Forum Health gets new name


ValleyCare Health System was announced Thursday as the new name of the former Forum Health hospital system. Here is a time line of the health system’s names over the years:

1883: Youngstown Hospital.

1929: Youngstown Hospital Association opened Northside Hospital.

1985: Western Reserve Health Care (Western Reserve Care System, which included Northside and Southside Medical Centers).

1997: Forum Health, when Northside and Tod Children’s Hospital merged with Trumbull Memorial Hospital.

March 24: ValleyCare Health System.

Sources: Forum Health and The Vindicator

By William K. Alcorn

alcorn@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The new name of the local health-care system is derived from the geographic area it serves, so most people won’t have trouble remembering it.

The familiar names of the hospitals remain the same, but the former Forum Health health-care system is now ValleyCare Health System.

The new moniker was unveiled in a ceremony Thursday to the applause of about 100 employees at Northside Medical Center’s Politis Auditorium.

Each hospital — Northside Medical Center in Youngstown, Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren and Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland — will continue to use its own name but also will call itself an affiliate of the ValleyCare Health System, said David Fikse, chief executive officer of Northside and ValleyCare.

The hospital names represent a positive, rich tradition in the community, he said.

Outpatient facilities, such as those in Austintown and Howland, and employed physician practices, also will be branded with the ValleyCare name, he said.

Fikse said a name change has been under consideration since Forum was purchased out of bankruptcy Oct. 1, 2010, by Community Health Systems for $120 million.

“We’ve taken time to look at this and believe the new name, adopted by the boards of trustees of the hospitals, sums up our purpose,” he said.

Valley represents the geographic ties to the Mahoning Valley region; and Care reflects the mission, Fikse said.

Fikse acknowledged that changes over the past six months since CHS purchased the health-care system have caused some stress among employees.

He said some changes have been internal and were probably unnoticed by patients. Others, such as improved appearance of the facilities and new equipment, are more public.

“We have brought on new physicians, and we have a medical-staff plan in place to meet the needs of the staff and the community,” he said.

There have been some layoffs since CHS took over, and Fikse did not promise there would not be more.

He said, however, that when someone leaves their position, the hospital will, whenever possible, look at ways of combining jobs.

But he said, “I am amazed every day by the dedication of our employees and willingness to change. It’s a journey, and I see a bright future.”

In the coming months, he said the boards of trustees will be establishing the core set of values for each of the hospitals and developing a new mission statement, he said.

Also, Fikse said ValleyCare is beginning an advertising campaign to get the public familiar with the new name and also has a new Internet site at valleycarehealth.net.

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