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West Penn-owned hospitals to revert to prior names

Luis Fábregas
| Friday, April 22, 2011

Two hospitals within the financially strapped West Penn Allegheny Health System have gone back to their original names, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Alle-Kiski Medical Center in Natrona Heights, which received that name in 2000, is now again known as Allegheny Valley Hospital, spokeswoman Kelly Sorice said.

West Penn Hospital-Forbes Regional campus in Monroeville, which has been called that since 2005, is once again Forbes Regional Hospital, she said.

West Penn Allegheny is restoring the original names, she said, because patients and residents in those markets are more familiar with the old names and respect them more.

"In terms of naming, we found that simpler really is better," Sorice said.

Paige Beal, assistant professor at Point Park University's School of Business, said it is unusual for organizations to revert to an old name, unless they are having a problem with the current name.

"It's not that common to have them reverse a decision that required in all likelihood considerable outlay of money to make happen in the first place," Beal said.

Name changes typically require substantial expenses related to signage, letterhead and business cards, she said. At Allegheny Valley Hospital, which last year completed an $11 million renovation of its emergency department and main entrance, workers installed a large sign that reads Alle-Kiski Medical Center.

"It makes sense to retain a name these days unless there's some sort of baggage that people are trying to shake off," Beal said.

Sorice said the removal of West Penn from the Forbes facility's name isn't related to the health system's financial problems or restructuring at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield.

Officials at West Penn Allegheny, the region's second largest hospital network, last year said they were considering a name change for the entire system. No decisions have been made about that, Sorice said.

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