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Published: Wednesday, 12/27/2006

New Blanchard facility dubbed a hospital again


FINDLAY - Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center will have a new address when it moves into a new $95 million building early next year, so officials there decided to change the facility's name while they were at it.

The health center will return to the name most locals call it anyway: Blanchard Valley Hospital. The Bluffton campus of Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center will be known simply as Bluffton Hospital. The health association itself will be renamed Blanchard Valley Health System.

"There was an era when hospitals got on the wellness bandwagon and they were encouraged to move from hospitals to health centers," said Ann Buis, president of the Blanchard Valley Health Foundation. "I think those marketers were a little ahead of their time because the public didn't move as quickly. The name 'hospital' continued to ring throughout our community, and with those people we served."

After Blanchard Valley became a "health center" around 1995, Ms. Buis said, "we immediately began to answer the phone saying Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, and people would ask, 'Is this the hospital?' "

The change in hospital names came in part from recommendations from an outside consulting firm, from focus groups assembled locally, and from online voting by employees and the public. Ms. Buis said a surprising number of people chimed in.

"We had well over 300 people respond to say why aren't we calling it what it used to be, what people still call it - why don't we call a hospital a hospital?" Ms. Buis said.

Blanchard Valley first considered a name change nearly four years ago when it began planning for construction of a six-floor, 200,000-square-foot patient facility that's nearly complete.

Because the new hospital fronts South Main Street rather than Wallace Street, addresses on all letterheads and printed forms had to be changed, Ms. Buis said. Hospital officials decided it was a good time for a name change.

The name change will occur just prior to the opening of Blanchard Valley's new Donnell Patient Pavilion in mid-February. New signs, employee badges, linens - everything that bears the hospital's name - have been ordered at a cost estimated at $50,000, Ms. Buis said.

Tours of the new hospital, which has 152 private rooms with private baths, are planned for the public in January.

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