Dropping ‘General’ considered

Posted: Monday, July 03, 2006

As a symbol of a much larger change within and a move toward keeping pace with the times, Central Peninsula General Hospital may drop “General” from its name.

“We’re becoming more than just a general hospital,” said Ryan K. Smith, chief executive officer of the hospital.

In addition, the term “general” is becoming a bit dated, he said.

“A lot of hospitals have dropped the general notion, and we want to do the same,” he said. “It has connotations of being a rural provider.”

More importantly, the hospital has transformed to provide a more comprehensive range of services, moving beyond what you would call a general hospital, he said.

“They’re more Band-Aid stations,” said Smith, referring to the type of hospital that fits the “general” definition.

In recent years, the hospital has developed specialties in urology and neurology and is considering additional specializations in cardiology and oncology.

The hospital is still in the process of determining whether it should add specialties in and specialized staff for cardiology and oncology.

Before the hospital decides whether it is ready to take on these specializations, it must first determine whether its patient population is large enough to support it, said Loretta Flanders, president of the hospital’s board.

“We’re looking at the numbers in terms of population and cases, and at the best way ... to provide these services,” Flanders said.

The hospital’s transformation into a more specialized hospital gained momentum after voters approved a $49.9 million hospital expansion project in 2003, Smith said.

The name change was first proposed earlier this year by the hospital’s Strategic Planning Committee, which suggested “general” be dropped and recommended changing the facility’s name to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

When put to a vote among hospital employees, however, the top choices were Peninsula Medical Center and Central Peninsula Hospital.

At a meeting Thursday, the hospital’s board made plans to ask the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly to grant a request to change the hospital’s name to Central Peninsula Hospital.

If the change request is granted, the name will be changed during the ceremonial opening of the hospital’s new wing in January.

The name change would reflect the hospital’s expansion in terms of service, as well as physical space, Flanders said.

“We’ve added new services over the years, and with the new wing, which really kind of dwarfs the old wing, we thought that this would be an opportune time to ... drop the general,” she said.

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