Skaggs Regional Medical Center announced Thursday it will change its name to Cox Medical Center Branson.
The change is set to take place Jan. 1, 2013, after a partnership with Springfield-based CoxHealth is finalized.
“The decision was not approached lightly,” said William Mahoney, president and CEO of Skaggs. “Initially during the partner search, Skaggs Regional Medical Center Board of Directors indicated that no name change would be pursued. During due diligence, a letter drafted in the early 1960s to the hospital’s board of directors by Marion B. Skaggs was discovered, indicating he wished to downplay the name Skaggs in connection with the hospital.”
He said various “internal stakeholders” approached the administration following the announcement of the partnership and felt it was time to change the name.
The hospital then had a marketing research firm conduct a study.
“It was clear by many of the comments made by community members in Taney and Stone counties that a name change would reflect our broader delivery of health care initiatives,” Mahoney said.
“The name Cox Medical Center Branson adds strength to an already dedicated medical facility that will secure health care for years to come.”
Michelle Leroux, spokesperson for the hospital, said they will continue to discuss ways the name Skaggs can be integrated into the medical center.
“The biggest concern was the Skaggs name continuing to be a memorial,” she said.
Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth, said the decision was up to Skaggs.
“Skaggs and CoxHealth have a long history of shared values and beliefs,” he said. “We have great respect for the leadership of Skaggs and have deferred to the Skaggs board to make this naming decision.”
However, he said it’s fitting the two will share a name as they work together in the future.
“The significance of the Skaggs name and the legacy of the man who spearheaded the development of this hospital will not be forgotten,” he said. “We are enthusiastic and optimistic about coming together to better serve our communities, and recognize this would not have been possible without the work of great men such as Lester E. Cox and M.B. Skaggs.”
Mahoney announced in October that CoxHealth was planning to invest about $100 million into medical facilities in Branson, with a first investment of $25 million to be made to the Skaggs Foundation Jan. 1, 2013.
Leroux said the future name of the foundation has not yet been determined.
Mahoney said CoxHealth will also absorb all liabilities on Skaggs’ books, as well as expand facilities and buy new equipment.
Leroux said residents will likely see banners with the name Cox Medical Center Branson placed over existing Skaggs signs in the early stages of the name change.