Bigger is Not Always Better

Will rebranding improve the care that patients receive here in Kalispell?

By Karen Larson

Being a 20-plus year resident of the Flathead Valley I was quite surprised to read that the hospital was changing their name to Logan Health to better align who they serve.

Being employed by Kalispell Regional Medical Center for several years, I was constantly told that everything the hospital did was to ensure that KRMC stay primo here; to do so meant keeping Providence and other big hospital institutions out of the valley. By successfully keeping those entities out, haven’t they themselves become what they didn’t want: a big healthcare structure based on profits rather than focused care for the residents of this valley?

I understand Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has been pushing accountable care organizations and quality care initiatives with KRMC striving to become the leader for this state. But bigger is not always better nor does it equate to quality. For example, mandated utilization of electronic information while providing better access has seemed to hinder care the doctors provide by subjugating them to increased clerical duties. Documentation for the purpose of improved quality seems like a paradox when doctors have less face time with their patients; less time interacting with patients while spending more time on clicking boxes to provide canned language that may or may not really be reflective of the patient’s complete health picture, all for the convenience of getting the most reimbursement possible from insurers.

I remember when KRMC’s primary focus was patients in this valley, but by broadening their focus to regional patients, is bigger really better? Will rebranding improve the care that patients receive here in Kalispell? And what about those marketing dollars spent to create this new image? Would that money have been better spent on equipment, education, and/or wages? Will staff be happier; will patients be healthier; will our community health improve because our name is now Logan Health?

Karen Larson

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