By JOHN HOWELL There may be changes to the Kent Hospital logo, but the hospital won't be getting a new name. On Monday, as the Narragansett Council of the Boys Scouts of America conducted a parade of appreciation to hospital employees, dropping off 300
There may be changes to the Kent Hospital logo, but the hospital won’t be getting a new name.
On Monday, as the Narragansett Council of the Boys Scouts of America conducted a parade of appreciation to hospital employees, dropping off 300 bags of s’mores, hospital President and CEO Robert Haffey said the coronavirus changed thinking that a new name is needed.
He said events like that staged by the Scouts and countless others where nonprofits, companies, organizations and individuals have gone out of their way to thank the hospital and its employees are a demonstration of community awareness of what Kent does and means to the community.
In early March, before the treat of the coronavirus brought a stay-at-home order from Gov. Raimondo, Haffey – speaking at a luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Warwick – said a name change would be part of a re-branding of the hospital. At the time, Haffey said scores of possible names had been suggested, narrowing the possibilities down to a handful. He expected he would make the final selection.
Then came the coronavirus, and attention focused on how best to stem the virus and measures on how to prepare for a projected surge in cases and the jobs being done by health care workers. Community support of the hospital was reflected in nearly a dozen drive-by parades, including what was surely one of the biggest when more than 100 fire and police vehicles from area departments looped around the building, sirens wailing and horns beeping to thank health care workers and boost the spirits of patients. There have been numerous acts of appreciation from the posting of Post-It notes on the parked cars of hospital employees to the gift of pizzas by elected officials, cookies from the Girl Scouts to dinners from area restaurants and companies.
The outpouring has been a convincing display of community attachment and awareness of the role Kent Hospital plays.
Speaking before the Rotary Club in early March, Haffey said a name change was part of a $2 million program including the reconstruction of the hospital entry, redesign of the lobby and the addition of an in-hospital pharmacy. He said the re-branding was focused on the quality of care and services provided by the hospital with its easy access and central location in the state.
The thought of renaming the hospital, which opened as Kent County Memorial Hospital in 1951, emerged from focus groups where people, not knowing from the outset that the survey was about Kent, were asked about medical services and their choice of hospitals.
Construction at the new Kent entry is nearly complete and the in-hospital pharmacy is operational.
As far as the name is concerned, Haffey said the only possible change could be the logo, but it’s Kent Hospital. The hospital name was shortened from Kent County Memorial in recent years without fanfare.