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Luminis Health CEO: Rebranding of merged hospitals honors legacies, looks toward future

Last month, Anne Arundel Medical Center and Doctors Community Health System revealed they have merged under the name Luminis Health. 

AAMC is a regional system with a nonprofit hospital in Annapolis, Md., as well as various care centers, and Doctors Community Health System is a single-hospital system in Lanham, Md.

The two entities, which together employ 6,400 staff and operate 635 licensed beds, announced their merger plans in May and closed the deal July 1. Victoria (Tori) Bayless, president of AAMC and CEO of Luminis Health, said full integration of the hospitals is ongoing, and more details about the Luminis brand and logo will be disclosed in the spring.

Here, Ms. Bayless discusses the reasoning behind the merger, integration plans and rebranding efforts.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Question: What prompted the hospitals to consider a merger?

Tori Bayless: On a national scale, we've seen a number of mergers, acquisitions, and system consolidation. Systems do that for a variety of reasons. But here in this market, Doctors Community Hospital conducted a process about a year and a half ago seeking a partner, understanding that they wanted to get a size and scale to ensure their continued relevance in the market and meet community need. They wanted to improve care and access and keep care close to home. And that lined up with Anne Arundel Medical Center and what our experience has been. Our service areas are [also] immediately overlapping, so it forms the broader, contiguous market in terms of the people we're serving. We will be focused on taking the best of both organizations to create what is Luminis Health and focusing on quality service and improving access close to home.

Q: What will this integration look like?

TB: We formed 14 integration teams to start thinking about how clinical, support service and corporate functions can work together and become one system. We're working on deploying the Epic [EHR system] across the entire organization. We're looking to have a single supply chain as well as accounting and finance system. We’re looking to have a single human resources system and function. So when you think about what I would call the corporate service functions of finance, IT, HR, supply chain, PR, marketing and communications, all of these areas need to function for the benefit of the entire system, rather than discretely in what were the prior separate organizations.

We also have clinical teams that are working [on] integration in acute care medicine services, acute care surgery services and obstetrics. We are focused on growth and expansion. While we may be able to achieve certain economies of scale in corporate service functions, we also are going to be able to add additional clinical programs and services. As we do the integration planning, we are going to be hosting several town hall meetings across the region with the community as well as with our own staff, volunteers, employees and medical staffs to get their input.

Q: Luminis Health will also launch its new brand and logo in the spring. What will these rebranding efforts look like?

TB: What we announced in mid-September is the name of the new system — Luminis Health. That [name] is about light and energy and igniting new possibilities, lighting a way to better health in our communities. But the full brand launch with the [brand] architecture, logo, colors and the entire story behind it will be revealed in the springtime. We started with the name, and we're doing a lot of work over these several months thinking about our culture, what is our brand promise, and how can we deliver on that promise. We haven't completed all the brand architecture yet, it's underway. The brand and the name are based on research done in the marketplace, not only with the community but also with employees, medical staff, volunteers who are internal to the organization. The research is helping to inform the name and the branding process. We want to honor the past and the legacies of the organizations, but also be aspirational about the future and make sure we can deliver on our brand promise.

Q: What factored into the hospitals' decision to rebrand and what should other hospitals consider before doing so? 

TB: It's a creation of a master brand to tie our clinical service lines and multiple sites of service together. We do expect that the hospitals within the system will retain their local names because they're known and certainly respected and well-regarded. We're not eliminating the legacy names, rather, we are creating a master brand that will tie the whole system together. We have a strong history. AAMC has been in operations for 117 years, and Doctors Community Hospital has been operating since 1975. Collectively, there's a lot of history across the market. So, we want to honor that and be respectful of our legacies, and also be aspirational about what we can create together for the future.

I think organizations rebrand for different reasons, but clearly with us coming together to form a new system in Maryland, it didn't make sense to overlay one of the entity's name on the other. Luminis Health will serve as a master brand that can continue to grow with us into the future.

 

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