Rebranding health care
Sometime in January, Washington Hospital will roll out a new brand name for its health care system.
While the 115-year-old hospital will retain its name, it will be part of the Washington Health System, the new name for the hospital’s continually expanding health care services that exist at multiple sites well beyond its traditional Wilson Avenue address.
“It’s a rebranding,” said Gary Weinstein, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, who said the rollout will be gradual over the next year.
Weinstein said Wednesday the move to a brand – which was approved by the hospital board in late September and communicated to employees two weeks ago – comes at a time when “the hospital doesn’t really describe what we’ve become” over the years.
“Most people think of the hospital as one building in one place where people stay overnight” for treatment, he said.
But today, he added, the hospital’s array of external services stretches across Washington and Greene counties, with some offered in Allegheny County.
While there are 1,800 people employed at the hospital itself, another 500 work at one of more than 40 sites in the area.
There’s the Cameron Wellness Center, urgent care centers and hospice care. In addition to its Physicians Hospital Organization with 240 physicians working at the hospital, there is also the Washington Physicians Group, with 60 physicians in primary care and specialities at 25 locations in the two counties, including three diagnostic centers. In addition, there is the Greenbrier Treatment Center, with drug addiction counseling offered in various locations between the South Hills and Wexford.
“Less than half of what we do now is in in-patient medicine,” Weinstein said, adding that the organization today contains “many, many components of a health system.”
The other reason for the rebranding effort, he said, comes from “health-care reform, and what the public is expecting of hospitals,” which is to provide a system of care.
“They want us to integrate the care, and health care reform has put incentives in place for that to happen,” Weinstein said.
He explained that the reform calls for more accountable care that is seen as helping with cost containment through more streamlined payments to one system, while also seeking improved treatment outcomes.
It also enables the system to adopt electronic medical recordkeeping “so that as someone moves from primary care to a specialist to lab tests, they don’t have to tell the same story” multiple times, he said.
Weinstein said all of those goals can be more easily achieved if patients are receiving continuous care under one healthcare system as opposed to care given by numerous unrelated providers.
The move to brand itself as a system also helps to change both internal and external perceptions about the ways health care delivery has changed, Weinstein said.
“Branding us that way gets the message out to the public and to those of us who work in the system,” he said.
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