Iowa Health System Rebrands

By George Ford, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Iowa Health System, Des Moines-based corporate parent of St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Finley Hospital in Dubuque and Allen Hospital in Waterloo, has changed its name to UnityPoint Health, effective Tuesday.

Ted Townsend, president and CEO of St. Luke’s, said the new name reflects the way its hospitals, doctors and home care affiliates are refocusing health care delivery.

“We think health care is really changing quite dramatically, and some of the ways that we have identified ourselves need to change,” Townsend said.

“We are moving away from being a hospital-centric system to a physician-driven, patient-centered system. We see things moving away from individual patient care to caring for populations and people from cradle to grave.”

Iowa Health System was formed in 1993 when Iowa Methodist and Iowa Lutheran in Des Moines merged. That merger created the state’s largest provider of hospital and related health services.

St. Luke’s Hospital joined the system in 1994 as a senior affiliate. Iowa Health System since has become the fifth largest nondenominational health system in the United States.

UnityPoint Health includes the former St. Luke’s Physicians & Clinics, Cardiologists LC and Internists PC, which will be known as UnityPoint Clinic. St. Luke’s Home Medical Equipment and Visiting Nurse Association will be UnityPoint at Home.

St. Luke’s Hospice will be called UnityPoint Hospice, but St. Luke’s Hospital will remain St. Luke’s Hospital.

“St. Luke’s will not change its name, but we will be an affiliate of UnityPoint Health,” Townsend said. “We will be incorporating the UnityPoint Health name in our logo, just as we did with Iowa Health System.

“The only difference will be that UnityPoint Health will be in larger type above St. Luke’s Hospital, showing that being part of a system is more important as we go forward. We need to take the focus off just the hospital, the doctor or home health.

“The focus needs to be on how we put all those pieces together to provide coordinated care.”

Brian Scott, St. Luke’s board chairman, said St. Luke’s will continue to be a community hospital.

“The St. Luke’s board will continue to govern the hospital and St. Luke’s Foundation fundraising will still benefit St. Luke’s locally.”

Townsend said the change to UnityPoint Health will better reflect the regional presence of the organization outside of Iowa.

“We brought in the Peoria market 18 months ago, and we’ve also added a physicians group of more than 100 doctors in Quincy, Ill.,” Townsend said. “Our Quad Cities affiliates have always had the bulk of their people on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.

“As health care continues to go through periods of aggregation, we are aggregating health care organizations outside of Iowa. Therefore, Iowa Health System no longer seemed to be fully appropriate.”

Scott and Townsend said the name change followed several years of discussions among the organization’s regions, physician leadership, board of directors and management teams regarding health care changes and how to position the organization for the future.

The more than 24,000 employees of UnityPoint Health were briefed earlier today on the name change. Townsend said each employee name badge will be retrofitted with a decal changing the name and logo, rather than replacing all 24,000 badges.

“We will be spending some money for about 200 new signs and some marketing to introduce the new name of the organization, but we will deplete stationery and business cards before we place any new orders,” Townsend said.

UnityPoint Health will have relationships with more than 900 physicians and providers working in more than 280 UnityPoint Clinics, 29 hospitals and home care services in metropolitan and rural communities in Iowa and Illinois.

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