As Southwest Florida’s primary healthcare provider, Lee Memorial Health System (LMHS) celebrated its centennial anniversary on October 3. To commemorate this monumental achievement, as well as to recognize its increasing emphasis on preventative measures and programs, it inaugurated its second century with a new moniker that more accurately emphasizes this mission – it transitioned to Lee Health on October 5!
“The 100th Anniversary is the ideal time to rebrand the system,” says Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Newingham. “Our mission is to promote health and wellness throughout our entire community, as opposed to being the primary ‘Repair Center.’ We are on the cutting edge of transforming healthcare, which is moving away from focusing just on making you well once you are sick, to managing the health of our population. Today, more attention is taken to prevent you from becoming ill; from not just taking care of you when you are under the weather, but to keeping you healthy while you feel well.”
Kevin describes much of this philosophy as simple economics. “It is far less expensive for people to maintain health as opposed to seeking treatment once they are ill. As professionals, we need to work just as hard to keep people out of the hospital as we do get them well once they are in. With an aging population, the answer is not always adding more hospital beds; it also needs to include finding an intelligent way to manage this growth. Our new brand is a signal to the community that we are not just a ‘repair center’ but a place to turn for health & wellness.”
Right Place, Time, & Price
The genesis of this is to move healthcare forward, “to provide it at the right place at the right time at the right price,” emphasizes Kevin. “The less time spent in the hospital the better, as people would rather recuperate in their own place, surrounded by their family and things they love. The longer you remain at home, the better it is for you and us, because patients improve quicker in their own environment while saving the huge capital investment necessary for new hospitals and related facilities.”
He describes the future as nearly now with Lee Health at Coconut Point, getting ready to soon break ground, and with its Healthy Life Center connecting to the community through education, outreach, intervention, wellness and prevention. “We already enjoy great success with our temporary facility at Coconut Point Mall, as our neighbors embrace the classes and medical programs at that location. Perhaps most important, if you are sick and need assistance, you do not need to navigate the system alone; go there and we will help you.”
This is crucial if a patient, especially an older one, is managing multiple chronic conditions. “The typical senior has several doctors, as well as numerous prescriptions they often fill at various pharmacies,” Kevin relates. “The staff at the Healthy Life Center is your navigator. We chronicle treatments and promote better management of conditions, and can connect you to the appropriate medical provider rather than you blindly trying to find the correct connection.”
Once Lee Health at Coconut Point opens, it will offer superior learning opportunities to help you stay well, and education for chronic disease management to avoid hospitalization. It will have a fully-functional demonstration kitchen to show visitors how to prepare delicious healthy meals, will contain a Genius Bar of fitness technology, and outdoor space for rehabilitation.
One emphasis for the new Lee Health is “integrating food as medicine, a way to help you stay healthy and prevent some illnesses,” according to Kevin. “Much of this is already in place. Currently 75 to 100 physicians meet quarterly in education classes to learn more about promoting food as one step in keeping our community healthy.”
Prevention is the key, Kevin says. “If we catch an illness or disease in the earliest stages, we can often halt the worst possible outcome. For example, the Healthy Life Center held a heart screening and discovered a patient who otherwise felt well, but was walking around with an artery with 95% blockage. We immediately got him to the hospital for a catheterization. We absolutely saved his life that day, and that is just one person, just one instance.
The Mindset of Healthcare
“Lee Health is changing the mindset of healthcare,” explains Kevin. “We take many types of medical screenings to the general public, and go on-site to employer locations and neighborhood centers outside the walls of the hospital or doctor’s office. Then we assist you to navigate the system to identify the proper caregiver and provider. Getting you to the correct physician is critical because patients may feel overwhelmed when confronted with a new medical condition, so we help steer them in the right direction.”
Along with the name change, Lee Health incorporates a new logo to provide a common image. “Developing an integrated message is an important step in our rebranding,” Kevin offers. “As the health system grew and new facilities were added and purchased, it created some confusion. Lee Memorial Health System had great name recognition, but people often did not associate many of our facilities as a part of the system. Cape Coral Hospital is an excellent example: even though it has been a part of the old LMHS since 1996, some people did not think of it as such. With a new logo connecting all of our services and facilities, it brings better clarity.”
Another challenge had been the confusion of Lee Memorial Hospital versus Lee Memorial Health System; many people thought of these two as one, but the healthcare system is much broader than just that one campus. Clearing up this confusion is a major driver for the name change. “It ties everything together,” summarizes Kevin, “and through this rebranding we will be better able to communicate our mission.”
The new logo has a genuine Southwest Florida look and feel, with the color and design intentionally showcasing elements that best represent our region, yet are unique nationally. Kevin says that “we have roughly 85 facilities and the new logo will tie acute care, ambulatory, physician’s offices all around Lee County and even a few in Collier, and everything else all-in-one.” He states, however, that the change to Lee Health occurs only at the system level, as each individual hospital will retain its historic name.
Kevin concludes “Lee Health’s mission for the next 100 years is to be your partner in keeping you healthier throughout your overall life journey. For the past century, we take great satisfaction in being the primary care provider for Southwest Floridians, but our 100th anniversary is the ideal time to make health and wellness just as important, and that is why we are proud to be Lee Health. This is where your health begins!”