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Editorial: Ballad Health makes a smart branding move

Editorial Board • Nov 13, 2018 at 8:50 AM

Branding is important, not only because of the impression it makes on consumers but in giving them a sense of what they can expect, as Ballad Health demonstrates.

Residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia may have expected big Ballad Health signs to pop up throughout the region on the hospitals that it operates. That’s the typical approach that big organizations take when they pick up other businesses.

But that’s not the direction Ballad has chosen. That’s not its stated focus for its hospitals, large and small. Ballad said it wants to serve communities, and that’s what motivated its branding as the result of its creation by merging the Wellmont and Mountain States hospital groups.

The former Mountain State’s Indian Path Medical Center just got a name change to Indian Path Community Hospital. Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Norton has become Mountain View Regional Hospital; Russell County Medical Center in Lebanon is now Russell County Hospital; and Unicoi County Memorial Hospital has changed its name to just Unicoi County Hospital.

Ballad said the name changes intend to “reflect both their important roles within the health system and their deep ties to the communities they serve.”

“Being part of Ballad Health means these community hospitals are part of an integrated system that includes a children’s hospital, trauma care, and access to some of the nation’s leading care in highly specialized services. But because Ballad Health is governed by people who live in this region with deep ties to the community, we also believe strongly in the role of rural hospitals as community assets contributing to Ballad Health’s strength,” said Eric Deaton, Ballad Health’s senior vice president of market operations.

“Because of this, we are happy to announce that all our hospital names will continue to reflect their deep connections with the communities they serve.”

Rather than changing every hospital name to Ballad Health, it was determined that the system would instead adopt a standard naming convention that incorporates each facility’s existing name and identity within the community, the merged hospital system noted.

In order to help patients throughout the region easily navigate the health system and identify the breadth of services offered in each location, the term “medical center” will now be used only in the names of Ballad Health’s three tertiary facilities, reflecting common practices among other health systems nationally.

Smart move.

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