Montrose Memorial Hospital is no more — it is now Montrose Regional Health, a rebranding CEO Jeff Mengenhausen said better reflects its place and scope of service on the Western Slope.

“As our communities grow and our region grows and as our caregivers grow, we need to grow with it,” Mengenhausen told a crowd of caregivers and other hospital employees Friday, Oct. 22, as they clustered around the flagpole on the hospital’s lawn. The breeze did not cooperate enough to completely unfurl the new banner declaring “Montrose Regional Health,” but it elicited cheers and applause as Chief Marketing Officer Leann Tobin hoisted it skyward.

“We’re focused on Montrose, but we’re so much more than that,” Mengenhausen said. “We’ve got to stop saying the word ‘community’ and start saying the word ‘communities.’ We’re taking care of not just Montrose, but Ridgway, Ouray, Gunnison, Delta, Norwood, Telluride. And so the logo and the brand and our name is a way of telling our story. So we’ve got to tell the right story. As we grow and develop in our communities and serve our patients, that’s what we want.”

Gunnison and Delta each have their own hospitals; many of the other communities mentioned have clinics. All regional hospitals work together to ensure patients can be timely served and Montrose Regional Health is no exception.

The Montrose hospital rebrand also brings a new website and web address, montrosehealth.com. The old site actively redirects to the new one.

Through the years

Montrose County established what is now Montrose Regional Health in 1950.

Hospital trustees in 2010 voted to lease the facility to a not-for-profit corporation, Montrose Memorial Hospital Inc., sparking legal action that in the end upheld the trustees’ actions.

On the management company side, the Montrose Memorial Hospital Inc. board in 2020 voted to end its previous contract with Quorum Health and to enter a new one with Community Hospital Corp., based in Plano, Texas. This contract went into effect Jan. 1 and Mengenhausen said it remains in place.

The hospital’s footprint has changed many times over the years, with remodels and upgrades, the most recent of which was in 2005. Montrose Regional Health now has 75 beds, plus associated clinics and, a short distance away, the San Juan Cancer Center.

The hospital has also weathered financial storms, among them, the ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which last year temporarily halted elective surgeries and the associated income.

Currently, bed space is at a premium at Montrose Regional Health because of rising COVID cases. Earlier this week, the hospital announced seven of its eight ICU beds were full and that it had reached a record volume of patients. That situation reflects a hard reality statewide, where 92% of ICU beds were in use as of Oct. 20. (See the Oct. 21 Montrose Daily Press.)

With the name change, Montrose Regional Health is taking steps similar to those of the former Delta County Memorial Hospital, which in March rebranded as Delta Health.

Montrose Regional Health is not merging with any other hospital, however — and the name-change has been a long time in the making.

A rebranding committee formed in 2016, Marketing Director Brad Wiersma said Friday.

“From there, it’s really been a matter of waiting for the right moment and we (saw) all this growth we have in the future for us and said, ‘You know what, let’s do it,’” Weirsma said.

He and Mengenhausen ball-parked rebranding expenses at abut $75,000. Weirsma said it has been budgeted for year after year. “We’ve had that savings there,” he said.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Mengenhausen said. “ … We’ve got a big, exciting future and lots of plans. This might as well be the launching point.”

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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