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Pensacola’s Sacred Heart Health System will change its name to Ascension Sacred Heart, officials announced Tuesday, part of a nationwide push for recognition and influence by the hospital’s corporate parent.

Ascension Health is the nation’s largest non-profit health system and the largest Catholic health system in the world, formed in 1999 by the merger of the Daughters of Charity National Health System and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System. The Daughters of Charity established Pensacola Hospital, the city’s first modern hospital and the forerunner of Sacred Heart, in 1915. Ascension now operates 141 hospitals and 2,500 sites of care in 22 states and Washington, D.C.

In addition to the name change, Sacred Heart will shed its current cross logo in favor of the Ascension logo.

The company-wide branding effort was announced by Ascension CEO Tony Tersigni last September.

“As we focus on being a vibrant Catholic health ministry and delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable, it is important that we accelerate the transformation of our organization into a connected community of healing across the country,” Tersigni said at the time. “We have an obligation to provide high-quality, affordable care, and quality outcomes, with an enhanced experience for our patients and our providers. Adopting a unified Mission statement and creating a clear and consistent identity reflect our collaborative national system and move us in this direction.”

Officials said the new name would make it clearer and easier for patients to access the care they need and to navigate their health.

“Working together as part of Ascension has enabled Sacred Heart to improve the care we provide by bringing the knowledge and resources of thousands of medical professionals across the country to our own physicians and caregivers,” said Susan Davis, president and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System. “Adding the Ascension name to our own reflects the strength of being part of this national network.”

Sacred Heart Hospital was first established in 1915 as Pensacola Hospital by the Daughters of Charity. (Special to The Pulse)

Sacred Heart joins Ascension systems in six other states as part of the second phase of the rebranding effort, which began last year with Ascension systems in Michigan and Wisconsin.

“But some important things will not change,” Davis said. “We will continue to draw from the heritage and the mission that were established more than 100 years ago when the Daughters of Charity came to Pensacola to build a hospital.”

Sacred Heart Health System serves the Gulf Coast between Gulf Shores, Ala. and Apalachicola, Fla, with the 566-bed Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola serving as the hub of the system. Facilities in Pensacola include The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, a level II trauma center, a cancer center affiliated with MD Anderson Cancer Network, and a maternity center.

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