The Nehalem Bay Health District was originally formed by a vote of the people of the Nehalem Valley in May 1951. At that time it was named the North Tillamook County Hospital District and became a municipal corporation “to supply facilities for the care of the sick and injured its inhabitants”.  The Wheeler Hospital building was built in 1953 and closed as a hospital in 1989.

In 1993, by order of the board, the name was changed to its current name, Nehalem Bay Health District.

By the late 1970s, it had become clear that the facilities of the North Tillamook County Hospital District needed to be upgraded.  A long-term care unit with 21 beds was housed in a decommissioned World War II barracks, and the community called for more long-term care beds.  The medical clinic at the time was operated in two trailers on the property.

The board prepared and put forward a bond measure to the voters in May 1981 to fund the building of a 50-bed long-term care facility and a medical clinic.  The bond measure passed at a rate of $2.73/$1000 of assessed property value. The support of the community at that time made it possible for the construction of what are now the Nehalem Valley Care Center and the Rinehart Clinic.  Both facilities continue to offer vital services not only for residents of the health district, but also for people throughout Tillamook County.