oversight, with the bishop serving as chairman of Saint Luke’s Hospital’s Board of Directors.
Even in Saint Luke’s early days, the provision of charity care and mission-driven care were important, as was a commitment to providing medical education.
From the beginning, Saint Luke’s Hospital was designated as a teaching hospital, instructing medical students how to diagnose and treat disease. Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences, founded in 1903 to provide nursing education, has taught more than 3,500 nurses.
In 1990, Saint Luke’s Hospital officially became a primary teaching hospital of the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine.
In the early 1970s, Saint Luke’s leaders were among the first in the country to recognize the importance of disease-specific care in which resources, people, and technology are aligned to diagnose and treat complex organ system dysfunction. As a result, they established the nation’s first heart hospital, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute.
Today, the Heart Institute is nationally recognized for its work in the non-surgical treatment of heart disease, its outcomes research, and its organ transplantation program. Following this model, Saint Luke’s created additional specialty medical facilities, including Saint Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute , a national leader in the reversal of ischemic strokes; Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute; and centers that cater to women’s and children’s specific medical needs.
Growing with the Kansas City region
For its first 107 years, Saint Luke’s comprised just one health care facility. That changed in 1989 with the construction of Saint Luke’s North Hospital—Barry Road and our acquisition of Spelman Memorial Hospital, now Saint Luke's North Hospital—Smithville, in the northern part of Kansas City.
Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City’s Crittenton Children’s Center, which cares for the emotional health of children and families, officially joined the health system in 1992.
Saint Luke’s Health System expanded outside the Kansas City area with the addition of Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Missouri, in 1994 and Anderson County Hospital in Garnett, Kansas, in 1995. Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, Missouri, joined Saint Luke's in 2003.
In 2016, Bishop Spencer Place, a life plan senior living community in the heart of Kansas City, became part of the Saint Luke’s family. In 2020, Allen County Regional Hospital in Iola, Kansas, was added.
Saint Luke’s Health System today
On Jan. 1, 2024, BJC and Saint Luke’s officially combined as BJC Health System to operate as a single, integrated health care organization serving two regions with a distinct brand in each: BJC HealthCare in the East and Saint Luke’s in the West.
BJC Health System is one of the largest nonprofit health care organizations in the United States and the largest in the state of Missouri, serving urban, suburban, and rural communities in Missouri, southern Illinois, and eastern Kansas. One of the largest employers in Missouri, BJC operates in two distinct regions as BJC HealthCare in the East and Saint Luke’s Health System in the West. BJC is comprised of 24 hospitals and hundreds of clinics and service organizations, all committed to providing extraordinary patient care and advancing medical breakthroughs. BJC’s nationally recognized academic hospitals—Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals—are affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine.
Saint Luke’s outstanding clinical outcomes, reputation for exceptional customer service, dedication to research and innovation, and state-of-the-art facilities and technology reflect our vision of being “the best place to get care, the best place to give care.”
Our commitment to education is more robust than ever. We support accredited training programs in all major physician specialties and in chaplaincy, nursing, laboratory, radiology, and respiratory. Saint Luke’s also supports numerous graduate, post-graduate, and continuing medical education programs; endowed teaching positions; and clinical research programs.
Despite major medical advances, incredible growth, and international acclaim for its clinical outcomes, a few things remain the same today: Saint Luke’s is proud to continue its tradition of providing high-quality, leading-edge, compassionate care, and its faith-based heritage.