Via Christi to put 'hospital' back in its name

WICHITA -- When Via Christi Health announced its new name and logo Oct. 1, it embarked on a rebranding effort that will change the names of some facilities and operations over the next three years.

The rebranding gives a name to Via Christi's new hospital, under construction near 21st Street and 151st Street West. It will be Via Christi Hospital at 14800 St. Teresa.

Other hospitals will be similarly named for their locations: What had been Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis Campus will become Via Christi Hospital at 929 N. St. Francis, and its St. Joseph Campus will become Via Christi Hospital at 3600 E. Harry.

Via Christi Health System became Via Christi Health on Oct. 1.

Peg Tichacek, vice president for planning, said research showed people relate to the word "hospital," and using street names helps with "the way-finding and the identity," especially in a GPS world.

The rebranding is the first since 1995, when Via Christi was formed with the merger of the parent companies of the St. Francis and St. Joseph hospitals.

Many businesses rebrand every 10 to 12 years, Tichacek said. This effort has been in the works for two years and includes refining Via Christi's mission and vision statements and core values.

New signage on facilities will be rolled out early next year — the goal is by the end of March.

At that point, Via Christi's Our Lady of Lourdes Campus will become Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, and the Good Shepherd Campus will be Via Christi Behavioral Health Hospital.

Senior communities, such as Georgetown Village and Cornerstone Broadmoor, will become Via Christi Village, followed by the street address.

Preferred Medical Associates locations will be Via Christi Medical Associates locations.

Properties not wholly owned by Via Christi, such as Kansas Surgery and Recovery Center and the Catholic Care Center, will not be renamed.

The Via Christi system, which reaches throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma, has about 90 points of entry, Tichacek said. That's why the rebranding will take three years.

Existing materials bearing existing names will be used up, she said. "We want to be good stewards," which is one of Via Christi's core values.

With old and new names in some places, "It's going to be a little awkward for a while," she said, just as it was when Delta and Northwest merged in 2008.

Names within facilities also will be standardized across the system, she said, so that "cardiac care" one place isn't "heart services" at another. The names will reflect "what you need as a customer," she said, much as stores label departments.

She did not want to put a price tag on the rebranding effort.

The facility name changes will mean the end of a St. Joseph medical presence in Wichita. The Sisters of St. Joseph established their Wichita mission in 1925.

Tichacek said consideration was given to renaming a street St. Joseph Drive but the purpose is to make it easier for customers to find facilities, and Harry is a well-known street.

"In any change, there's loss," she said. "We recognize that, and we're trying to work through that."