Farewell, SMDC — hello, EssentiaSMDC Health System is changing its name to Essentia Health, the name of its parent company, the health-care provider announced Wednesday.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
SMDC Health System is changing its name to Essentia Health, the name of its parent company, the health-care provider announced Wednesday.
The name change will apply to SMDC’s four hospitals and 17 clinics, said SMDC spokeswoman Beth Johnson.
The SMDC website will soon reflect the change and staff name tags will follow, with signage and stationery changes occurring over about a year and a half.
Within 10 days, staff will answer phone saying “Essentia” instead of “SMDC.” And in a week, patients will receive notice of the change, said Dr. Peter Person, Essentia Health’s CEO.
“This is the beginning of a process,” he said. “Systems that have been part of Essentia are combining into one.”
With the new name, SMDC becomes part of Essentia’s regional system of 17 hospitals, 62 clinics and 750 physicians and a total of 13,000 health-care workers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho. It combines SMDC with Brainerd Lakes Health, Innovis Health and Essentia Hospitals and Clinics.
“All have been part of Essentia but operating independently,” Person said. “The advantage and value of this is we can take all the resources of all these organizations and combine them to continue to focus on better patient care.”
The move is intended to create efficiencies, reduce health-care costs and bring quality health care to rural communities, Person said.
A common electronic record-keeping system, for example, will be created for patients throughout the Essentia system. The merging of current operations has already begun but will take many months, Person said.
“This prepares us well for the future,” Person said.
In the Duluth area, St. Mary’s Medical Center, the Duluth Clinic, Hermantown Clinic and the other branch clinics will retain their familiar names. But instead of SMDC preceding the names, it will be Essentia Health.
Discussions that led to the name change began at an Essentia leadership meeting about a year ago.
“The question I asked was, ‘Are we poised for the future?’ ” Person said. “The answer was no, we could do a much better job dealing with patient care and dealing with complexities in health-care reform, if we work together as an integrated system.”