Why do so many have so much trouble with the name of our System? What is so hard about Western Maryland Health System? It's not Western Maryland Health Systems, there is only one WMHS. It's not the Western Maryland Hospital Center, that is located in Hagerstown, Maryland. It's not Western Maryland Health Center as we were called in a recent article in a Cecil County newspaper. It shouldn't be that hard.
When it was announced recently that Meritus in Hagerstown was assuming operating control and interim responsibility of the Western Maryland Hospital Center, I started getting emails and calls as to why was I, along with my leadership team, fired based on poor performance? In fact, another Maryland CEO saw me at a meeting shortly after the announcement, gave me a hug and asked what happened? Last he had heard was that there were many successes that WMHS was experiencing through value-based care delivery and then he is reading that I was fired. I laughed and let him know that apparently, the leadership team at Western Maryland Hospital Center was terminated by the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene after a state survey. The CEO at Meritus was then asked to assume control for an interim period which they did. The names are similar, but not the same.
One reason why folks may have jumped to the conclusion that it was WMHS may have been because of our Alliance relationship with Meritus through Trivergent. Quite frankly, many people didn't even know that the Western Maryland Hospital Center existed. It is a state specialty hospital serving the brain injured or those requiring Dialysis, long term and skilled nursing care.
I guess many of us have to deal with the name issue. A few years ago, Allegany College of Maryland changed its name from Allegany Community College. The College then started getting threatening letters from the leadership at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and their attorneys. They said that it was too confusing for perspective students when they searched for Allegheny College on the Internet. Really? I thought that Allegheny College recruited the best and the brightest (which they really do) and they don't know the difference between Maryland and Pennslyvania? Anyway, that situation finally was resolved when ACM said that they would always emphasize "Maryland" in the name of the College.
Sooner or later, folks will get it right; after all, Western Maryland Health System has only been around for 18 years or so.