Howard County General Hospital has changed its name to Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center, the Columbia-based medical facility announced Tuesday afternoon.
The hospital, which turned 50 years old in 2023, has been a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine for the last 25 years.
The move comes after a year-long process of analyzing survey results from more than 600 people, according to Dr. Shafeeq Ahmed, president of Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center. Community members and Johns Hopkins employees were surveyed to see what a name change would do for the hospital.
“I think they associate the name Johns Hopkins with higher quality,” Ahmed said. “The name was in the title; it was just at the very end of the title…. It seemed optional, like a membership — not ‘We are a fully-owned asset of Johns Hopkins Medicine.’”
Ahmed said the decision to change the name goes beyond the hospital’s branding; it also includes services that the hospital provides.
“More than just the name, to be frank, it’s the level of services that we’re providing,” Ahmed said. “And in the past few years, and in the upcoming years, we’re adding Johns Hopkins-level specialties to this campus. As we do that, people are coming for those things, and then associating it with the hospital. It’s not just an ‘in name only’ change.”
Part of the new services being provided at the hospital include plans for a new behavioral health unit that will help address the local and national mental health crisis. Ahmed said he hopes the name change will help people in Howard County realize that they don’t have to travel far to receive Johns Hopkins services.
“People should know that the brand of Johns Hopkins Medicine is here if they didn’t know that already,” Ahmed said. “If they felt that they had to go to Baltimore to receive that level of high-quality care, [they should know] that they don’t necessarily have to do that because we actually are here. And we’re in Howard County serving our community. I think that the name helps people put that together.”
The name change is also part of a clinical growth plan for the medical center.
“The new name also reflects the hospital’s five-year clinical growth strategy, which has been bringing Johns Hopkins credentialed specialized physicians to our campus, allowing Howard County residents to access those specialty services closer to home,” said Kathleen White, chair of Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center’s board of trustees, in a press release.
Ahmed acknowledged that it might take some time for people to catch onto the new name, but within a year or so, the hospital’s assets will reflect it.
“With anything, these things take time, to change all the hard assets that we have that have naming in them, and so that will happen over the course of a year or so where we change the big signage, the little signage, the things on people’s uniforms,” he said.