KRH Begins Lengthy Process of Transitioning into Logan Health

Hospital in preparation and production phase, officials hope to begin replacing signage in March as overall process expected to last many months

By Myers Reece
This rendering was provided by Kalispell Regional Healthcare.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare has 40 different brands under its umbrella, bearing names with no obvious linkage to the KRH system: Big Sky Family Medicine, Rocky Mountain Heart and Lung, Pathways Treatment Center, Sunny View Pediatrics, Montana Children’s, and dozens more.

Patients may pass through any number of those entities for treatment, which KRH officials say can lead to confusion and a feeling of disjointedness. And with the healthcare system’s ongoing expansion beyond the valley, that far-ranging collection of monikers is only growing larger.

“That does not look like a family; it looks like a whole lot of different families,” Cindy Morrison, KRH’s chief transformation officer, said in an interview. “Instead of being a branded house, we’re a house of brands.”

That’s one of the driving reasons behind the health system’s ongoing rebranding into Logan Health, which KRH officials say will offer a much-needed unified parent brand for its expanding roster of clinics, hospitals and other entities.

KRH announced in December that the rebranding would launch in January. While the process is underway, including the filing of paperwork and ample preparation chores on the production side, the broader public won’t see visual evidence of the transition for a while. Morrison is hoping for signs to start being replaced in March.

“I would say by the end of summer it will be pretty significant, but it’s fluid,” Morrison said, noting that factors such as vendors play a major role.

The overall brand transition will be lengthy. Beyond the hundreds of signs, myriad other logo-bearing components of KRH’s sprawling operation will need to be changed: employee name badges, letterheads, apparel, the list goes on. The website will be overhauled as well.

Morrison estimates that the entire rebranding process will cost between $800,000 and $1 million, although KRH officials believe the price tag is minimal compared to the long-term benefits.

“We understand that this is a large undertaking, but we also believe that not changing our name will do us more financial harm in the long run,” hospital officials stated in a press kit in December. “Further, the cost to brand a system will provide value for years.”

“Our new brand is an investment in our future,” the officials continued, “setting us up to pursue more opportunities to grow our services, and allows us to care for a broader service area without the restrictive nature of having a named tied to one particular location.”

The new name was inspired by Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass, which Morrison calls “a bridge between the east and the west.” The hospital began the rebranding process in 2019 and was making headway when the pandemic hit. KRH ultimately finalized a product to show to staff in November.

Morrison said numerous factors were scrutinized when selecting the name and crafting the brand, as detailed in a lengthy PowerPoint presentation, including color, logo, typography, emotion, voice, relevance, simplicity, historical significance.

“A lot of people think branding just comes about,” Morrison, who has been heavily involved in branding through her career, said. “But it doesn’t just happen. It’s a science.”

A survey revealed that 50% of community members couldn’t name a provider or entity that is part of KRH, and a patient advisory council composed of community members “told us unanimously that our brand is confusing” and that a “new unified brand would be welcomed by the community,” Morrison said.

The name Logan was selected from an initial lineup of 30 options for a variety of reasons, including its regional significance and connection, as well as its story. Morrison also said the five-letter format resulted in a tidy design and symmetrical presentation.

Morrison said a federal whistleblower lawsuit filed by the former chief financial officer of KRH’s physician network and the resulting $24 million settlement had nothing to do with the decision to rebrand, nor did the widely publicized 2019 data breach that exposed patients’ information.

“This was part of the plan for so long,” Morrison said. “It was at least 16 years overdue.”

Clinics will be named under the Logan Health banner by the category of their specialties. For example, Sunny View Pediatrics will now be one of several Logan Health Pediatrics locations, and Pathways Treatment Center will fall under Logan Health Behavioral Health.

“The parent brand lifts everybody,” Morrison said.

North Valley Hospital has its own board and operational structure, giving it leeway in making such decisions, and the board is currently considering whether the hospital will become Logan Health Whitefish.

In a modern landscape of healthcare consolidation, similar rebrandings commonly occur across the country, from smaller regional systems to large national networks. Rapid City-based Regional Health transitioned to Monument Health last year, a nod to nearby Mount Rushmore.

As KRH broadens its footprint to communities outside of the immediate area, including Hi-Line communities such as Shelby, officials say a unified parent brand is increasingly important for a healthcare system that has more than 4,000 employees.

“Although we are separated by distance, the transformation will stimulate a renewed sense of connectivity and pride internally for our new organizational name,” KRH President and CEO Craig Lambrecht said.

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