After 42 years, the name of downtown Minneapolis’ major hospital is about to change.

Hennepin County Medical Center, known for short as HCMC, wants to change its name to Hennepin Healthcare Medical Center to better brand the large public hospital and its expanding health care system.

“We are really seeking to describe our system better,” Tom Hayes, vice president of public relations and marketing at HCMC, told county commissioners at a committee meeting Tuesday. “Hennepin County Medical Center has really changed since 1974-75.”

The County Board’s health and human services committee approved the name change on a 5 to 2 vote, and the board is slated to give final approval on Nov. 15. The name change would take effect in 2018.

But Commissioners Peter McLaughlin and Mike Opat aren’t happy that the word “county” is being stripped out of the hospital’s long-standing name.

“It ought to be identified as a county enterprise, which it is,” McLaughlin said at the meeting. “Government will not be as fully credited.”

“I don’t think the name is all that elegant and [the name change is] certainly not something that’s urgent,” Opat said.

HCMC, which started out as Minneapolis City Hospital in 1887, was taken over by Hennepin County in 1964 and renamed Hennepin County Medical Center in 1974.

Since then, the county-subsidized hospital has expanded into a health care system with more than 40 clinics, hospice care and home nursing care.

Hayes told the County Board that HCMC surveyed 500 people in Minneapolis last spring and that the Hennepin Heathcare name played well among those surveyed. While HCMC describes a place, the name change nods to the entire medical system and links the clinics with the main facility, he said.

“I think a lot of us have a lot of pride in HCMC and it’s known in the community ... so I think it’s difficult to give up that name,” Commissioner Jan Callison said Tuesday. “ ... But I think [the new name] does reflect the growth and evolution of the hospital.”


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