Catholic Health Partners, Ohio's largest health system, changing its name to Mercy Health

CINCINNATI - Catholic Health Partners, Ohio’s biggest health system and one of the largest in the U.S., is changing its name to Mercy Health.

The Walnut Hills-based system, which operates 23 hospitals across Ohio and Kentucky, made the name change official Thursday morning.

“Our new name is a symbol of the new way we are working together to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Michael D. Connelly, Mercy Health’s president and CEO.

For the health system, a ministry of the Roman Catholic Church, the name change marks the latest in a growing list of major moves that have included a hunt for a new headquarters, acquisitions, business sell-offs and restructuring in the past year.

Ohio’s fourth largest employer with more than 32,000 workers, the nonprofit company owns more than $6 billion in assets. Just last month, officials announced plans to build a new headquarters along the Norwood Lateral in Bond Hill – an investment of more than $77 million that will be made with the help more than $19 million in government incentives.

The new headquarters, expected to open by mid-2016, will bear the Mercy Health name and consolidate at least 1,000 employees from four sites across the region: Mercy Health regional headquarters in Blue Ash, the current corporate headquarters in Walnut Hills, Healthspan Solutions offices in Kenwood and HealthSpan Inc. offices in Fairfield.

Over the coming years, the Mercy Health name will be phased into all of the system’s 250 health care facilities and hospitals, officials said Thursday. The nonprofit’s website will also be changed to mercy.com

The system already operates hospitals and other facilities under the Mercy Health name here in Cincinnati and four other markets including Toledo, Lorain, Springfield and Paducah, Ky.

Having a common name across its locations will help simplify its evolving operating structure and “improves our ability to maximize our clinical quality and cost effectiveness,” said Kristen Hall Wevers, Mercy Health’s chief brand, marketing and communications officer.

Mercy Health’s roots date to the mid-19th century when nuns were tapped to serve poor and underserved communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Over time, the efforts evolved into collection of hospitals and health care facilities in Cincinnati that first incorporated in 1986 as Mercy Health Care System. The name was then changed to Catholic Healthcare Partners in 1997 to better reflect the religious communities that sponsored it, officials said.

“We are continuing the ministry started by our founders in the 1800s,” Connelly said. “We are changing to constantly improve our ministry so that Catholic health care remains a strong and vibrant choice for health care consumers.”

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