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CEO of Heritage Health responds

Avatar Mike Baker posted this on the Dirne changes name— again thread. I appreciate the time and thoughtfulness of his reply and I hope you do, too. Cindy

Hi folks- It is always a gamble jumping into these
conversations. Please be gentle.

My name is Mike Baker, I am the CEO ofHeritage Health (formerly Dirne CHC). I appreciate all of your comments about the current issue around our rebranding. I wish that they were a little more understanding and compassionate, but I understand that we let you down.

I take full responsibility for the name change. Please direct your negative comments my way. I’d be happy to speak with you directly and answer your questions. There is always more to the story.

We are sitting at a crossroads in healthcare today. We all
know that the current healthcare system is not working. We have thousands of families in our region that have lost jobs and do not have the income necessary to even access the most basic care. Families are choosing between food and medications. We see this tragic case played out every day.

Full post below. Thoughts?


We have served our community for nearly 30 years. Our name was originally Lake City Health and then was hanged to honor our founder and carried her name. Ms. Dirne has been an inspiration for thousands of people.Her compassion created something amazing. For her, it was never about personal glory, it has always been about loving her neighbors.

When the economy hit the bottom a few years ago, we observed something very troublesome. Many families lost their primary incomes along with their insurance benefits. For the first time, many of these families found themselves without the resources the needed to pay for their care.

This group had never been “poor” or “uninsured” before. When asked about the services at Dirne CHC, most families commented that they thought that they “could not” use the services. For them, our services were for the “poor” and the “homeless”.

This perception kept them from coming and benefitting from our services. This new population needed something different and we had to tell our story to them.

A name change was a critical step for us to have a blank
slate and a new opportunity to tell our story. Our services are for everyone, in fact, the more people that come here with insurance, the more uninsured people we can serve.

We have some of the most amazing healthcare providers in the world. Our teams care more about you than the type of insurance that you have.

If you have insurance, please join us, we need your help to care for your neighbor living without insurance.

The mistake with the name change was an unfortunate one and I wish that we had done a better job. Be assured that it won’t happen again.

We have done the proper search for the new name and are confident that we will not run into the same problem again. Just like Legacy, there are other businesses in operation utilizing Heritage. However, there are not any registered federal trademarks reserving the use of the name for healthcare.

Many of you have expressed concern about the cost associated with this mistake. Please know that our expenses to date have been very minimal. Making the switch to the new name will not have a significant impact.
We have a very small marketing budget and have not incurred significant expenses to date.

It is tough when you make a bold move and try to do things
differently. We will change the face of healthcare in our community for the better. We have been doing it quietly for nearly 30 years. We have the energy, time and talent to focus on the things that matter. Our patients will always
come first.

There will always be people that kick you when you are down, but fortunately, there are more people in our community that are willing to overlook a mistake and help lift us back up. I hope that we have not lost your support. While our name has changed, our mission remains the same.

We are here to care for everyone in our community. Please join us and help us care for our most vulnerable populations. Together, we can do some amazing things, regardless of the name that is on the door.


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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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