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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Hospital overview

Our history

Our hospital has a long and proud history as a health care provider and innovator in Minneapolis. The following tells the story of how Abbott Northwestern was built from a collection of great health care organizations into a leading regional medical center and the Twin Cities largest non-profit hospital.

Northwestern Hospital
Eitel Hospital
Minneapolis Medical Center, Inc
Abbott Northwestern Sister Kenny Institute
Heart Hospital
Abbott Hospital for Women
Sistere Kenny Institute
Abbott & Northwestern
The New Hospital Campus
Allina Health

1882 Northwestern Hospital
It was a wintry November day in 1882 when Harriet Walker summoned 44 women to lay plans for what would become Northwestern Hospital for Women and Children. Opened in a small rented house one month later as a charity hospital, Northwestern Hospital dedicated the first structure built specifically for hospital use on June 10, 1887, at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 27th Street in Minneapolis.

1902 Abbott Hospital for Women
Somewhat prophetically, Dr. Amos Abbott was named consulting physician to Northwestern's first medical staff. Twenty years after joining Northwestern Hospital in 1902 (and less than a mile away), Dr. Abbott left to start a community hospital for women bearing his name. While it was not founded as a charity hospital, Dr. Abbott's kindness often caused him to reduce or waive fees for those who could not afford to pay.

1911 Eitel Hospital
Dr. George G. Eitel established "a first rate hospital" when he founded Eitel Hospital. When it opened in 1912 on "beautiful Loring Park" in Minneapolis, it featured sun porches outfitted with Navajo rugs, and deluxe private rooms with brass beds and mahogany furniture. Jeanne Eitel, his surgical nurse and wife, directed the hospital's nursing school.

1940 Sister Kenny Institute
Australia native Sister Elizabeth Kenny (nurses were called "sister") brought her brash dedication to treating polio patients to Abbott Hospital in the summer of 1940. Some physicians were put off by her style, but the volume of patients and people wanting to be trained in her methods quickly outstripped the capabilities of the hospital. So Sister Kenny took her pioneering rehabilitation efforts to the old Lymanhurst School, six blocks north of Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. It was here that the original Sister Kenny Institute was dedicated in 1942.

1966 Minneapolis Medical Center, Inc.
In October 1966, a desire to increase the quality of patient care in a cost-effective manner led to the formation of Minneapolis Medical Center, Inc. (MMCI), Northwestern Hospital and three other health care facilities along Chicago Avenue were the nucleus of an organization which would grow significantly in the ensuing decade. MMCI's joint planning function created the Children's Health Center (today called Children's Health Care - Minneapolis®) which opened in January 1973. One month later, pediatric patients from Abbott and Northwestern hospitals were moved into the new MMCI facility.

1970 Abbott and Northwestern
Abbott and Northwestern hospitals were merged into the Abbott-Northwestern Hospital Corporation in 1970. The merger was seen as prudent and constructive, since both hospitals had faced similar challenges over the years, served similar constituencies and shared many physicians among their attending staffs. And both had grown from modest beginnings to achieve widespread recognition individually as outstanding medical institutions.

1975 Abbott Northwestern and Sister Kenny Institute
In 1973, the Sister Kenny Institute received permission from the hospital corporation and the Metropolitan Council to build new facilities next to Northwestern Hospital. But when the boards of the hospital and the Institute's parent company -- the American Rehabilitation Foundation -- realized that the missions of both facilities were complementary, the Institute merged with Abbott Northwestern in 1975. This provided added resources and support services for coordinated care of patients needing physical rehabilitation.

1980 The New Hospital Campus
An Abbott-Northwestern Hospital Corporation study later in 1975 recommended consolidating Abbott and Northwestern operations into a single location; the Northwestern campus on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis was selected. The last patients moved into the new Abbott Northwestern Hospital facilities on Jan. 26, 1980.

1982 LifeSpan
In 1982, Abbott Northwestern's Board of Directors approved the creation of a new parent corporation, LifeSpan Inc. It was designed so other hospitals and companies could join it in the future. LifeSpan originally included Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Sister Kenny Institute and Eitel Hospital.

1993 HealthSpan
LifeSpan merged with Health One on March 1, 1993 to form HealthSpan Health Systems Corporation, the second largest, not-for-profit secular health care system in the United States. Twin Cities metropolitan area hospitals involved in the merger were Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, United in St. Paul, Unity in Fridley and Mercy in Coon Rapids.

1993 Allina Health System
On Dec. 7, 1993, the boards of directors of HealthSpan and Medica approved a letter of intent to merge the two organizations and form Allina Health System, a not-for-profit integrated health care system committed to enhancing the health status of the communities it serves. The hospitals and clinics division owns or manages 17 hospitals, two nursing homes, and clinics in more than 40 locations throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. The Medica division offers a broad range of self-funded and fully insured health plan products to meet the diverse needs of its more than one million members.

2001 Allina Hospitals & Clinics
In July 2001, Allina Health System was restructured into two, independent, non-profit entities: Medica, a health plan organization, and Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a healthcare delivery organization.

A board of community and physician members leads Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a network of hospitals, clinics and other health care delivery services throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Twin Cities metropolitan area hospitals within Allina Hospitals & Clinics include Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, United in St. Paul, Unity in Fridley and Mercy in Coon Rapids.

2005 Abbott Northwestern's Heart Hospital
In spring 2005, the renowned cardiovascular services of Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the Minneapolis Heart Institute came together to create Abbott Northwestern's Heart Hospital. The heart hospital is a 256-bed facility that provides new, expanded space for the cardiovascular program, and new inpatient space for neuroscience, orthopaedic and spine services.

History of Nursing and Medical Education
Nursing education dates from Harriet Walker's Training School for Nurses, which began with the founding of Northwestern Hospital in 1882. Abbott Hospital also had its own nursing program, and the two merged in September 1970. The combined program graduated its last nurse in 1978, and today the focus is on continuing education for staff nurses.

Medical education began with early Northwestern Hospital physicians serving as part-time faculty at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Some University interns also served one-year bed-side internships at Northwestern. After residency programs expanded to four years to meet specialized needs, the University and Northwestern Hospital officially affiliated their post-graduate residency programs in 1965. In the 1970s, an extensive Continuing Medical Education program was launched to serve physicians throughout the Midwest. Today, the internal medicine residency program -- now more than a quarter of a century old with more than 30 residents trained each year -- continues the strong medical education tradition at Abbott Northwestern.

Awards and ratings

Each year, Abbott Northwestern is recognized for its exceptional expertise and care. The hospital’s services, doctors and nurses are acclaimed nationally and locally by such organizations as U.S. News & World Report, the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Society of Chest Pain Centers. For example:

  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital retained its first place ranking for the Best Hospital in the Twin Cities and second in the state of Minnesota in the U.S. News & World Report's 2014-15 Best Hospital rankings. Abbott Northwestern received national recognition in four specialty areas: Cardiology and Heart Surgery; Geriatrics; Gynecology, and Orthopedics.

  • Abbott Northwestern is consistently ranked as a Best Hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Most recently, Abbott Northwestern was ranked first in the metro for overall quality of the entire hospital and second in Minnesota. In 2013, ten of Abbott Northwestern’s specialties were included in the U.S. News & World Report’s metro area rankings. They were: diabetes & endocrinology; gastroenterology & GI surgery (Center for Advanced Endoscopy); geriatrics; gynecology; heart & heart surgery (Minneapolis Heart Institute®); nephrology; neurology & neurosurgery (the Neuroscience Institute); orthopaedics (the Orthopaedic Institute); pulmonology; and urology.

  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) again granted Magnet Recognition Program™ status to Abbott Northwestern in 2014. The hospital received its original designation in 2009. This achievement is reached by fewer than seven percent of all hospitals worldwide. The ANCC states that Magnet-designated hospitals consistently deliver better patient outcomes than non-Magnet hospitals, including more time spent at the patient’s bedside by nurses, shorter lengths of patient stay, lower patient mortality rates, higher patient satisfaction rates, and higher nurse retention, recruitment, and job satisfaction rates.

  • Abbott Northwestern has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

  • Abbott Northwestern received the 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. The prestigious award recognizes programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. Abbott Northwestern was among just 90 award winners nationwide, representing only 17 percent of similar programs across the nation.

  • The Society of Chest Pain Centers designated Abbott Northwestern in 2011 as an Accredited Chest Pain Center. The accreditation acknowledges the collaboration and commitment of Minneapolis Heart Institute®, Abbott Northwestern's Emergency Department, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and other medical personnel dedicated to rigorous processes proven to reduce mortality and morbidity from heart disease. Abbott Northwestern was the first Minnesota hospital to receive this designation in 2008. Learn more.

  • Emblem for Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota designated Abbott Northwestern as having Blue Distinction Centers for Spine Surgery, Knee and Hip Replacement, Bariatric Surgery, Cardiac Care and Complex and Rare Cancers. Learn more.

  • Abbott Northwestern has received four Patient Safety Excellence Awards from the Minnesota Hospital Association since 2008. The awards honor hospitals that have implemented at least 90 percent of the best practices identified in MHA’s safety campaigns. Learn more.

  • NeuStrategy designated Abbott Northwestern's Neuroscience Institute a national Stroke Center of Excellence in 2008. Learn more.

  • Nursing Professionals magazine ranked Abbott Northwestern among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals to Work for nurses in 2009. The magazine surveyed 25,000 randomly selected hospital nurses across the U.S., measuring job satisfaction and key indicators of a hospital’s support of nurses.

  • CARF International provided accreditation in 2008 to The Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute at Abbott Northwestern for its: stroke specialty programs; spinal cord system of care for children adolescents and adults; and inpatient rehabilitation services for children, adolescents and adults. CARF is an independent nonprofit accrediting body that works to promote quality, value and optimal outcomes of services. Learn more.

Facts and figures

Abbott Northwestern Hospital Mall

Here is an overview of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in 2013:



Medical Staff





Inpatient admissions*


Outpatient registrations


Laboratory tests

1.5 million

Radiology procedures


Respiratory care volume


Emergency Department visits


Surgical procedures

13,755: Inpatient

11,817: Outpatient - Operating Room

4,448: Center for Advanced Endoscopy

2,275: Ambulatory Surgery Center




Sets of twins


Sets of triplets


2013 Financial Resume

Net Operating Revenue

$1.019 million


$980 million

Questions and answers about Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Does Abbott Northwestern have an information phone line?

Yes. Call Allina Health Physician Referral and Class Registration at 612-262-3333 or 1-800-877-7878.

In an emergency, always call 911 or your local emergency response number.

I have a question about my insurance coverage. Who should I call?

Call Patient Financial Services at 612-863-4385.

How can I get directions to Abbott Northwestern?

Go to maps and directions or call our directions line at 612-863-5550.

I don't live in the Twin Cities and don't want to drive in the metro area. Are there any options for me?

See information about our transportation services.

Is there any place I can stay while my family member is in the hospital?

Yes, see accommodations.

I know Abbott Northwestern is located in a large metropolitan area. How is the neighborhood?

The hospital is located in the Phillips Community of south Minneapolis. See community partnerships for information on what we have done to improve the health of our neighborhood.

How can I find out more about classes and community programs?

Visit search for classes.

What kind of support groups does Abbott Northwestern have?

See a list of support groups at Abbott Northwestern and other Allina Health hospitals and clinics.

What is your smoking policy?

According to our smoking rules and regulations, the use of tobacco products is prohibited on the Abbott Northwestern campus, including parking lots and ramps.